The Challenge of a Good Work Life Balance - The Efficient Dad

The Challenge of a Good Work-Life Balance

Let me start off by saying that I might not have always been the best person to write about work-life balance. Earlier in my career, I felt that it was a badge of honor to put in extra hours. Maybe someone would notice. Maybe it would get me a few extra bucks during the next bonus round. Really, the only thing it contributed to is burnout.

Luckily for me, something came along and saved me from the routine I was in: my kids! Whenever my wife would text me a video of one of the kids doing something for the first time, it would just crush me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved to see it, but what I really wanted to do is experience it in person. As you all know, time flies by, and I didn’t want to miss a single moment of their lives unless it was absolutely necessary.

Professional Time Management

I started by adjusting my work expectations. For projects that I thought I could maybe finish in three weeks, I’d try to allow four. I learned to prepare far in advance for things I knew were coming. No need to put in extra hours right before a deadline when things could be done weeks prior. Some of you reading this might be thinking that I was just a procrastinator, but that isn’t the whole truth. I wasn’t an expert at managing my time. I’ve better learned to shuffle small tasks to the front of the line when I have small chunks of time just to cross them off of the to-do list. Prioritizing and optimizing workflows can lead to lower stress levels, which in turn increases the quality of time you have with your family.

Just as important as working hard is knowing when to take a break. Many swear by the Pomodoro Technique, which, at its simplest, means that you’d work hard and uninterrupted for 25 minutes, then take a five minute break. Every four intervals, take a longer 20+ minute break. That tends to be too rigid for me, and I just make sure to take a true break every hour or so, even if it is short. It clears your mind and allows you to work more efficiently the rest of the time.

Home Life

I talked about professional time management because I’m a firm believer that stress from work pours over into your personal life. My wife sometimes will ask me if things are busy or tough at work because she notices a distinct change in my behavior when I’m at home. My goal is to never be asked that question again because when I’m home I want to focus 100% of my time and attention on my family. I’ve found that by managing my work life, my quality of time at home has increased dramatically.  It is all about striking a balance.

Time is a resource we can never recover so I will do my best to spend it efficiently and hope you can do the same! Have a great day.

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