I have a 7 month old daughter and see her for 30 mins in the morning and at weekends. I am employed full time but am also trying to start a business to provide for my family.
I find this makes me constantly tired at home and lathargic and sometimes unwilling to help even if that means feeding my daughter which is actually a pleasure, this also makes me a tad short and snappy with the wife. this is also made worse by my feeling that my family are to blame that i don't do my hobbies any more which happen to be sport and by not doing them i have put on weight and am constantly worried about my blood pressure (a hereditary thing).
I end up working leaving the house at 8am and returning at anything up to 10:30pm.
Wow, I have always found the work/life balance thing Soooooooooo difficult to take hold of. Every few months I lost track of the hours I was working and had to mentally put things into my diary to get me to leave early/on time.
The most helpful piece of advice I ever received was the idea of your child being one of the Directors of your company.
It helped me to leave at 4:40 pm sometimes for a board meeting regarding the following topics:
smiling and vomiting proposal
business process engineering - mixed feeding and who holds the spoon
team building - including bedtime story.
Director's party in their bedroom tonight. Bring a bottle [warm] (Arrive at office late tomorrow am)
Now as a SAHD I find my problems with balance are more on the level of being so engrossed in one thing when 'little one' is playing and I just want to finish this one tiny thing - the result 45 minutes later is him blatently climbing the walls for my attention and me getting wound up because of the interruption.
About every 3 months I think about my Time Management problems and then pick a simple useful tool from the list below.
I waste time with procrastinating and not doing work/tasks, also being a perfectionist.
Over some 20 odd years I have come across these:
Managers could be advised to plan 80% of each and every day (eg 1 hour write report, 15 min phone conference, meeting 40 mins, 30mins emails at end of day, etc).
Ivy Lee: Plan 10 mins at the end of each day to plan your work in your diary for the next day. Start with the biggest/ orquard/ least attractive piece of work. When that one is done move onto the next largest/unpleasant. After a week or two the sense of procrastination/dogs at your heals will begin to ease.
Protect the time you book in your diary. Do not allow it to be interrupted. Have a way so others know not to interrupt you (close door, put up postit sign). Make it clear when you can be interrupted, and give that interruption 100% of your attention.
80/20. Do a job to 80% of perfection. Good enough is often sufficient. Feedback from others will indicate whether your delivered services/outreach/correspondence/plans are sufficient for them. I like this one the most. I used to joke to my mate that I need to plan today's 20% or human mistakes.
Prioritise: Absolutely do the task; Better do the task; Could do the task; Delegate it; Eliminate it (to the soak pile).
Soak pile: have a pile of papers/tasks/letters/etc that arrive at your desk and you think it will not benefit the customer if you did it. Add things you simply eliminate without action. That way if you realise you do need to take action - it will be easy to find. Purge the pile every few months so it is only 3 months deep.
Spots. If you think you keep pushing a few bits of paper around without actually doing/completing the task - have a week of putting a pen mark on eg the top right corner. If you start finding pieces of paper getting chicken pox then perhaps it is time to action something the first time you pick it up!
plan 30 minutes in the middle of the day to just do the odds and ends that have to be done and are small enough to be quickly actioned.
Plan into your diary the Important things which are not urgent (eg training, exercise, health and safety, planning, long term improvement plans). Otherwise the daily firefighting of Urgent things will mean you never make time for those important things. Also, identify and eliminate the things that are Not Urgent and Not Important.
Objectives/Delegating/Receiving a task: POSEE - make it: Positively worded; Only do what your Own part is; be Specific about what the output/deliverable is; what Evidence will you end up with when done; Ecology, ie. does it fit with your values/life mission/are you being true to yourself.
The critical thing is to only use one or two of the above tools at any time. That way you can find enough energy in yourself to keep on making the difference which helps you and your family.
Thank you - I realise I need to do something to ease my procrastination which I have been suffering from for a couple of months.
I have only sketched the ideas - so do ask if you want more detail and I will see whether I can clarify things.
I am sure others on Dadstalk have other advice around life/work balance...
Your description of your working week is not uncommon and you shouldnt beat yourself up over it, I was fairly well organized until my twins came along and like you ive worried that im not keeping on top of things. when they were first born I was only seing them in the morning and at weekends but now ive made more time for them. i know my work has suffered but now i dont worry so much. I think its more important that when you spend time with your child your'e in a good mood and the long hours that you work cant be helping. A child takes up a lot of time and energy and its impossible to keep up all the activities you were previosly participating in, something has to give and the more you worry about what you've not done the more pressure you'll put on yourself. You have to accept there are just not enough hours in the day, im not saying give up on your goals, just realialize it will take you longer to achieve them and there's no shame in that. A very basic loose plan helped for me eg some time on Sundays - 2 hour bike ride, Tuesdays - leave work on time, Friday evening - house work, Saturday morning - paper work. You can then build on that.
thanks for that, all of that really helps, I am going to get my head sorted and am already going to work a little bit later (still on time just not early) that gives me 15 mins in the morning which really helps.
Mr Orange, I have already started using two of the tools, the main one is giving myself 10 mins at the end of each day to document what's in my head. An then giving 80% to jobs which people have noticed an improvement as giving 100% and stressing g when it doesn't go right is counter productive.
Thanks again and I will try and post any improvements
Cool tips - I am awful at getting around to the important non urgents.... ESP when they are bug tasks... When I'm
managing my time well I book time in my diary to do these things.... When I'm not - well I just don't get around to them for days
my biggest problem is under estimating how long things will take and so over promise what I can achieve...
You might win a match, but you can't match our wins!
Re: How to get a work life balance?
10 years 11 months ago #2086
Always a tricky one. Do you really need to start your own business? Unless you're very disciplined it will take over your life. My Dad ran his own business. There were plenty of days when he worked from when he got up to when he went to bed. Weekends didn't really exist for him. He rarely played with us. I'm not having a go at him: he found himself out of work when we were very young and had little choice. But it sounds like you do.
Do you need the extra money? Your kids may have more PS3 games but they'll see less of you. When they're 16/18/? and about to leave home, what will they look back and wish was different?
Very good tips, have just copied and pasted to my desktop
Although it will not work for everyone, I do not do many (if any) of the hobbies I used to since the my boy was born. He is now 5.5 my daughter is 2.5. Decided that we would give as much attention to them as we could and build back in our time as we went along.
That is not to say that we do not have any me time. It is just that it is mainly now at home and usually when they are asleep, like now.
What I have now found though is my hobbies are starting to come back. For instance, this year I got my son of the stabilisers on his bike (wooohooo). We went riding every weekend over the summer, even if it was just for 5 mins to get him riding. By the end of summer I was cycling upto the park with him. The best part of it though is that I used to love cycling and now I am cycling again just with my boy and we are both enjoying it. Probably not much of it over the winter period but we will find something else. My daughter I am sure will be the same.
in response to talldad: starting my own business is the only way i can think of to have the ability to manage my own time (after it has settled down), and to get the money that we need, and unfortunately we do need this, we have a lot of debt that needs sorting urgently.
This morning we had a really big argument, i cannot stand it when she says that she has a headache because she is stressed, she is tired of having to do everything 24/7 - even though when i am at home she puts it on me to do the nappy change in the morning and at weekends to feed our daughter and do diy, i know this looks like i am whining at spending time with our child but it is always when i am in the middle of something and if i can just concentrate and get it done then i would do these things happily.
This morning i lost it and shouted infront of my daughter and she burst out crying, this is the second time it has happened and i feel like scum of the earth for upsetting her like that, i don't want her to grow up thinking of me like that, i have no let out at the moment, know one to talk to about, well, anything really, there are a couple of chaps at work that are becoming friends but i am always scared of confiding in people as i feel it would make me look weak or they may tell someone else.
As a kid i had a nervous twitch (i was bullied quite a lot) and now with all the stress at home and work i have it again and colleagues have noticed but i don't know what to tell them.
as for this morning i don't know what to do, how to handle it, if i appologise then i will feel low and hate myself as i always end up apologising when it was her that wound me up.
if you have managed to read all of this then thank you and i would really appreciate some advice.
I would apologise to both your wife and your daughter - if no one apologises, then it festers. You need to sit down and talk, and if you don't feel able to do this easily, then maybe you should suggest to your wife that you should go to Relate - better to do it now that whne things have got worse. I'm not saying it's all your 'fault' because it isn't, but it needs someone to take the first step.