The Importance of Balancing Your Time Between Work and Family

July 24, 2017 | posted in: Business Issues, Lighter Side | by

Have you ever discovered something so surprising, so counterintuitive, so startling and new that it changed your whole attitude towards life?

As a dad with nine kids, I always felt stuck, like I had no choice: I had to work as much as possible to support my family. Usually, that meant working until 7:30 p.m., at least, and spending less time with my kids than I wanted. I told myself it was worth it, and that they appreciated my working so hard. After all, there’s always so much to do. How could I just step away from it all?

Then, my friend and colleague, David M. Ward, introduced me to Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, a new book by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a consultant in Silicon Valley and a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He wrote the book because – just like so many of us – he felt himself starting to burn out. Then, he went on sabbatical, and discovered that he was even more productive while he was supposedly taking time out to rest.

This made me wonder right away: What if we’re doing it all wrong? What if we just spend too much time in the office, without being more productive while we’re there?

I decided to test out the book’s theories. I started leaving the office at 5:15 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. I started concentrating on my kids and giving them the attention they really needed. It wasn’t that they’d been neglected before, but it has been incredible seeing them blossom – getting used to having me around more, and knowing they can come to me anytime. That is my number one priority.

None of this has taken a thing away from my clients. While I’m at work, I’m 100% there, and my clients know that I’m going to make myself completely available, and dedicate myself utterly to their needs. I’m not the only one who’s seeing huge gains in productivity by cutting back. Pang points out that Silicon Valley companies are moving that way, too, towards shorter work days and limited online contact outside of business hours – and discovering, like I have, that they get more work done, and better-quality, more creative work, during the time they’re focusing on the task at hand.

As Pang writes in his book, “If you want rest, you have to take it. You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it.”

That’s a very simple idea: the world will steal your rest if you let it. I wish I could tell you how much my life has improved since I’ve started taking these simple steps to refocus. It all hinges on one simple fact: my business exists to support my family, not to take me away from them.

If you’re feeling stuck, like I was, check out his book or talk to me about making room for balance in your own busy schedule.

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