When it comes to life, our currency is often wrapped up in two things: time and money. While many people would tell you the two hold equal weight, the reality is that they don’t.
The opportunity for gaining time is ultimately finite, whereas the opportunity for gaining money is virtually infinite. You can make money long after you’re gone, but once you’ve used up all the time you’ve been given, you’ll never get it back. That’s why it’s so important to use your time wisely, and to make sure that you’re spending it in places where it counts.
One of those places is with family. It’s one of those areas where you get a substantial return on your investment of time. You can always make one more sales call, but you’ll never get another chance to see that first dance recital or little league homerun.
If this truth resonates with you and you want to make sure that you’re getting as much family time in as possible, check our five tips on maximizing your family time:
1. Timeblock It
The first step to controlling your time is understanding that you own it. By laying out your calendar and dedicating the time in your day to what matters most to you, you’ll be taking the first step toward locking down more time with your family.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes day-to-day work and life make it seem hard to implement.. To get started, pick any quantity of time, and go from there. Whether it’s picking up your kids from school, grabbing a drink with your wife right after work, or even a sit-down dinner once a night with the whole family—focus on making the most of that time together. This quality time can pay dividends in your relationships.
2. Stay Accountable
Commitments without supportive measures that keep us on track are as structurally sound as wet paper. Accountability changes the way we talk about our goals. And it helps us make the transition from ideas to outcomes.
Whether you have a friend at work who’s got your back, or a wristband that shocks you if you violate your own rules — having a system in place that will keep us focused on the straight and narrow is crucial for success. Think about your own plan for accountability. It should serve not only as a reserve of motivation, but also as a means to strengthen and build you up when you make progress as well as mistakes.
3. Use Your Vacation Time
Having an overflowing store of vacation time in your back pocket isn’t a badge of honor to wear around the workplace. It’s a warning sign!
When we work without breaks, stress begins to mount up. Even in our daily routine, the pressure and weight of work can creep up and wear us down in unexpected ways. When this happens, it’s easy for burnout, declining health, and foggy thinking to sneak into your life. The best way to prevent stress from taking its toll is to take a vacation.
Not only is vacationing great for rejuvenating our minds and bodies, it’s also a great opportunity to bond with family. Family vacations create memories and experiences that last for a lifetime. When looking at your summer calendar, mark a few dates down where you can plan to be out of the office. Then, get your family together for activities that are relaxing, fun, and offer something for everyone to enjoy.
4. Learn to Disconnect
In today’s technological world, whenever we leave the office, the office leaves with us.
Late night calls, last minute texts and looming emails plague “work-warriors” while at home, causing them to misallocate hours that are better left reserved for relaxation, decompression and family. While some may say that this is just the world we live in, that today’s demands require us to be constantly connected, the truth is that’s a myth.
Our 24/7 entanglement isn’t a necessary evil, it’s an unnecessary choice. Whenever we clock-in afterhours, not only do we give ourselves permission to form bad habits, we also give others unreasonable expectations about our availability.
If you’re one of the 87 percent of workers who look at business emails outside of work hours, shutting everything down when you get home can seem difficult, but it’s a worthwhile initiative.
Oftentimes the issue isn’t what other people expect of you, it’s what you expect they want from you. One recent survey found that most people expect responses to emails within 12 and 24 hours after being sent. So it’s a good idea to start by setting standards with your teammates for when you’ll be available and when they should expect responses from you. By setting expectations for work and non-work hours, you’ll free yourself from those assumptions and set a precedent that works for both your professional and personal life.
Just remember, people are often understanding when it comes to family matters. The trick is to keep everyone in the loop so that there are no unexpected surprises. Everyone’s situation is a little different and requires its own solutions and remedies. If you have any of your own tips on squeezing in extra time for family, please, share it on our Facebook page!