Are you lying when you say your family is the most important thing to you? Probably not. However your actions do speak louder than words. Even though you say your family is the most important thing to you, for many people, the time and energy you spend at work, says work is #1. Work-life balance leans precariously to the work side all too often.
I used to put work first
Looking back over my years as a leader in an organization, I spent many late nights and weekends at the office. Additionally, you would have usually found me at my kitchen table on alternating Sunday afternoons working on payroll. The truth was, if I weren’t at work physically, my mind would be there. I wasn't always the best role model for wellness in the work place.
I still struggle to balance my time and energy
Although family has always been my #1 value, I haven’t always demonstrated that it was. I won’t lie to you; even today I have to work hard at not letting work slip into the #1 time and energy space of my life.
When a deadline is looming or someone pushes me to do something, it's easy to find myself putting my best self into work, leaving very little left for the rest of my life.
I am not alone
Among desires such as freedom, honesty, health and success, family is cited as one of the top 5 most important things on many people’s lists of what are key priorities in their lives. Like me, you probably very much want to spend time with your family. You want them to be a higher priority than work. You want to be able to focus on quality time with your family. Yet strangely, my actions, and perhaps yours, often show otherwise.
Many of us struggle to find the time and energy to put family first
The problem is, by the time you get home most days you have very little energy left for your family. You often say, “as soon as I get through this busy time…” or “I’m putting the time in now so that we will have time later”. The problem is, later never comes.
When you are with your family, it's not quality time
You run the kids to their extracurricular activities while you finish phone calls. You quickly check emails while you try to get supper on the table. You glance up from the computer as you talk to your kids about their schoolwork. As you wind down your night, you check your emails, in bed, beside your spouse, who incidentally may be doing the same thing. Is this the quality family time that you envisioned? My guess is not so much!
Take an honest look back, is it quality time?
Look back. Can you honestly say over the last 6 months that you feel you met your vision of how much quality time you would like to focus on with your family? If you can answer yes to that, congratulations! My assumption is that you are the minority. Most of us look back over the last 6 months, me included, and say, ummm…not quite.
It's time for a change
My goal moving forward is to have more quality time with my family. If you are in that boat too, here are some ways to increase your quality time with your family.
4 Ways to increase your quality time with your family
Nothing is worth more than this day
If you give this day, this time and this energy to work, you can’t get it back to spend with your family. It is gone. It takes concentrated effort to keep bringing your focus back to family when the demands of work are so incredibly strong. It is worth it though, because you already know that your family is #1.
Question: Which of these suggestions will you implement this week and how will you do that? Share your intention below as you will be more likely to follow through if you do.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.