“Work is just a part of our Life, not vice versa. So Live life full time, work work, part time.”
A former boss once told me that if I really want to make it to the top and climb the corporate ladder at the quickest time possible that I have to stay behind and spend longer time in the office.
Perhaps this was his way of telling me to stop going home on the dot because I was never a fan of staying behind even if I don’t have anything to do anymore and honestly, I find that piece of advice rather hypocritical. If you’re staying behind because you just want to give a good impression rather than doing actual work then that is pointless.
This has been the most common criticism I’ve been receiving in all 15 years of my career.
“He always goes on time.”
“He leaves early.”
“It’s unbecoming of a leader.”
Well, I never listened to these “smart” people. Some people are just really good at passing judgment especially if what you’re doing does not conform to their beliefs. I get that. But I’m not a show off and my day in the office is over as soon as I’m done with all of my responsibilities which I make sure I finish each and every time.
I’m not ready to trade my for my family just to earn some bonus points and turn corporate heads. What good is money and title if your children barely knew you.
Just this past month, I experienced what I would consider the busiest three weeks of my career. I was working for three consecutive weekends and I was going home late that I only got to talk to my daughter Shae on Saturdays.
You see when I get home, she’s already asleep and when she leaves in the morning, I’m the one who’s asleep. Unlike my daughter Kylie who I still get to see late at night when I arrive While she’s still doing her homework and my son Keon who I get to see in the morning before he goes to school, Shae only got to see me over the weekend and I can see how excited she was after not seeing me for five days.
For me, that’s just sad. Even more sad is when you hear your children ask you:
“You’re working again?”
The good news is, this does not happen a lot. Once or twice a month at most unlike those working on higher positions who almost does not have sleep and whose health is already being compromised. I don’t want that kind of life.
I’m not trying to be choosy or anything given our financial status but for the love of God, that’s not healthy. It’s not healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Some people say, there’s no such thing as work-life balance and to some degree, that would probably be correct because when we say balance, both sides should be of equal weight but if you look closely, 9 hours in the office plus 2 hours of commute leaves you with 13 hours with your family. And yeah, sleep is not yet deducted from the 13 hours and realistically, for those working in corporate, you’ll be lucky to have a 9-hour workday once in a while.
We probably can’t balance work and family life but I there are ways to make the most our of the time you spend for both. Here’s how:
Be Present Wherever You Are
Some people can really be funny sometimes when it comes to work and family. When they’re in the office, they can’t think of anything else but going home. They clock in, do some stuff here and there, but spend most of their time looking at the clock, counting each second until 5 PM comes.
Ironically, some people I know would go home hurriedly just so he or she can resume work there. Are you kidding me?
As the great Jim Rohn once said, be present where you are. Be there where you should be. If you are at work, be at work (your mind that is) and if you are at home, be at home. You have to set boundaries when it comes to work and family life. You have to be fair both to the company that puts food on your table and to the family who yearns for your love and attention. You have to give your 100% during the time you spend with each of them.
When you get home, drop everything. Talk to the kids, ask them about their day at school. Ask your spouse about his or her day instead of lying on the couch to watch television until you fall asleep.
This is simple. If you are at work, be an employee and if you are at home, be spouse or a parent. Don’t try to cheat the two because if you ever do, it will always be you who will come out on the losing end.
Build your work around your life and not the other way around
One of the ways to achieve balance is to design a lifestyle that gives you enough time for both work and home. This is where technology comes in handy because today, remote work or working from home is already a common practice among large companies. If you are a parent, this is absolutely something that will benefit you because you’ll be able to do your job while raising your children.
Family and home should always be our priority. Work should adjust to your family life but the problem is, most people do the opposite. They build their lives around their work. They give everything to their job and leave their family whatever is left.
Your kids need you. Your husband or wife longs for you. They should be the priority and not the job. What good is a mansion on top of the hill without someone to live with? What good is money and material things without someone to share it with? What good is a title or position without someone to celebrate it with?
Work as if You’re Going on Vacation the Next Day
One of the Zig Ziglar talks I love was the one where he mentioned how much a person can accomplish on his or her last day at work before vacation because it’s absolutely true.
You come to work early, plan all of your tasks for the day, get rid of the more difficult ones immediately, you avoid “water cooler conversations” as much as you can, and take less breaks.
Imagine if you can carry that same mindset everyday and how productive you can be. Like I said, it’s pointless to stay behind and go home late if you can accomplish everything within 9 hours.
Take Time Off and Make the Most Out of it
All work and no play makes one a dull kid and when I say play I mean relaxation. Go to the mall, go on a vacation, do a physical activity together, enjoy your time with each other.
Once-in-a-while, you also have to take a break and rejuvenate especially if you’ve been through a “toxic” stretch.
After the three grueling weekends I mentioned above, I took two days off but I stayed home. I slept with my kids in the afternoon and watched movies with them. I Played with them. That’s my way of getting back those three weekends I’ve lost.
I live by the principle to live each day as if it was your last. I really believe that because life is short and you’ll never know when your time is up. Time is such a precious commodity because you cannot get back lost time.
My kids will only be kids once and I wanna be there to see that happen. I don’t care what other people may say, I don’t care if I don’t get a raise, and I don’t care if it cost me a promotion.
Balance is difficult to meet but if you know how to play your cards right and you know your priorities, it wouldn’t be that hard. Just ask yourself, what do you want and what will make you happy. If you have the answer, you’ll know what to do.
Over to You
Is balance something you’re struggling to make? Do you have enough time for your family without compromising your job?
I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or share your stories with me.
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