It has been several weeks since my last blog post, and for that I apologize. With the podcast starting, work, and family life, it is not always easy to find time to get EVERYTHING done. Sometimes we are required to prioritize those things that are important to us; when we do that some other tasks get put on the backburner. Just as my blog posting had to be slowed to make time for other tasks in my life, we as parents must prioritize our time for those things that are most important to us.
Do you ever feel like you are drowning in work? It is difficult to balance home life with our job, all while trying to find time to exercise, relax, meditate, wind down, etc. In medicine we always discuss finding a work-life balance (and some may laugh at the concept). However, we do have control over this if we chose to do so. The question is how to do it?
I have recorded a podcast episode on this, so expect to hear it in a few weeks. However, let’s lay the groundwork here first. Step one is to ask yourself a simple question: What is most important to me in my life? Make a list. Here is an example of mine:
- Spending time with my family
- Work (I am the sole provider in our household, so having income is kind of important)
- Time to wind down/destress from the day
- Get the house organized and packed (we are building a new house, so this is a significant priority now, but may not be in the future)
- Cook foods I enjoy
- Woodworking projects
You get the idea. Make a list that is most important TO YOU! It does not have to look like this. If work is #1 on our list, then own it and put it there. Do not feel like you are FORCED to put being a parent/husband/good spouse at the top if that is not your primary goal. If you are not honest with yourself at this step, then you will struggle with making the time you want later.
Now with that said, if you WANT to make parenting or homelife #1 in your life eventually, there are ways to work on that. We can cover that at a different time. OR you can check out my podcast (Episode 3 specifically) to work on resetting your sense of self and identity.
As you look at your list, figure out if you ARE making time for those things most important to you. Are you making your #1 priority really the first option when it comes to time management? If not, ask yourself why? Are other things taking over your time?
If you are not sure, the next step is to map out your day. Pick anywhere from 3-7 days and literally record EVERYTHING you do. If you spent 15 minutes checking your email, write it down. Did you stare at the wall for 20 minutes because you didn’t know what to do? Write it down.
After you are done recording, look for patterns. Where are you spending most of your time? Are you noticing more time spent on your phone zoning out than you realized? Are you losing hours to driving? Shopping? What are your time drains?
Once you know where you are spending your hours, see how it matches up to your priority list. Are you prioritizing your #1 choice with the time you are spending? If not, is there a way you can adjust things to do so? If you find you are spending too much time on social media or reading the news, maybe you can find ways to set limits. Are you spending 3 hours of the day watching Netflix rather than exercising? You can probably find a way to fix that.
Sometimes we don’t realize where we spend our time until we actually write it out. Work together with your spouse or significant other on this as well. Sometimes our priorities may not always match up, and doing this as a team may decrease the chance for conflicting expectations later on. We all have the same hours in the day, but we also all have different priorities. Figure out where your priorities lie and make the changes you want to see.
Imperfect Dad, MD