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The 2 Things You Need to Know to Find More Time in the Day

The 2 Things You Need to Know to Find More Time in the Day

Are you a busy parent that’s already prioritizing work and family but want time for more? Well, I want you to know it’s possible. In fact, I think that if you apply these two things tips, you’ll have more time and feel less busy.

1. Be efficient in all that you do

You should always be asking yourself “What’s the best way to do this?” Focus on doing everything in the order that makes the most sense. The opposite of this is multi-tasking, which you should avoid. When you multi-task you get distracted and don’t do anything well.

In being efficient, you’ll also want to keep it simple. For example, when making dinner focus on doing only that and have a repertoire of meals that are fast. Once you’ve made them a time or two, you’ll know the order in which to prepare and cook the ingredients. It doesn’t even have to be a “recipe”, it can be just a protein and veg, which is what I often do. That makes grocery shopping easier too because I just get the number of protein and veg I need and mix and match throughout the week. I keep it simple when I’m cooking too. If I’m grilling, I cook both meat and veg on the grill (which also saves on clean-up time). If I’m cooking it in the oven, same thing. If I want really fast, I do burritos or tacos. I can get them on the table in 10 minutes.

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This works for the little things too, like putting everything that needs to go downstairs by the gate. This way you take everything downstairs on one trip. If you have 3 minutes of free time, you can clean the bathtub (yes, it can be done in 3 minutes). If you need to return something to a store, put it with the grocery bags so you remember to do it on the same trip. Think about everything you do this way. What is the most efficient order to do things? What can you do first that makes the other tasks easier?

2. Manage your time, don’t let it manage you.

Really think about how you’re using your time. Write down your daily and weekly tasks. How does your schedule look? How do you want it to look? You have to look at this before you can add more in. If your more is that you want to work out but you don’t think you have the time, think about this. You have three options: before work, during work, after work.

  • Before work. Can you get up earlier? Will that affect any other parts of your day? Will your spouse be responsible for the kids if they wake up early? Will you still get as much sleep as you want?
  • During work. Is there a gym at your office you can use? One thats close to the office? If you work out during the day, will you have to stay at the office longer? Will it affect daycare drop-off or pick-up?
  • After work. Can you do it after work but before you pick up the kids? If your husband/wife picks up the kids, can you arrive home 30 minutes later than you normally do? Can you do it after the kids go to bed? If so, what will you have to give up?

Ask yourself these questions. Use the answers to decide where you want to fit this in your schedule. Then test it out and see if it works for you. If not, what changes will make it work?

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Basically, this is just being efficient with your schedule. Don’t just do things at a certain time because that’s the way you always did them. You might think you only like to work out in the morning. But if the evening is the best time for you, is it better to try doing it then or just never do it?

Will this work for me?

I used to think I couldn’t get up before my kids. I used the argument that I didn’t know what time they were going to wake up. Then I tried getting up 5 minutes before them. And it worked – for the first week. The second week it didn’t, so I got up earlier. Then I decided that I liked having time in the morning and I wanted to get up at 5am every day. I asked my husband if he would be in charge of the kids from 5 – 6am. He said yes. It doesn’t always work out, but it does more often than not, and now it is part of my routine.

Now imagine if that were an activity you wanted to do. Are you willing to make changes to make that happen? We can’t literally add time to our day, but we can choose how we spend our time and make the most of it. And that feels like more time.

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As a parent, you will have to be flexible because you just can’t predict what your kids will do or what situations will come up. If you want to get up early but think it won’t work out, shoot for 3 days a week.

What happens when you start managing your time?

You’ll take your relaxation time more seriously too. No more sitting on the couch half-watching a show half-trolling Facebook because you’re bored. If it’s your time to spend with your husband or wife, you will want to make it meaningful.

Same for your time with your kids. Decide on a time of the day to focus on your kids. Be intentional with your time and you will be able to accomplish more, strengthen your relationships, and lead the life you want to lead.

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It’s your turn now, what are you going to add into your life?

Featured photo credit: picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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