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Monday, February 07, 2005


Beyond Work Life Balance

Fathers tell me all the time that they wish they could find a better "balance" between work and their family. That whole concept to me is a bit backwards in itself. Balance implies equal or the same when used in this context. If one has balance between his work and his family, one could surmise that he is spending equal in each. Most fathers, though, feel they are out of balance and usually it's work that's winning the war for their time. So what is a man to do? The all too obvious answer-just work less-flies in the face of what it means to be a man. Being a man-especially a father-means providing for our family. The more I watch myself and others, the more I believe I should do a documentary on Animal Planet. We're nothing more than animals. Creatures. We behave frighteningly similarly to eagles, rodents and other less evolved creatures. We "go out" to gather for our family. Our hunting ground is our office or our workplace. Our food is a decent sized direct deposit into our checking account every two weeks. Because of this paternalistic drive, working less to achieve balance just doesn't seem to be a valuable option. After all, if it were, we wouldn't have the problem in the first place.

I believe there is a different way to look at it. Instead of cutting one or the other to achieve work/family balance, a man should look for ways to improve his performance in each. Men are hard wired to perform, to achieve and to feed our shallow egos with self fulfilling accomplishments. So why not use that fuel to create a better outcome at work and at home?

Try these ideas on for size and see what happens:

1-Leave work at 5:00 every day to get home for dinner. Put your brain into problem solving mode by asking: "How can I leave work at 5:00 and still achieve what I want to achieve at work?"

2-Come home for lunch three days per week or meet your kids at their school. You will enjoy the break. Your kids will "usually" put you in a good mood and they will think it's the COOLEST thing ever.

3-cleanse your to do list at work. "If I only had more time...." Here's a question, what do Bill Gates, Oprah, Bill Belichick and Tiger Woods all have the same amount of?" Not money. Not investments. Not championships. They all have the same amount of time. It's NEVER about time when it comes to work/family balance. It's about skill. Cleanse your to do list to focus on only the 20 percent of activities that will produce 80 percent of your results.
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