We all have busy lives. We have hundreds, if not thousands, of things and people vying for our time and attention. More often than not, those most important to us suffer the consequences of our climb toward success. Andy Traub said, “If you win at work and lose at home, you lose at life.” If our time is fixed to a certain degree, we must focus on the quality of the time we have rather than stress over the quantity of time. Here’s three quick ideas on how to improve:
First things first: if you aren’t spending time with your family, you have to change that…today…like right now. Seriously, close your browser, log off your computer, play with your kids, talk to your spouse. For those of you still with me, the people in your life that mean something to you love you. They may like your job, think you have a cool car, or envy your interesting hobbies, but they love you. My kids could don’t care what I do for a living, how much money I make, or how many shares this articles gets. They love their father and they want to spend time with him.
Don’t be the one who worked all the time or the one who was just a good provider. Be the one they made memories with, they laughed with, they grew with. Be the parent they look up to. Be the spouse they walk through life with. Be the child your parents can rely on. Be there. Be present. Or someone else will.
Being present is only the beginning. If your body is present but your mind isn’t, does it really count? Be active. Be involved. Take interest. Pay attention. Put your phone down. Better yet, turn it off or leave it at home. The world can wait. You’re not as important as you think you are except to those right in front of you.
Your family will notice your mental absence regardless of how sly you think you are. They will miss your involvement in the conversation. They will see you slip off to take that call. They will see the electronic glow shine off your face. They will see the longing on your face as you wish to be somewhere else.
Focus on the present. Focus on the moment. Focus on the people. Focus on the memory.
It’s easy to come home after a long day, flip on the TV, and veg out for a few hours. Sometimes, all I want to do is let my girls binge watch Umi Zoomi while I catch up on my never-ending “to do” list. That may be the easy way, but it isn’t the best way. Years from now, my kids won’t remember the cartoons we watched. My wife won’t recall the night we spend staring at our phones. For them to have memories, I must be willing to make them.
Find something fun to do. Take a trip. Build a fort. See a play. Learn a skill. Whatever it is, make it unique. Make it memorable. It doesn’t always require a plane ticket or a expensive budget but it does take you being intentional and making a plan. We try to plan everything else in our live, why can’t we plan to make memories too?
Listen to Episode 28 of the Profolio Life with Jeff Goins and Andy Traub: Family First: Managing the Tension Between Work and Family. Read When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley. More importantly, evaluate both the quality and quantity of your family time and make a plan to improve it.