Work Smarter//

How I Learned to Take Control of My Schedule – and Make More Time for Family

“Saying no creates opportunities for others – my teens as well as my team.”

Chutima Chaochaiya / Shutterstock
Chutima Chaochaiya / Shutterstock

In the summer of 2018, I accepted the role of Chief Communications Officer for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. When the daily commute from Marin to San Jose proved too much to bear, keeping me away from both work and family for nearly four hours a day, we decided to move closer to my office.

The move shortened my drive, but created a slew of challenges for my boys – new schools, new friends, new sports teams to navigate. And my newfound time was quickly filled with new demands.

To take control of my schedule and make more time for my family, I’ve adopted three practices:

1.     At home, I make a point to surprise and delight. I’ve accepted that I won’t be able to be at every game or performance. So I’m creating my own memorable events whenever I can. Last week I surprised my youngest at school with a pair of cupcakes and a walk at the local reservoir. It’s a small thing, but I know we’ll both remember it as a special moment between mother and son.And, I’m making a point to create similar moments for my husband. 

2.     At work, I’m making more time to meet with my team. While it may sound counter-intuitive, the more time I spend with my team, the fewer emails, questions, and crises I encounter down the road and on nights and weekends.

3.     I’m saying no and asking for help more often. It’s hard for me to say no to friends, teammates, and industry peers. But saying no creates opportunities for others – my teens as well as my team. Whether it’s a meeting request, an industry event, or just ironing my son’s shirt…I’m passing the baton, so I can spend more time on the things that matter most.

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