6 ways hard working dads can support gender balance at home
Support gender balance at home
In our busy lives it can seem impossible to have success at work and at the same time feel like you are giving your wife and kids the time they need, and that you all deserve. Today I want to talk about how you can tip the balance back to a level you are happy with and support gender balance at home.
As a Dad there is certain pressure and stress that goes with being the sole or majority bread-winner for your family. One of the common challenges that I hear at Inspired Dads is from fathers who are feeling the weight of having to support their family and finding quality time for their wife and kids.
They are working their butts off to make sure that not only are they keeping their family in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed, but also so that they can be as successful as possible in their current job. They want this for their own personal satisfaction and to be a positive role model to their colleagues, friends and most importantly to their children.
But at what cost?
The following 6 questions will help you even the score to create gender balance at home
1. What is your personal brand?
Does you personal brand focus only your success in business? On your material possessions? How nice your house is? The value of your car and size of your TV? Or does part of your personal brand consider the needs of your family? [Tweet “Have you taken the time to consider your reputation outside a professional environment? “] Your reputation as a husband, as father and as a man? And what it is you stand for?
When you are clear on your personal brand and your values, and have a vision for your future, solutions start to show up. The clearer you get the better. Brainstorm and see what you come up with. Once you gain that clarity and change your focus to this very specific personal brand, your whole mindset changes. You start to question things that you once found acceptable: Friday night drinks that keep you from your family and affect you the next day for example.
Another very cool thing happens. Do you remember when you wife or partner was pregnant? Suddenly you started seeing pregnant women everywhere. Where did they come from??? Of course they have always been there, it is just that your subconscious mind has a new focus. The same thing happens when you decide on the next car that you want to drive. You never thought that they were that popular and now you are seeing them everywhere. The power of writing your vision down on paper will mean that new opportunities will pop into your existence in ways you could never imagine.
Only you can answer the question to what is your personal brand. It is only when you get very clear on it, will you know the answers to any of the questions above. You will also find that there are other more relevant things that you should be questioning around how you spend your time.
2. What is your big WHY?
Why is it important to you to have a more balanced life? To have more time with your family? To still be successful at work? Reasons are so powerful and help you regain focus when your motivation wanes and it all feels too hard. What are your 5 most important reasons WHY?
One might be to be able to provide everything possible for the future of your children. Or to have fantastic relationships with your whole family. To spend more time travelling. What ever it is, make sure it is not someone else’s reason. Make sure it fits for you, your family and what you want in life.
3. Where do you spend your time?
There isn’t any more spare time in your day right? Have you actually taken the time to assess where you spend your time? I find this exercise very beneficial when I am feeling too busy and always pressed for time. Write down the 5-10 major areas where you spend your time – for example, sleep, work, family, exercise, recreation, sport, time wasters (social media, tv shows, internet, jobs that can wait). Draw a table with 3 columns. In column one, list these 5-10 areas you have just come up with. Above the other two columns, write the headings “Now” and “Desired”
Under “Now”, write the percentage of time you are spending in each area. Under “Desired” alter the percentage for each area to a balance that you would love to have. Where do you need to make changes? Once you know where your priorities lie, you can map out a plan to change.
4. Could your planning at home do with a dose of professionalism?
“It could be time to get as organised at home as you are at work. What are your productivity secrets at work? Are you focussing on your highest value tasks? Do you have a set routine, lists, reminders, plans, processes to keep yourself and your team accountable? Could they be applied at home? Of course they could with only a small amount of effort.
Make the most of the time that you do have. After completing the previous exercise, you can now see where you are spending your time. If you have been really honest, what has shown up is that you have time that could be better spent, and there is a certain amount of time that you waste.
Is watching your 5th game of footy for the weekend more important than time with your wife? [Tweet “More important than time with your kids?”] If you stay up late on a Friday night to get some time for yourself, is that more important than planning and getting prepped for the next day (like you would at work) and getting an early night so you can get up early, feeling fresh and ready to jump straight into a family activity?
5. Will working less hours in the office impact your level of professionalism and your career?
This is a very personal area that will take some serious consideration and perhaps some consultation with your team at work and managers. There is no easy answer here, so I will pose some questions for you to ponder. The idea here is to get clarity by asking some questions of yourself and your colleagues about your values as a group. Do others feel the same way? Are you in a position where you could have honest conversations with your team and come to an agreement on what you stand for in your business and as family man? You are no doubt having the tough conversations in the work place already, is this one that you should make a priority? Should we drawing a line in the sand about how many hours that we work? Does family come first?
Will staff members with a better life balance be happier and more productive in the long run?
Individually, have a think about the following. Will there still be a mountain of work to do if you leave now or if you leave in 2 hours? Or if you stayed all night? No doubt some projects need to be finished to meet deadlines, but what other tasks are less urgent and can wait? How many times have you busted your gut to get something done only to find that it was not so urgent after all and isn’t acted upon for some time, and sometimes not at all? Would there be any understanding if you explained your situation and asked for a time extension? Will it really impact your reputation if you leave before 6pm some nights?
Other considerations for your day – Are you completing your highest value tasks first thing in the morning or is your day being driven by your email and by others demands? Could you be in earlier in the morning so you can get out at a reasonable hour?
6. What can you outsource at home?
One thing that we definitely cannot buy more of is time, however we can make better use of the time we have. Have a think about the jobs that take up valuable weekend and evening time for you and your wife. Would it be worth your while to buy back some of your time. Finding $50 to pay a gardner or cleaner or dog washer is probably easier than you think. Plan ahead and avoid buying the whole family lunch while at the shops. Bring snacks from home or from the supermarket on the family outing, Don’t buy that second (or third) coffee each day. I’m sure there are other areas that you spend money that you could cut back on to afford some minor outsourcing. If extra quality time with your family and for yourself is a major priority in your life right now, making a small sacrifice to buy back some of your time will be well worth it.
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Original Article from Inspired Dads posted on 6th May 2015
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