The holiday season has just got over. We all were busy thinking and buying gifts for our loved ones. It was not an easy task; a lot of thinking, research and effort goes into picking the right gift for our loved ones. At times it does become a bit daunting to manage both, the year-end work activity and holiday planning (this blog by my CEO for tips to manage this might have helped).
Now that the giving of holiday presents is over, I want to share a new concept of giving that you can do in 2017 and beyond. It does not involve doing research or buying gifts; it is a gift that we all can give without any additional effort, and the best part is that you will enjoy it too.
This year, starting today,give ‘Presence’ and not ‘Presents’.
The best gift we can give in this crazy busy life is the gift of time! Not just in the holidays but on a daily basis.
Not being able to give attention to your spouse or your kids, not being able to spend leisure hours with them, no bonding, no loving and no growing up together, is a bane of the world we all live and work in. Studies conducted by California State University have shown that working parents spend no more than three and half minutes of meaningful conversation with their children per week, and that in the same week children watch nearly 28 hours of television!
One must wonder what is holding us back from fulfilling this need in the first place. The blame lies squarely with the crazy work hours that everyone seems to be putting in. Maybe it’s a requirement of your job; maybe you’re scared to push back because everyone else does it and you don’t want to be the odd one; maybe it’s just a bad habit you can’t seem to shake off.
You want to give your spouse and children quality time, but how do you strike the right balance? Here are few tips on how to squeeze in time when you don’t seem to have any.
- Create family time: Consciously block time to spend with family each day. It could be a date with your spouse or time for the whole family. Treat that time as sacred, don’t make any other plans and just spend the time bonding. Mark this on the calendar, if need be, so others (colleagues) can’t snatch it away. Most importantly measure it daily. Are you meeting the goal?
- Involve the children: Don’t make them work hard, but getting them to hang around and help you while you make dinner, fold clothes, tidy up after a meal, send out physical mail, etc. is a chance to bond with them and make them feel involved. Multitask not at work but at house with family.
- Use whatever time you get: For you it might seem like just 15 minutes, but for your child it is 15 extra minutes with you. Do a small project, help the child with homework, play a game – do something that the child values. Ask your kids for ideas on how they want to spend time with you. And stick to doing it when you promise it.
- Identify and banish time wasters: Do you seem to spend a lot of time looking for lost things – keys, matching socks, caps, sunglasses? Create a system where each person puts his or her things only in a fixed box or basket near the door. There’s no frantic rush and you don’t waste time in unwanted activities. Better still, make sure that everything is in its place for the morning before you go to bed.
- Work flexi-hours: Can your job allow you to reach earlier (or even later)? Make sure this does not impact anybody else’s plans or schedules. This way you can use that time to spend time with your family before work instead of rushing out to office every day. Perhaps you can work from home? Using a work from home software can help you with your work-life balance.
- Work after family time: Answer emails or return calls after the kids have been put to bed. No one feels cheated and you still manage to get things done. Time spent on email need not be time spent away from home.
- Use technology to your advantage: Pay bills online, shop online, get food and essentials delivered home. Check if you can get your laundry picked up and dropped. Keep a schedule of your work, that of your spouse and the kids on your smartphone so you are never caught unprepared.
At Sapience we are passionate about helping people find time for things that matter. Life is not just about work and yet, somehow, work consumes most of our time.
If this topic is of interest to you then you might like reading the following too: