They say, "You can't have it all."
I don't know who 'they' are and everyone's definition of 'all' is different.
But the reality is, no matter what age, stage and wage you're at, thriving in your family and career doesn't just happen. We need to work. Although the effort and toil of work has been increased ever since sin entered the world, work itself can be honorable, and with God's help, it can be a blessing for your family and the world around you. Like anything else in life, we need to go about family & career with all our heart and do it as unto the Lord.
Here are three pillars that I've identified over the years that I use to safeguard against compromise and stress.
1) Define Success
Just getting by is a terrible state to be in. In life. In work. In faith. In anything.
To thrive, I first need to define ‘success’. What am I aiming for? At the end of this year, what will I have done in family and career to say that it was a successful year?
Companies use this method all the time, typically in the form of key performances indicators (KPI's). Here are just a few of my personal 'KPI's' when it comes to defining success. I encourage you to come up with your own, this way it adds an element of accountability.
2) Filter Everything Through Eternity
Ask yourself: Will the impact of what I'm doing now matter in eternity?
It's something I often ask myself when faced with a financial decision, a matter at work, something related to family or simple actions that I take on a daily basis.
Keep the end in mind.
Will it really matter, when all is said and done (i.e. you're no longer here), that you drove your family around in a reliable 2012 vehicle rather than a flashy, new sports car? No, it won't. (Plus, your family probably can't even fit in that sports car, so why are you trying so hard.)
Will it matter, when all is said and done, that you spent your evenings and weekends preoccupied with work rather than family? Yes, yes it will.
The list continues. Do some soul searching and use a filter to keep you from doing things that will negatively impact you and help you do the things that will be beneficial in multiple areas of your life, for years to come.
3) Write It Down
I use The Covenant Planner sheet to record our family mission statement, key reminders for the year, key goals and target dates and more. You should try it!
This gives me a quick snapshot of what matters and as I review it, usually bi-weekly, it helps me make decisions and guides me back to my non-negotiables.
*A Harvard Business Study found out the following related to goal-setting:
What this research made clear is that if you want the best possible results, you need to define your goals and then write them down.
The same is true when it comes to success in family and career.
Now, the last and most important point (and possibly a prequel to a future post) that I could iterate is this:
If you lose at home, you lose.
No amount of success in the workplace will compensate for failure in the family. Everything comes back to the definition of success. You CAN win/succeed at both but you need to define what it looks like.
If you have some tips of your own for thriving in family and career, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being available for someone means that you have 'free' time and can fill it with something that is important to that person, if you feel like it.
Making yourself available to someone means that you intentionally commit to & protect that time, for their specific needs.
There's a huge difference.
Don't tell someone you're available if you're not willing to give them your time & attention. Sounding like a nice person by saying you're available doesn't help anyone. In fact, your co-workers or those under your leadership will eventually see the real you. They'll associate your frequent 'I'm available' with something along the lines of 'I have some free time, I wish I didn't, so please don't contact me unless you have an emergency.'
Take-away: I'm available = The time slot is free but I don't really want to fill it. I will make myself available = Whatever is important to you is important to me.
If you follow me on Instagram (@altarpreneur), you know that I like to work in time batches - early AM, late AM and afternoon. This helps me stay organized and on top of my various tasks & projects, be it work-related or personal.
Another useful technique that I recently started incorporating into my schedule is the Pomodoro Technique, a method used for batching tasks. Pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian. The inventor of the technique, Francesco Cirillo (Italian), initially used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer when he developed the technique (you can Google it).
I looked online for a simple 1-page sheet that I can use to put this technique into action but could not find one. So, I created it! (There is an app if you prefer those, it costs $4.99.) I find a simple sheet that I can keep nearby, on my desk, to be much more effective than swipes, taps, drop-downs, notifications, etc.. Here you go...use it well!
The Pomodora Log (by Altarpreneur) - A Daily Task Tracker for Increased Productivity
The whole work/family-balance thing is misunderstood. In reality, work and family are both a part of my life and they exist simultaneously. Even more so for those who are on-call or are required to take their work home. And...even more so for those of you who work at home! So, as much as we want to separate the two, the better approach is to give them both your all and wherever you are, be all there.
Here's a snapshot of what I do to steer my energy and focus from work back to family, at the end of the workday. During my drive home I'm already relaxing and decompressing. Music, prayer, informative radio, a quick chat with friends or family, it all helps. When I get home from work I take five minutes to catch up with Daniela and the boys, looking them in the eyes and staying in their presence. It sounds like a short time but it's not. Here are the benefits of this simple practice:
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. - Ephesians 5: 15,16
Biblical, on-the-go, tips for thriving at work. Written by Danny Kovacs, from first-hand wins & losses. This is the digital space where I share free resources and learning moments throughout the week/month.