One of the biggest challenges I have faced since becoming a dad is the difficulty of managing to strike a healthy balance between work and my family life following my return to the office after paternity leave.
Those first days back in the office were a real shock to the system. Everything changes, and managing to remain interested and engaged with work when really all I want to do is be at home playing with the little one is really tough. Conversely, as someone who actually enjoys my job, it has been a challenge to not get drawn back into the old routines of staying late and constantly being on emails late into the night…
However, after 3 months I am now managing to get a good work/life balance (although my wife may disagree!) and so thought I would share my top 10 tips. Hope they are of some use to some of you!
- Leave work on time: It is so easy to get dragged into one more meeting or one more phone call at the end of the day, but leaving work on time (especially if like me you have a long commute) is vital to get some quality time each evening.
- Take your lunch hour: Working efficiently will mean you have more time to NOT work, and giving yourself a break during the day to clear your head is a great way to make the afternoon as time efficient as the morning.
- Switch off your emails in the evening: Recently I discovered that I can turn off my work emails on my iPhone. This has been a revelation, and has stopped me from constantly checking my messages all evening.
- Stop checking Facebook/Twitter at your desk: Social media is an absolute time-hole… I now try to not check my twitter or facebook till I am on the train home (although it is not always possible to resist the temptation to check out the latest viral cat video!)
- Try to avoid pointless meetings: My work life is plagued by constant meetings. Meetings about meetings about meetings… My new approach is to only go to meetings I HAVE to be in, again freeing up more time to actually get my work done.
- Write achievable to do lists: A to do list is a great thing. An achievable to do list is even better. Great for motivation, and to mean you really can feel ok about leaving on time.
- Enjoy the weekend: No checking work emails at the weekend. These are precious times, so make the most of them!
- Snooze on the commute: I have a long commute, and so making use of this to catch up on sleep can be invaluable. Check out my blog on the subject of how I use my FitBit for more on this… https://tireddaddyuk.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/day-29-the-one-gadget-a-new-dad-cant-live-without/
- Go to bed: When the little one is final asleep, take advantage, and get some sleep too. YOU DO NOT NEED TO WATCH JUST ONE MORE EPISODE ON NETFLIX!
- Remember why you go to work: We go to work to earn money, to spend time with those we love. Remember this when work is getting you down, and even the most crappy days will get that bit easier!