One of the questions I am asked most often is how one can balance their business goals with the goals of being a good parent and spouse. The people asking this question want to be both a family-oriented and achievement-oriented, and they are struggling to have both, mostly because they want more time with their family. There are two ideas worth looking at if this is your challenge.
First, the amount of time you spend at work or with your family is only one indicator you might look at to determine how you are doing as it pertains to fulfilling your obligations in either category, and I would argue that it isn’t the best indicator. There are plenty of people who pride themselves on the amount of time they spend working, even though they produce very little during the time they are at work. It’s also true that one may be at home while not being present at all. As much as we like to comment on teens and their devices, it’s the same for adults, as many of us are guilty of having our physical body at home and our mind at work.
Time isn’t the best measurement. Presence is a better measurement. The outcomes of the time spent together, like most things, is a greater factor. Was the time well spent? Was it meaningful? Were you fully present?
The second thing worth looking at as what you do with your time. Waking up at 4:30 AM will give you a full two and half hours to work when no on Earth wants your attention, leaving an hour to get ready or get yourself to work. Adding two and half hours to your workday every weekday gives you 12.5 extra work hours each week. If you add 2.5 hours on Saturday and Sunday, you have 17.5 additional hours. This frees up time after work for your family, while also giving you almost an extra half week every week, when compared to your clock-punching peers.
If you want to stay up late, watch television, play a lot of golf, hang out with your friends, and spend a lot of time distracted by entertainment, you are choosing to spend time in these areas, and there is nothing wrong with that if it makes you happy and fulfilled. But if you have to give up something to make time for the things you want more than a few hours of comfort and distraction, you might look at doing a lot less of these things so you can do more of what is really important.
It is healthy to want to be fulfilled in both areas of your life, but if you are looking for balance, look to the outcomes you produce—and don’t complain about not having enough time if you aren’t investing your time in the things that you say you want. You can’t have it all without being willing to pay the price in full to have it.