Being a working daddy can be difficult – especially when as a dad, you wish to spend as much time as possible with your bundles of joy. This is an added strain on an otherwise tiring day – and with more and more time spent working from home (in some cases), our kids constantly demand our attention and affection. Who can blame them as this shift works in their favour – I mean, we are just one door away?
As many dads now resort to conference calls with screaming kids in the background, mute meetings to call for help from partners, and switch off live video feeds to search for favourite toys, the working life for dads has changed. For better or worse, well, that depends entirely on the situation.
I have changed nappies, bottle-fed my little ones, and even attempted to dress them while vocalising the yes or no in response to the conversations on the call in the background. Was this a challenge? Yes.
Of course, this experience has led me down a rabbit hole in attempting to find methods to cope- not just with the precarious balancing act between home and work life but to find happiness in it. Oddly enough, I have discovered some tools and tricks to assist in more ways than one.
Before I begin, though, I must give you a small glimpse into my life before the discovery of these game-changers.
I was chaotic – and I believed that I could do everything myself. And worst of all, the belief that I could do everything immediately led to my workspace looking like it was hit by a tornado, and then a tsunami. I believed that it was an organised sort of chaos and that I was in complete control. The truth, however, was that I was drowning in a salty sea of work and closely falling victim to death by papercuts.
Taking some time to re-evaluate my work style has made a world of difference and I can safely say that it is now smooth sailing for me – an otherwise distinctive change to my previous situation.
The Three-step Approach
Please note that these steps are of my personal, and testimonial opinion and research and that I cannot be held liable for the excessive amounts of time that you have left over in your day. While your tasks may take half the time to do, how you justify the increased workload is up to you. You can, of course, send your employers a link to this blog post if they become pushy.
Without further ado, I will jump right into my three-step approach for daddy work-life balance.
Step 1: Organise
Remember that tornado-tsunami I mentioned earlier? Avoid this at all costs. Taking a few minutes before beginning your work in the morning to organise your workspace saves hours (when calculated together) over the week. Even if you’re working from home at the kitchen table, simply keeping in mind that your mouse should not be on, or near, your margarine is vital. I have lost many devices to the wrath of a hot coffee cup, so trust me, I am now an expert on kitchen table work management tactics.
Seriously though, simply taking five to ten minutes sorting out your documents, opening your space to well, openness, and clearing your desktop, assists in the ebb and flow of work. Simple as it may sound, the rewards in productivity are enormous.
Short of us having an app or a service to do this, it is up to you and your individual choice.
Step 2: Delegate
That tsunami-afflicted desk still haunts me – I can barely count the number of times I said in a meeting, “Hold on a sec, I have the report somewhere here!” and then went on to spend close to five whole minutes trying to find the report I peeked at last week. The only benefit to such a situation is to observe the behaviour of people while they try to inconspicuously try to do other things to fill their time.
I don’t recommend the experience, so consider getting some help, whether it be in the form of training your kids well enough to produce your reports on-demand or hiring outside assistance. I advise on the latter- hire an assistant, or better yet, hire a virtual personal assistant. The virtual version is, in my opinion, cheaper, faster, and doesn’t invade any of your personal space.
Step 3: Schedule
Blocking off time on a calendar is lovely – except when your co-workers find that the last 15 minutes in your day when you’re shutting down to throw something new at you. Logically, yes, it can take under 15 minutes to do, however, you may need time to pull yourself out of work mode before committing to family time.
This is where the scheduling step comes in – Calendly is an awesome free app that can help you with your scheduling journey. You can save time, or spend it, and let whoever you want in on your most valuable resource if you deem them worthy.
And to let you in on a little secret, I use the app to schedule family time too – like that, my colleagues know that I am not to be disturbed when I am in the throes of life.
That, for me, is a true work-life balance.
I do hope that you take some lessons from this blog post, and please, if you ever want any more tips and tricks, check out the rest of our website.