Thursday, October 1, 2009

The real juggling act - balancing home and work life

I had absolutely NO intentions on writing another blog post today. I mean, I posted two this week already and I've got a TON of work to do as it is.

However, after yesterday's post about some SID tips, had a couple requests about how to manage/balance home and work life.
So, I got to thinking about it, even directly responded to one email about the subject.

And now here I am blogging yet again.
Before we go any further, let me just say right now that I am no expert on this subject. I do have years of experience trying to balance and juggle things, but this is a work in progress.

Anyway, without any further ado, here are some tips on handling the balancing act between home and work.

1. First, you and your spouse/family must have an understanding of each other's point of view and feelings. Your spouse needs to understand/realize that there are times/days/weeks that you will have to work late, bring work home, etc., BUT you also need to understand/realize that you didn't marry a laptop, but rather a lovely person and you need to and MUST spend time with them.

2. Make one night during the normal work week (M-F) off limits for work. For me, that's Wednesday, but that's due to taking kids to church for AWANA and working at church, etc. But I don't fire up the laptop when I get home. Only times I do work on Wednesdays are when there are games to be reported on. (For me, that's basketball and baseball.)

3. Don't waste the weekend on the laptop. Block out several hours (4 or so) for nothing but couple/family time. This can be difficult, especially with football, basketball and baseball and how those sports eat up the weekend. Plus there's ALWAYS some work you can 'catch up' on. But your spouse/family needs to spend time with you and you need them too. I generally try to block out Friday night for the family. That's generally the safest and best bet. Also, I like to make breakfast for the family at least once a weekend. Usually fix some pancakes. Sunday afternoons are good for being lazy with the spouse or playing with the kids.

4. Help out around the house. I try to do this on a regular basis, but it has to be a conscious event. It's too easy to let things slide around the house when you have a ton of SID work to do. More than just mowing the lawn, help out with the day-to-day stuff - and WITHOUT being asked. (That will score major bonus points.) Fix dinner, do the dishes, straighten up around the house - especially in the living room and high traffic areas, make the bed (you'd be amazed at how big/important that is), vacuum, and if your spouse trusts you, do some laundry. If you do the laundry, do not be afraid to ask what does and doesn't go into the dryer of hers. Better to be safe than sorry and have to buy her a whole new wardrobe :-) - trust me, I learned the hard way.

5. COMMUNICATE!!! Share with your spouse what you're going through, the stress you feel, the projects/problems you're facing, dealing with. Yes, they might not understand, comprehend everything, but they never will if you don't open up and share with them. Your spouse is supposed to be your best friend and partner in life. Let them help carry some of your burden.

6. Make family events, functions a priority. This is CRUCIAL especially when you have kids. But make every effort to attend all the family functions you can. YES, there will be times when duty calls and work pulls you away. But if little Johnny has a game at 5:30 pm and you have no games on tap tonight, BE THERE! Yes, you might not feel like, but your attendance shows that you care/love your family especially when they know that your time is stretched/limited.

I've even taken weekend trips with the family during sports seasons when my teams have been on the road. I've got a laptop and I was going to do the work at home, so why not update things at a hotel and spend time with the family, right?

Also, I like taking the kids to school in the mornings. Since our two go attend different schools, my wife and I rotate each day which child we take. I don't know why, but I love dropping the kids off for school and wishing them well each morning.

7. Take time off. This is very difficult to do, especially for we SID, workaholic types. But you would be amazed at how much this well refresh you as a person and as a SID. During the summers, I take 2-3 days off a month in addition to a week or two of vacation. During the school year, I try to schedule in 1 day off a month. Yes, you will have to plan and coordinate which day is best to be out of the office and away from things, but the time away will do you wonders. TRUST ME on this, and you'll thank me later.

I even went 36 hours without being on my laptop and/or online during the football-basketball crossover season. (And a certain SID in the Midwest still owes me some Starbucks for doing so :-D ) Also, I didn't even experience the shakes or anything.

8. In addition to taking time off, leave the office early. You get done with a project at 3:30 or 4 pm and don't have a game that night, hit the road! Why start up something new when you don't really have to? (Yes, I know we SIDs have never-ending projects, but sometimes things can wait just one more day.)

9. Incorporate your family with your job. I realize not everyone can do this, but if you can, have your family come to the games/events you cover. If your kids are old enough, have them help you out. I bring Jayson to games with me all the time, and when he's out of school for some reason, he comes and hangs out in my office. (And if you're really good, you can make your spouse a spotter for you like some SIDs I know.)

10. Lastly (for now anyway), I highly recommend you going through The Love Dare book, made famous through the movie Fireproof. This book will help you reconnect with your spouse and keep you focused on what's truly important.

Yes, sports information is a great jog. Personally, I think it's the best profession in the world. But at the end of the day, it's only a game.

Treasure what truly matters.

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