Work, Work, Work!

For many dads, there never seems to be enough time for family life or life itself. You’ve heard the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” That old proverb suggests that a person who spends his whole life on his work is both boring and bored. Not only that, but he is also probably lonely due to having invested no time into relationships outside of work. That includes not having built strong bonds with a spouse and children.

One of my all-time favorite tunes is a ’70s folk rock song by Harry Chapin. Cats in the Cradle tells the story of a father who has no time for his son while the father is building up his career. When the father is finally ready to spend time with his son, his son has no time for him. When the father is old and longs for his son to spend time with him, the son has his own life and children and will not spend time with his father. Listen here:

It is a sad song, but it has a very important warning for fathers: “Don’t let that happen to you!” Pursuing success in your work can cost you the most important things in life if you don’t find the right work/life balance. Work/life balance can be difficult to achieve and maintain, but it is worth every effort. What follows are some suggestions.

Five Tips for Navigating Work, Life and Family

1. At Work: Set Boundaries and Optimize Work Time

Set Boundaries

  • At work, let your colleagues know your work hours and stick to them, avoiding overtime and after-hours emails.

Optimize Work Time

  • Maximize Efficiency: Minimize distractions at work. Focus on completing tasks during work hours to avoid taking work home.
  • Communicate Needs: If flexible work arrangements are an option, talk to your employer about them. This could include remote work options or adjusted schedules.

2. At Home: Communicate

  • Explain your work schedule to your family so they know when you’ll be unavailable. Make every effort to stick to the schedule you promise your family.
  • Make a commitment to your partner to share childcare responsibilities as much as possible.

3. Plan and Delegate

  • Make a weekly schedule that includes work hours, childcare, family meals, and quality time together. Even if you just hang out.
    • Evenings and weekends are precious!
  • Schedule weekly dates with your spouse and each child.
    • Treat these dates with the same or greater respect as work appointments.

4. When you are with your family members, be present!

  • Put away your phone and focus on connecting with your family members.
    • Power off your phone and computer games and remove all distractions.
  • Create a mental and physical separation between work and family life.
    • This is especially important if you work at home.

5. Embrace imperfection.

  • There will be days that feel out of balance. Don’t beat yourself up – recommit to your goals and move on.
  • There will be days that lean more towards work or family. The key is to strive for an overall balance over time.
  • Open communication with your employer and partner is essential to achieve and maintain a workable balance.

Remember, balance isn’t about a perfect 50/50 split every day. It’s about finding what works for your unique family and adjusting as needed. By implementing some of these strategies, fathers can create and maintain a more balanced and fulfilling life for themselves and their families.

Achieving Holistic Balance

Beyond working for work/life balance, make it your goal to achieve total life balance. The basic idea of holism is the understanding that human beings are multidimensional. You are a spirit who has a soul that lives in a body.  To be truly whole, each part of us must be healthy.

David Diga Hernadez[i] offers a straightforward and keen insight into what that means. He says in his July 16, 2021 blog titled Body, Soul, Spirit: Simply Explained[ii]:

  • Body:Your body is your “earth suit.” Your body is your connection with this world. Your body is the vehicle through which you experience the natural realm. Every single interaction that you share with others is through your body. With the body, you speak and communicate. With your physical being, you see, hear, and touch the world around you.
  • Soul: The soul is the realm of decision. In the soul lives your mind, will, emotions, and personality. Your mind—what you imagine. Your will—what you want. Your emotions—what you feel. The soul is the neutral ground between the body and the spirit. It is the place where free will is exercised. The soul is eternal, and everyone has a soul
  • Spirit: Your spirit is your connection with God. It is the innermost part of your being, the center of you, the source of your identity. Your spirit is the deepest part of you, and your spirit knows perfect fellowship with God.” 

The goal is to be holistically healthy in body, soul, and spirit. That requires healthy consumption and regular exercise.  That includes:

  • Eating nutritious, well-balanced meals and exercising the body through regular physical activity.
  • Regularly feeding your mind accurate and uplifting information and healthily exercising your will, and your emotions.
  • Receiving and maintaining a strong connection with God through the consistent exercise of spiritual disciplines, including prayer, Bible reading, worship, and fellowship.

This results in what the Bible calls abundant life (John 10:10).  May you achieve and maintain a healthy holistic life balance as you continue your fathering journey.

Inspiration from the Holy Scriptures

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23, NLT)

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[i] David Diga Hernandez is an evangelist, healing minister, author, and TV host.