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In reading some online studies and articles in the paper recently, it was theorized and speculated that people are so much more tied to their careers and work that families and relationships are suffering as a result more than they were three decades ago.
There aren’t many 8-5 jobs left out there and most people carry work home with them or work more than ten hours per day. Still even more carry the dreaded leashes known as Blackberries tied to a corporate email system that keeps them plugged in 24×7 where they can often be bombarded with emails nights and weekends.
This makes it more important than ever to set aside some family time and it doesn’t matter if you have kids or not. Make sure you carve out at least six to ten hours per week of “fun time” with your loved one or your children as these are the moments that will carry you through your life. If you slave over work 60 hours per week while your children grow up and move out without so much as stopping to enjoy spending time with them, you will regret it and never be able to gain that time back.
I will share with my readers how I try to carve out some family time in my own busy schedule so that I set an example. I don’t know if what I am doing is right or wrong, and even I feel guilty I don’t spend as much time with my wife and kids as I should, but I do the best I can.
I work about 55 hours per week at my day job, this is a steady 10 hours per day average plus another five hours spread out at nights/weekends.
I spend another 10-15 hours per week working on my blogs in the form of two hours per night and four hours on Sundays or so. This totals to writing about 60+ blog articles per month and 30+ original poems per month every month for the past two years.
I also help my wife with her production company, blogs and self owned business about 5-10 hours per week. This mostly involves graphic design, WordPress or internet work but occasionally involves helping her run shows in bars/venues which keeps me up until 3am on some nights.
How I carve out family time:
Weekdays: I get up every morning about 5:30 or 6am and hang out with my kids before school/work. I usually fix them breakfast and make some tea for my wife who usually gets up at around 7 – 7:30am. I start work and seldom take a lunch break (when I do it is just to write my twitter poem). I clock out of work at around 5pm – 7pm ish to always have a sit down dinner with my wife, we talk about news, our jobs and anything else that is pressing and shouldn’t wait for the evening. This is also the time to help my son with any homework from school and engage in some activities with them for a while.
Kids get setup with a bed time movie at around 7pm and most of the time I will sit and watch with them for a while, or sometimes I have to go get some work done. At this point my wife and I usually bring her laptop into my office and we work side by side for an hour or two listening to music together while we work almost shoulder to shoulder.
After kids are asleep and wife and I are done with working for the day by around 9pm, we unwind on the couch and I rub her feet/legs while we watch some DVR’d TV Shows or a rented movie. Our favorite shows include: The Closer, White Collar, House, Deadliest Catch, Whale Wars and Psych (my favorite more than hers).
After about two hours of TV its off to bed, where every other night I will stay up and work on my blogs or some leftover work from my day job while she goes to sleep. I will usually work until midnight or 1am before calling it a night.
Weekends: This is where I get up at 6:30am and start doing as much yard work and housework as possible. I usually do weeding, mow grass and every other landscaping chore before it becomes over 110 degrees out by 10am. After about three hours of housework I bounce back and forth between spending the entire rest of the day playing with my kids. I will do activities like wrestling with them, playing Nintendo Wii (we do this a lot), or playing PC with my six year old. We also play some board games and occasionally watch a movie. In the fall/winter when it isn’t 115 degrees out I will take them to the park, but I often take them for bug hunts in the early morning hours with nets and containers to catch spiders, crickets, cicadas, beetles and occasionally lizards.
We all have lunch together as a family and dinner together as a family and most Saturday or Sunday nights we will rent a family movie to watch together. Twice a month we will go to see a family movie at the theater in the early Saturday morning or Friday evening hours.
On weekend nights my wife and I repeat the same schedule as weekdays where we work a little bit after the kids go to bed and then unwind in front of some TV together.
Somewhere in all of this hectic schedule I find time to workout 3 days a week for 30 minutes lifting weights, but I don’t work out enough to compensate for my eating habits. I need to have better portion control and work out more often.
This was basically an example of how my life runs, it is very methodic and clockwork for the most part, every day and weekend playing out the same. The exceptions are when we decide to take an improvised boat trip to the lake up north, or my wife and I have our family vacation and alone vacations a few times per year. During vacation time there is no work and we just try to enjoy time with each other as a family or alone (my wife and I).
I don’t know if this is the best home/work balance but this routine works for me as best as possible. My wife and I are both busy but we both have the luxury of working from home most of the time, so even when we are working we are in the vicinity of our kids and can keep tabs on them.