Gia Campari is one of the seven management consultants who have collaborated to co-author The 99 Essential Business Questions (published in September 2016 by Filament), and in this article he addressed the question that almost every parent faces, Family, Work, or Both?
At some stage of our lives, we all have to choose how much time we dedicate to work and how much to children, partner, family, friends or simply to ourselves. Numerous studies have shown that efficiency at work increases if we take breaks and have outside interests. New ideas and new ways of solving problems, so important in today’s conceptual economy, often come to us when we allow the problem to “gestate”, (in the words of Poincaré), while doing something completely different. It would make sense therefore, for employers – including ourselves if we are self employed – to require us to take breaks and spend time away from work!
That rarely happens so we need to take the matter into our own hands and find a solution that is best suited to our situation. Perhaps a few tips on what has worked for others and what questions we could be asking ourselves, may help us find that solution.
A few tips:
- Schedule activities and block out time in your diary to spend with children, family, etc. and treat it as you would a meeting with your most important client or shareholder – cancelling is not an option!
- Learn to say ‘No’ without feeling guilty. Take a course, read a book on the subject, ask someone who is already good at it.
- If you have to work late, take the work home instead and finish it after dinner when the children are asleep and your partner is watching TV. This ensures you have a family dinner and you can catch up on what has been happening in your family members’ lives that day.
- Pass your knowledge onto colleagues who could step in for you in an emergency. It should be common practice in organisations, but we know that common practice is often uncommon.
- Learn to delegate – a notoriously weakness of many people, not only managers!
- Ask for help. We instinctively want to help, but are much more reluctant to ask for help.
- Find a mentor who has succeeded in taking time for him or herself and ask for advice.
Questions you could be asking yourself to uncover the root of the problem:
- Am I a workaholic or do I just love my job? In either case, am I willing to sacrifice my relationships with my children, partners or friends?
- What do I really want from my relationships? Both at work and outside work? How much time am I willing to dedicate to them? Which are most important for me?
- How do I measure success? Is it in terms of my authority at work, my social status or the quality of my relationships?
- What would I like my legacy to be? Am I an influencer at work? How would I like to influence people who look up to me? How would I like my children to approach their work?
- Could I use a mentor or a coach? Do I look after myself as well as I look after others? Could I use some help or advice?
- Are my priorities consistent with my purpose in life? Do I know what my purpose in life is? Should I spend some time clarifying it? It would help me take the right decisions for me.
- What decision am I avoiding? Deep down, do I know what I have to do, but do not want to face up to it?
Finally, make sure that you believe that you will find the right solution for you and you will!
These are a few, of the many relevant questions, that can be found in “the 99 essential business questions” By Gia Campari, David Glassman, Michael Jeans, Patrick McHugh, David Peregrine-Jones, David Shannon, Benjamin Taylor. 99 Essential Business Questions is published by Filament Publishing and available in all good book shops and online priced at £15.00.