Organise your work more effectively so you have more time in your personal life Photo: Thinkstock
1. Get out the door earlier.
Eric needs to be assertive about leaving the office at the end of the day. He should choose one day a week (let’s say Thursday) to leave on time. He’ll quickly notice that on Thursdays he’s more productive. He can nip long meetings in the bud by scheduling one that usually takes 45 minutes in a 30-minute slot. Everyone will cut back on chitchat to get through business in the allotted time.
2. Be disciplined about drudge work.
Household chores eat up a lot of potential quality family time. Eric should choose one night (when his daughter isn’t with him) to do these chores, so he has valuable dad-and-daughter time when she’s around.
I also suggest that Eric hire a housecleaner. He can keep doing light tasks himself, while outsourcing particularly time-intensive chores, like laundry and heavy cleaning (vacuuming, scrubbing bathrooms and kitchens), every other week, say.
3. Make the most of the weekends.
Eric wants more quality time with his daughter on weekdays, but he’d feel better even if he focused on reclaiming weekends. Making specific plans to get out and play is key. They can go to the park, throw a tea party, go bowling. The goal is to spend time with his daughter—not have her hang around while he works or cleans.
4. Clear the commute.
Eric’s drive to work is a big time waster. Sometimes getting in the car just ten minutes earlier or later than usual is all it takes to avoid the major traffic rush. Using a voice recorder to dictate ideas and to-dos or listening to audiobooks during the drive won’t save time, but it will at least make him feel that he’s not wasting it. And I think it would be wise for Eric to consider searching for a new job that’s closer to Denver—if not now, then sometime in the near future.
5. Give yourself a reality check.
Often, time management isn’t a matter of creating extra time but of changing your perspective. Eric says he’s always on the road or working, but when I look at his schedule, I see that he’s also exercising, going to temple, dating and seeing friends. He should remind himself that he doesn’t have to be the perfect dad—or mom, for that matter. He’s there for his daughter, and that makes him a terrific parent. In short, he’s already doing a great job managing his time and fitting good stuff in his life. Now all he needs to do is realize it!
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