dadworking

Reflecting on priorities of family & work

Connected < Connectedness <3

Last Wednesday, I was working at home and had back-to-back conference calls from 3-5PM.  My kids get home from school around 3:20 and I always try to hang with them for at least 15 minutes when they first get home – no computer, no phone. This day, it was not possible. I gave our family “do not disturb” signal by closing the office door. It didn’t stop my daughter from peaking her head in, but after a quick wave and smile from me she shut the door and left me alone.

Being connected means being accessible to anyone and everyone, anytime and anywhere. Being connected, though, often conflicts with connectedness – the deepening of a relationship with someone.

crackberryBeing connected via my phone for emails (and my turn at Scrabble) was becoming overly habitual (remember Crackberries?) and was getting in the way of connectedness with my kids. I just couldn’t muster the fortitude to stop; so at times, I just disable email from my phone (personal and professional). Its analogous to having my stomach stapled instead of eating right, but it does the trick for me and is far less invasive than getting a lap-band. (image via http://www.webpronews)

Being present in the moment and showing my kids that nothing else matters is an important step in fostering our connectedness. Certainly there are times when something at work is going on that I must attend to when with my kids (i.e. my back-to-back conference calls or a last minute call with a client). My kids understand when there are exceptions to the norm, as long as I create and maintain the norms that are right for me and our family.

I worked hard to find an organization and a position that allows me to define and aligns with my own professional parameters and communicate those clearly to those I work with. As I maintain consistency, my colleagues adapt and have told me they appreciate me for it. I have a supportive supervisor and work at an organization that respects and encourages the boundary of work and family as long as you get the job done and done well.

Here are a few rules I try to follow to help facilitate connectedness(with about a 90% success rate):

  1. No multi-tasking. I don’t care what the research says, I can multi-task. I just try not to do it with my kids. No phone or computer when my kids get home from school for at least 15 minutes. No phone or computer during dinner. Our 30 minutes or so at dinner is sacred time and I don’t remember the last time I looked at my phone during dinner time. I also hope I’m modeling behaviors for my kids as future users of hand-held technology.
  2. I rarely work evenings, weekends, or holidays. I turn my email off on my phone on weekends, holidays, and vacations. This requires an intense focus during work hours, especially when working from home.
  3. I start working at 5:30AM. It  happens to be my most productive time and if there was something I needed to do at night it’s done before any sane human-being wakes up. Also, if I have the opportunity to pick my kids up from school, take them to after school activities, or just hang out with them at home, I’ve still put in a 9-10 hour day.

There is one instance I can think of when being connected enhances connectedness with my kids – Facetime when I travel. Work travel and family is a whole other blog for the future.

What do you do to maximize connectedness with your kids?

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This entry was posted on February 9, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .
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