Reflecting on priorities of family & work
I hope I don’t come across as that dad who would love nothing more than to spend every waking hour with my kids. It will be tested this weekend, as we all have a 4 day weekend – thanks to the very generous holiday policy of my organization. I do enjoy spending lots of time with my kids and think they are at a fun age; truth be told, I’ve been saying that for 4 years now. But there is someone I enjoy spending time with just as much and sometimes more – me. You see, I’m an introvert. I read a book once that told me that being an introvert was an advantage, but I’m not sold.
Myers-Briggs classifies me as an INTJ – Introvert, INtuitive, Thinking, Judging. In relation to this topic, that means socializing and participating meaningfully in large groups, such as meetings at work, is a challenge and takes extra effort and energy. That energy spent at work impacts the quality and quantity of the time I can tolerate my kids without going crazy.
The (tk) amount of time I can spend with my kids and not go crazy is not a fixed number. In fact, it’s a relatively complicated algorithm the likes of which Google would be jealous of. The factors that go into the equation include:
I think the equation looks something like this, but it’s been about 20 years since I’ve done calculus.
tk = f(w(s+n)me+ bac)/i
When I have days at work with lots of time on such as facilitating or participating in strategic meetings, it’s much more of a challenge for me to be on at home. Sometimes I just need to collapse on the couch and watch TV. My wife can tell how intense my day was by the amount of conversation (or the lack thereof) I engage in with her when we’re both done with our work day. One of the biggest factors outside of what I’m doing at work, is the amount of “me time” I’ve had in the recent past.
(Picture via http://www.oddlysaid.com)
Time away from my family makes me a better father and husband. I don’t require loads of time – an hour at the gym, an hour-long nap on weekends, a guys weekend a couple of times a year, et. al. Nothing crazy. Cooking dinner is actually a great strategy I’ve developed in order to have me time. It’s just me with knives, pots, pans, food, and usually a glass of wine or a beer. I can let my mind wander and recharge my extrovert reserves as I prepare the meal in order to have the self-control to not hurl said pots and pans at my kids when they start to fight over the inanest of things and enjoy or time together.
It’s hard to predict the number of interactions my introverted self will have at work, but I can plan things for just me to help keep me sane. Not only is this time not selfish, but it’s a requirement to be a great dad. Knowing my personality type and being aware of triggers, helps me to adapt and transition from work time to family time. What do you do for me time? How does your personality type impact your prioritization of work and family?