Written by Dr. Daniel Kimbley
Despite recent trends in the US of more and more parents to be allowed to work from home, dads (and increasingly, moms alike) in the US are expected to work longer hours and take less time off of work. In 2017 Boston College designed a study that found more than 1 in 2 dads were expected to work more than 50 hours per week.
Obviously, the more time one works, the less time is spent with the kids, with a spouse, or generally doing things that bring work-life balance.
Work-life balance, some say, just isn’t possible. The argument goes “that in order to make money, you’ve got to ‘grind’ and spend time away from your kids. Delay your enjoyment and quality time with your family to build a legacy.”
Or the “Bro, you just gotta grind your first few years, your kids won’t remember those early days anyway”.
Unfortunately, none of that is true.
Deferring time with your family can never be made up in the future. So the question then becomes this:
If we are all expected to work more, for the sake of making more money, how do we maintain any semblance of work-family balance?
And while some are giving the terrible advice postponing family and enjoyment is just how it has to be, the truth is, there are a very specific set of things you can do to ensure productivity at work, quality time with your family and a quality of life worth living…without sacrificing family, sleep, or anything else you love.
- Find a morning routine and stick to it—it doesn’t have to be complex
- Morning routines are probably the single-most important strategy you can implement to become more productive inside of your daily life. I used to wake up when the alarm clock would go off only to snooze until the very last minute. Then, dangerously late, I would scramble around the house, showering, brushing my teeth, finding clothes, packing my gym bag, trying to get out the door before hitting traffic. Here’s what I’ve found, that strategy sucks. Not only is it stressful, but it’s unproductive, literally wasting an hour of my day just hitting snooze.
Here are a few tips for you to crush the day starting first thing in the morning:
- As soon as the alarm clock goes off, get up. You can say all day long that you can’t, I used to tell myself the same thing it was a lie I was telling myself. Now, my alarm clock goes off, I get out of bed, chug some water and I spend 10 minutes stretching while listening to a podcast to get my brain and body moving together. Don’t have time to listen to a whole podcast? iTunes has this special feature where you can listen to podcasts on 1.5x or 2x speed. Therefore, a 15 minute podcast now takes me less than 10 minutes. Try it. It’ll be a bit of a change at first, but I can assure you you’ll never listen again at regular speed.
- Chug as much water as you can. Preferably reverse osmosis or high pH alkaline water. For added benefit, squeeze a lemon slice and sprinkle a little pink Himalayan salt into that water. It’ll replenish some of your electrolytes you’ve lost while you’re sleeping. When else in your life do you go 8 full hours without drinking water? Your body, including your brain is 70% water. It’s a good idea to keep the system hydrated. Doing it as quickly as possible after you wake up will set you up for a day of success.
- Schedule your day like a CEO.
- In the movie Ocean’s Eleven, there’s a part in the movie where Matt Damon’s character is forced to follow around the hotel and casino tycoon Terry Benedict so that the team can memorize his schedule. Terry, is described as a machine. Someone who wakes the same time every day, reads the same paper, eats the same breakfast, meets with his wife, has meetings about his business, and eats dinner at the exact same time every day. His schedule is boiled down to nearly exact time frames never being late by more than a minute.
Now I’m not suggesting that you go to that extreme, but here are a few tips to begin scheduling your day like a boss so that you can stay as productive as possible.
- Set a schedule for ONLY two times throughout the day that you will check your emails. Some people like a noon and 4pm schedule. Whatever times you choose, stop checking your emails first thing in the morning. This sets you up to be reactive instead of proactive. Anything that’s in your email can wait. If it was a 9-1-1 emergency, you’d get a phone call. Save checking email until later so you’re not starting your day by trying to put out fires that will likely keep you from getting what’s really important done.
- Create a “DO NOT DO” list. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve found that creating a list of things that I absolutely refuse to do save me a TON of time and energy. Time and energy that is spent towards things that add lots of value to my life. Here’s an example: After we opened up our business, we had people walking into our office literally every day trying to network with me or even worse, sell me products that I knew nothing about. Yes, they were solicitors. Quickly, I realized that I spent so much time talking to these people, trying to be nice, that I never got anything accomplished. I implemented a policy that states I will NOT talk to anyone who walks into my office to have a conversation about business. We set it up so they have to send an email, explain exact time frame that they need, exactly what they want to talk about, and when a good time is for them. By creating a do not do list, I’ve literally saved hours of wasted time. It may sound harsh, but it works so well. I just politely tell them it’s a policy I have. If they don’t follow policy, they don’t get to talk to me…and guess what…I have more time that can be spent with my wife, at home rather than on things that are outside of my core values.
- Put your phone on airplane mode when you’re trying to get stuff done. No access to internet, no notifications, no distractions so you can get more done. This simple trick when I’m writing saves me at least 2 hours per week.
- Use screen time app to track cell phone use. I’ve talked about this one before. Go into your phone’s battery settings and look and see how much battery you’ve used towards your social media applications. Now take it a step further and click the “Show Activity” button to the right of the screen. It shows you exactly how much time you’ve spent on social media. Just in case you’re curious, I’ve spent 9 hours on social media over the last 10 days. That’s nearly an hour per day. I’ve literally wasted an entire work day NOT being productive.
- Ensure the system that controls every function of every cell, tissue and organ in your body is operating at 100%.
- Everything I’ve shared so far has been strategy and tactical. Here’s the problem: if you only have strategies and no system to operate those strategies from then none of it will get you the desired result. Imagine for a moment you’re building a home and you decide to hire the absolute best contractors and builders to build your dream home. You spend extra time, extra money and extra energy making sure they are the best. And then because you’ve spent so much money on the builders, you buy the cheapest building materials possible. Rotten wood, nearly broken bricks, and overstock flooring that will only last a year. How long do you think the home will last? Investing in the best builders does you absolutely no good if you don’t have the foundation for those builders to use. The same is true for your body, you can try every strategy I’ve listed here, you can try every hack you’ve read in every book. None of them will work the way you expect them to if you don’t upgrade your body’s capacity to handle and actually USE those strategies. This is where your nervous system comes in.
Here’s what you need to know:
Your brain, which is stimulated by proper movement of your spine, is responsible for your ability to have more willpower, more self-control, better decision making, and more motivation. It is critical to have a strategy and process in place that allows your brain the most capacity possible to implement the tips I’ve mentioned here or any others that you’ve seen other gurus list out.
One of our clients, a high-level entrepreneur started coming to see us about two months ago. What he found very quickly was that being under care as a part of his healthy lifestyle has completely changed the game for him inside of his business and his relationship with his girlfriend. He used to be constantly stuck in work mode. He felt no balance in his life and when he was spending time with his girlfriend he didn’t have the control to be able to shut off his thoughts about work.
Now, after just over two months, he’s reporting more energy and focus so he’s getting more work done faster. He feels like he now has a switch that allows him to shut off work mode and be a more present boyfriend and supportive to his queen. All because he realized that having a successful business means nothing if he was burning his relationships to the ground.
Now, because of the care we provide in our office, and some of the strategies I’ve listed above, he literally has it all. Killer business, beautiful and fulfilling relationship, and more focus, presence, clarity and productivity.
Work-life balance doesn’t have to be a challenge. Implementing a morning routine, using technology to keep you in check, and scheduling your day like a boss will certainly help you be more productive so that you can be more present with your family. My question to you is this: how is your nervous system working to allow for full implementation of those productivity hacks? And more importantly, how do you know?
There’s only one way to know, and that’s to click “Request Appointment” at the top of this page or call us.
- Deferring time with family for the sake of making more money one day, some day, is time that we can never get back. Instead of deferring quality time, why not ensure that we are more productive and as on point as possible by ensuring a healthy nervous system?
- Having strategies or hacks, without the capacity to carry out those hacks will leave you seeking out more.
- Without a specific plan and proven process to stimulate your brain, results will always come slower than they could or should.
- Full, consistent implementation of strategy and tactics (regardless of what those strategies and tactics are) can only come with increased brain capacity.