August 27, 2019

Being a working dad is hard, especially if you’re a first-time dad. When you throw in changing dirty diapers with mowing the lawn, changing the oil in your car, and making it to work on time, you end up living in a whirlwind of chaos.

But what if you knew how to balance work and family in a way that helped you not only be a better father but also helped you excel in your career?

Here at High Speed Daddy, we know a thing or two about being successful, working dads. We’ve also come to discover that the more we succeed in our role as dads, the better we perform at work and vice versa.

Even the University of Wisconsin-Madison backs this belief. Recent psychological research from the school shows that being heavily involved in the roles of a parent and worker brings about numerous mental and physical health benefits. When we do extremely well in one role, it helps mitigate the negative stress of when we don't live up to our fullest potential in another role.

All in all, when working dads learn how to balance work and family, the benefits spill out into all parts of life. Here are a few tips we’ve put into action that have truly helped us learn how to balance work and family. 

Use the Calendar App on Your Smartphone

It probably sounds a bit odd, but scheduling time for your family is a great way to actually “show up” more frequently than you are now. Sure, your calendar is probably already jam-packed with work meetings and appointments, but you have to make scheduling time for your family a top priority.

Imagine looking at your calendar for the month and seeing 10 different spots marked off for family time. On the 4th you have a playdate with your daughter. On the 8th, you get to go watch your son play his first tee-ball game, and then on the 12th, you’ve got a romantic evening planned with your wife.

Scheduling time for your family will put a huge smile on your face, and you no longer have to fret about not spending enough time with them. You can face each day with less stress knowing you’re kicking ass in knowing how to balance work and family time. 

Talk to Your Boss

Researchers from the University of Maryland conducted a study and discovered that "long hours at work increase work-family conflict and that this conflict is in turn related to depression and other stress-related health problems."

Employers don't want their employees depressed and stressed. In fact, they want them energetic and healthy, and this is why you should negotiate with your boss for more work flexibility.

Are there certain parts of your job that you can do at home? Can you leave early on a certain day? Let's say your son has baseball practice every Tuesday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Perhaps you can take off work early every Tuesday to take him to practice.

Negotiating more flexible work hours and getting to spend more time with your family will lead to a number of benefits, including:

  • Better ability to make it to your kids’ extracurricular activities
  • Reduce the cost of child care (financial boost!)
  • Less stress and anxiety as a dad
  • Less chaos during the evening time
  • Stronger parent-child relationship

Put Those Screens Away

You have 168 hours each week. If you spend 45 of those at work and 50 of them sleeping, this leaves you 73 hours of free time. Did you know the average person spends 3 hours and 48 minutes a day looking at their phone, tablet or computer? Even more astonishing, the average person spends a whopping 4 hours and 46 minutes a day watching TV. That's insane! That means out of 73 hours of free time, the average person spends close to 63 hours watching TV or looking at a screen.

When it comes to knowing how to balance work and family, you have to put those screens away for a little bit each day. You probably have a rule that outlines how much screen time your kids can have each day, but what you really need to do is set a screen time rule for yourself.

Instead of surfing the web and Facebook for an hour each night before you fall asleep, why not spend that hour talking or laughing with your kids? You can spend this time asking the kids about school and whether or not they need any new school supplies, like a new camo backpack or pack of highlighters. You can even devote this time to helping your kids with their homework.

Spending this extra time with the kids not only helps you build better relationships with your children, but putting your phone away an hour before bed is known to improve your body's circadian rhythm, meaning you can sleep better. With a better night of sleep comes more energy during the morning time, which is crucial to keeping chaotic mornings under control and feeling better at work.

Final Thoughts

The three tips outlined above for knowing how to balance work and family as a working dad are tips we’ve put into action and found much success with. Do you have any tips for balancing work and family as a working dad? If so, make sure to leave them in the comments section below. 

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