Shifting Away from Career to Spend More Time with Family

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

SMART Goal Setting

The first thing you have to do is set goals for yourself for what you want your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly life to look like. These goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-boxed. Basically, you need to be able to reasonably act on and fulfill the goals you have set. So, it’s not feasible to go from not attending any of your kid’s soccer games to attending all the games and practiced. Taking such a large jump will most likely cause you to fall back into your old habits when you don’t reach your goal. It’s totally fine if you want to attend all your kid’s soccer games and practices, but take smaller steps. You will attend all tournament games and one practice a week for the first month, while you work out how this will affect your work. Then, once you’ve achieved that, you can increase your goal.

Authentic Communication

Now that you have your goals set, you need to tell people what you’re doing! Communicate your goals to everyone you trust that will be affected by them, your family, your team, your boss, etc. Work with them to put an actionable plan together that can help you achieve your goals. Not only will this let people know what you are trying to accomplish, but they can help hold you accountable when you waver.

Dividing Responsibilities

As you work to shift and realize your goals, remember that taking time off of work to be with family doesn’t mean that you can keep or increase your responsibilities at home or in your career. Make sure that you are splitting up your responsibilities at work and at home. Perhaps you wash up after meals and your partner cooks. At work, if you know a specific task is not your forte, see if a colleague who enjoys this type of work would like to take it on. The idea is to use your support network to help take the load off where it is too heavy or isn’t wanted so you can focus where you would like to be.

Lead, Don't Tell

Actions speak louder than words, especially as a leader. It is not enough for you to tell people what to do, you have to show them that it can be done and that you hold yourself to the same standards.

Great leaders do more than just dictate or delegate. They inspire others to become leaders in their own rights. They do this by first, not solving every problem for their team. Instead, they work with the individual or team to help them find the answer or solution to the problem.

Second, great leaders do not make themselves on the restrictions they put on their teams. If you as a leader leave early every Friday to attend your kid’s soccer game or make family time a designated “no work time” but do not make the same allowance for your team, no matter what you say to them, they will not look to you as a leader.

More Tools To Prioritize Your Family

  1. Interview with Senior Editor of Harvard Business Review, Alison Beard

  2. Interview with Co-Author of Parents Who Lead, Alyssa Westring

  3. How to be a Working Mom During COVID

  4. Accelerating Transformations

  5. Dividing Responsibilities

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