“Not right now honey!”
“Please! Let me get this done.”
“We will get a date night eventually.”
“I’ll play with you as soon as I finish this.”
“I don’t have time right now.”
Luckily, your spouse and children are resilient and will keep looking for ways to win your attention. If you’ve caught yourself saying any one of these phrases, or similar ones, you can count yourself among everyone else.
With so many demands in life, it’s hard to figure out how to balance your time. Being a good spouse, a good parent, a good sibling, a good neighbor, a good church member, a good citizen in the community, a good employee and a good friend can feel like an overwhelming amount of responsibility. Now, add to that all the other things in life, taking care of yourself physically, spiritually, emotionally, cleaning up the house, cooking your meals and staying on top of the chores — you wonder if making family time a priority is even possible.
Here are two ways that will help you make family time a priority:
Keep a family time budget
All of us do not have the same amount of money to budget; however, time makes us all equal. We all have the same amount of time regardless of what is in your bank account. You can manage your time and energy the same as the richest person on the planet. You are free to choose how to budget your time.
Matthew Toone, a wise business leader, explains how he is able to keep his family time high on the priority list. “Maybe it seems like an impersonal thing, but I budget time for my family. I know from 6:30-9:30 every night is my family time. Nothing is going to conflict with that. So even if I am working on an entrepreneurial venture or service in my church. . . there will be no phone calls, no emails — I will let nothing interfere with my family time.”
Sit down and talk with your family right now and set up a family time budget. All you have to do is set aside a specific time each day and protect it. Do not let anything touch your family time. Once you do this, you will be tested and it will seem as though everyone and everything wants to get in the way of that time. Do not let anyone touch it. Defend it and save it for your family.
Recognize the Time Thief
There is a tricky little devil running around that likes to steal your time. If you are not careful, you will look in the mirror and wonder who that old person is staring you back in the face. You can learn to recognize the Time Thief, boost productivity, fight him off and never wonder what happened to your life.
Anything that takes up your time and does not produce some kind of lasting benefit is an activity designed by the Time Thief. This could include countless hours on a video game or in front of the TV. It could include mindless browsing of social media sites or streaming media. The Time Thief will give you endless hours of entertainment for nothing.
Next time the Time Thief tries to lead you into a mind-numbing-pointless-waste-of-time trap, fight him off with productivity. Go on a walk with your spouse, go play with your kids, call your mom, call your dad — do something, anything with your family. The more you fight against the Time Thief, the more you will see family life improve. Here are some more ways to set priorities in your life.
You can make family time a priority. As you budget time for your loved ones and eliminate the Time Thief from your life, you will find greater satisfaction with life. You will be happier, and your family will be happier.
Dustin Wiggins is an optimist and entrepreneur. He owns Camistin Publishing, loves to learn and will often write about life lessons on his blog at www.LessonsOfWisdom.com. Follow him on twitter @_DustinWiggins or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.