This morning, my son woke me up, laptop in hand, and sat down on my bed. He had risen early to work on his essay for English. He wanted my help and figured that asking me early in the morning would be better than waiting until the evening when he was rushing off to lacrosse practice and I was distracted by email, phone calls, and getting dinner on the table.
I was bleary eyed but I gave my son a good 15 minutes of my undivided attention before the chaos of the day kicked in. It was the best 15 mintues I've had in a really long time. We worked together, uninterrupted by phone calls, and enjoyed creating sentences that read well. It was quality time that I haven't had with him in weeks. I've heard parents say how much they value quality time with their kids over quantity and this morning, that concept really kicked in for me.
I've listened as dozens of people have complained about long work hours, long commutes and not spending enough time with family. I understand the struggle for work life balance.
Most of the time work life balance is a big picture concept. But sometimes, just sometimes, it can be a small one, too.
My lesson this morning was simple: Learn to value the quality of the time you spend doing something over quantity. You can feel immensely satisfied getting in one good workout or having special time with your kids where you are fully engaged.
To most of us, work life balance is something we dream about. Blogger Amy Duffin calls it: "As valuable as a winning lottery ticket." She says, "achieving work life balance means that we would actually have the time to meet the expectations of our career AND have enough quality time for ourselves, our families and our hobbies so that we feel balanced."
Don't beat yourself if you aren't exercising enough or spending as many hours with your child as you would like during the weekdays. What good is an hour at the gym anyway if you spend most of the time on a work call?
I am a big believer that we have a large role in our own happiness, balance and success. It's easy to spend lots of time doing something that really isn't meaningful. It takes conscious decision making to spend quality time doing something that without interruptions that will bring you satisfaction. Work to develop this highly valuable skill –you can do it!
My nice interaction with my son set me up for a good mood all day. It almost made me want to wake up early again tomorrow. Almost.
Have you had a small moment lately when you realized that quality was more important than quantity in the work life balance equation?