“Cats in the Cradle”..Are you achieving work/life balance?
If, like me ,you have young children growing up fast you often wonder about finding the perfect work-family balance.
Life is all about having the right balance and that fact was brought home to me in no uncertain manner by a man I met recently.
His name is Paddy and he told me he had so much fun with his four children, who range in age up to 18 years old.
He told me about a song he had heard years ago when they were young that always stuck with him.
It was called ‘Cats in the Cradle’ by Harrry Chapin and became a huge hit worldwide in 1974. And no wonder as it’s about a young boy craving for his Dad’s attention when he is young.
“And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon,
When u coming home Dad?
I don’t know when but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then”
(Then a little later)
“My son turned 10 just the other day,
He said thanks for the ball dad come on let’s play,
Can u teach me to throw, u said not today
I got a lot to do, he said ..that’s ok…..”
I met Paddy after deciding to take some ‘Time out.’ I went on a retreat to Glenstall Abbey and it proved to be a life changing experience for me.
There is nobody pushing any religious agenda there; it’s more a spiritual journey. I was simply taking some time out to reflect on my life…reflecting on my values …Taking stock of my life.
There was no phone signal where I was staying and that took a bit of time to get used to when I first arrived as I’m constantly looking up the internet, checking emails and social media etc.
They have a lovely quiet guest house at Glenstall which is perfect for some timeout… I knew I had arrived at the right place
- No meetings to go to
- No deadlines to meet
- Just me, myself and I.
It’s a bit daunting when you first arrive but I soon began to really enjoy the peaceful moments…going for long walks in the beautiful gardens…listening to the lovely Gregorian chanting from the Benedictine monks at the various services during the day…opening a book I had being planning to read for a long time…Thinking about my life and how grateful I am for all the good things that I have in that life
Work life balance
Lots of us are leading very busy lives; we want to work hard so that we can provide for our families now and into the future…and that’s ok…However it’s very important that we find a proper work-life balance which means something different for every individual … Are you working smart?
Well here are a few points to consider
Technology has had a very positive impact on our lives in many ways. But it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. The work day never seems to end from first thing when you wake up till just before you go to bed…We are constantly in ‘on’ mode…So it’s important to switch off for family times in the evening, your kids soccer game so you can live in the moment, your day off /weekend off…etc.
2. Review your habits.
Success is largely a bunch of habits we do every day/week/month…Ask yourself: “Have you developed habits that are taking you away from your long-term goals?”
If so you must review these and make the necessary changes. A bad habit takes approximately 30 days to change and you must be passionate about making that change or it won’t happen.
Exercise is a proven stress reducer… it pumps feel-good endorphins into your body. Are you getting enough exercise?
You may say you don’t have time. However maybe you can review your sleep patterns and get this done early in the morning. You will definitely feel better during the day and will work more productively.
Exercise can also mean meditation or yogi…It’s about relaxing the mind to allow those feel good emotions come in.
4. Limit time wasting activities.
You must first look at what’s important in your life. This is different for everyone. It must reflect your priorities and not somebody else’s. Then you need to have strong boundaries around these priorities so you can devote quality time to these.
5. Start small
If you’re trying to change something in your life, start small and build from there.
Success is about a large combination of small little successes building up over time into big ones…You can’t run a marathon with one week training.
If you are passionate enough to make positive work-life balance changes, then a great book to read is Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people.’
Feeling good doesn’t just happen. Living a life in balance means taking some ‘Think Time’ for yourself so you allow the necessary time to renew yourself.
And remember, you deserve it. And so does your family.