(Today’s guest post comes to us from Emma Jones, whose father was a physician and knows first-hand the importance of busy professionals making time for their family.)
Everyone has unique responsibilities and commitments, and finding the time to prioritize family amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life can often feel like a daunting task. Growing up with a physician parent, I understand the demands and time constraints of a busy and demanding career. My father often worked long hours and had limited time outside of work. But, despite his busy schedule, he made a consistent effort to make time for our family. He constantly proved that there are ways to make time for family when you’re busy with work.
As an adult with my kids now, I fully appreciate how difficult it is to juggle a career and parenthood, even with a much less demanding job than a medical one. That’s why I’ve reached out to my dad and had a long talk about how he could achieve that perfect balance between work and family life. And you’ll see that, with a bit of planning and effort, it’s possible to strike this balance and not have to sacrifice fun for work. But first, let’s dive into why spending quality family time benefits everyone.
Why is it essential to make time for family even when busy with work?
Growing up with a busy physician parent, I learned the true meaning and importance. As a child, I often felt the weight of my parents’ busy schedule and the limited time we had together. But, I realized that our time was precious because of its scarcity. It taught me that it’s not the quantity of time spent together, but the quality that matters most.
Those few hours we spent as a family impacted my life and helped shape the person I am today. They were the moments when I felt truly loved, supported, and understood. Quality family time is not just about having fun and creating memories. It’s about nourishing relationships, connecting with our loved ones, and finding support and understanding when we need it most.
The importance of quality family time
Making time for our family is crucial for our overall well-being and happiness. Not only do our loved ones provide us with emotional support and a sense of belonging, but investing time in our relationships with them can have several positive effects on our families and us.
On the other hand, not nurturing your family relationships can have adverse effects. It could not only feel stressful and overwhelming, but it could also cause unhappiness at work. So I’ve done a little digging, and here are the key reasons why it’s crucial to make time for our family:
- Strong family relationships help build a sense of security and belonging because, after all, family is the foundation we build.
- Family time can improve mental and emotional health. Studies have shown that people with strong family ties have lower rates of depression, anxiety, and stress. Spending quality time with our loved ones can also help us to feel more connected, valued, and appreciated.
- Investing in family relationships can have a positive impact on children. Children who grow up in stable and supportive families are more likely to be emotionally healthy and to do well in school.
- Family time is an excellent opportunity for intergenerational bonding. Spending time with our loved ones of different ages allows for different perspectives and experiences to be shared and helps to bond family members of different generations.
- Quality time with family helps to strengthen the bond and create memories. These shared experiences, whether big or small, can serve as a foundation for a lifetime of happy memories.
Being busy with work doesn’t mean you can’t make time for your family
Growing up with a physician parent, I understand the demands and time constraints. Now that I have a demanding career, I can fully appreciate all the sacrifices my dad had to make.
My dad, like many of their colleagues, often struggles to find the balance between his work and family life. But despite his busy schedule, he was always able to prove that you can make time for your family when you’re busy with work. Here are his three golden rules for successfully balancing his work and family life.
#1 Set your priorities
One of the most critical steps in finding balance is setting priorities. As a physician, my dad tended to want to do it all, but he simply couldn’t. Therefore, he advises that you must be willing to make difficult decisions and let go of some responsibilities at work and home. That’s the only way to free up time for your family without experiencing burnout or having your family or work suffer the consequences.
That might mean saying no to a patient referral or passing on a committee meeting that isn’t critical to the practice to make room for a family dinner or a child’s school event. It was all about finding the right balance for my dad and our family and being willing to make adjustments as necessary.
#2 Force open and honest communication
Effective communication is crucial in any relationship, and it’s essential in balancing the demands of a busy career with family life. That means discussing your schedules with your family and finding a way to make the most of your time together.
For example, my dad used to make a weekly schedule where he would set aside dedicated time for us. That could have been a quick dinner before work or a weekend camping trip, but my dad made it a point to set our expectations and fulfill his promises. My dad says his weekly schedule helped him stay fully present during family time and not allow the constant stream of work-related thoughts to consume him.
Therefore, his advice is to stay open and honest with your kids. For instance, if you are planning a family move and not sure how to tell them, don’t procrastinate or lie to your kids. Instead, research ways to break the news to them and have an honest conversation as soon as possible. Involving your kids will make them feel important and heard.
#3 Make time for self-care
Lastly, self-care was a critical aspect my dad made time for despite his busy schedule, whether by setting aside five minutes to express gratitude for things he was most thankful for or going on a morning fishing trip. It helped him handle the demands of work and family and showed me the importance of taking care of oneself.
I remember my parent making time for a run in the morning or yoga in the evening. After talking to him, I realized it was more than a way to keep fit. It was also a way for him to clear his mind and refresh his energy. On top of that, you’ll be more patient, energized, and able to give your best to your patients/clients and their loved ones.
He also says finding time for hobbies, reading, or watching a favorite series is crucial. That will help you switch off from work and focus on something that brings you joy. Remember, self-care is not selfish but essential to maintaining balance and well-being.
Growing up with a busy doctor for a dad taught me the importance of balancing work and family and the value of making time for loved ones. As a child, I didn’t always understand the sacrifices my father had to make to provide for our family and care for their patients. But as an adult, I now see the impact that my parent’s efforts made on our family. And he did that while saving lives only makes me more proud.
The memories we made together, the support and love we gave each other, and the understanding we had for each other’s lives and struggles made me appreciate my parent’s dedication and effort. I learned that having a successful career and a loving family is possible if you learn to make time for your family when you’re busy with work. It’s a lesson I will carry with me for the rest of my life and will strive to emulate in my life and relationships. I hope the friendly advice I’ve shared from my dad helps you do the same.