Another important lesson I learned in 2011 is to Make Family a Priority.
In 2011 I was reminded again for the need to make family a priority. Similar to yesterday’s post that I need to set my own agenda (before others do), making family a priority happens when I am committed to scheduling my family-time first.
Making family a priority is not easy for most people. For me, I am very driven and an extremely hard worker. Once I get my mind locked on something I work towards it and rarely stop. However, that can be harmful when I allow my dedication to my work creep in on the time I normally have scheduled for family.
For me I make family a priority by spending a minimum of one hour a day with my girlfriend. We often enjoy dinner together, go for walks, or just sit and talk on the couch. On weekends we spend more time together such as walking to the local Starbucks, enjoying a hike, or simply driving out of town. I also have a standing lunch appointment with my sister every Monday. We enjoy a quick lunch while we talk about what we have been up to and what is new. Even though my parents live over 3,000 miles away in Alaska, I usually call them or they call me a couple times a week to catch up (and to get the latest fishing report from my dad) and see what they are doing.
I know lots of people who have good intentions of making family a priority but the demands of their job and need to earn a living can sometimes nudge out that family time that is so important for a spouse and kids. It is very easy to justify coming home late and missing dinner for the sake of providing financially for the family. I am sure that is okay on occasion, but to have it become a habit where work takes priority over quality family time will be harmful long term.
Several times here on the Learning Leadership Blog I have written about the impact of the book, Choosing to Cheat on my life. It has probably been one of the three most impactful books I have ever read. This book by Andy Stanley is a great book for any busy leader to read about how anyone with a professional leadership job chooses to “cheat.” Either you cheat your job or you cheat your family because someone is going to get cheated when work and family collide. You can purchase the book here from Amazon.
Whatever your process is to make family a priority, be sure to find a way to make it happen. Too many people in the world come to the end of their life and regret that they did not spend more time with the family members they love.
Question: How do you make family a priority?