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How the Smart Dad Works Less and Gets More Done

Are you one of those people that find it easy to get things done?

High productivity comes second nature to you, the weekend is yours to enjoy with your family and the idea of a 60hr working week is quite frankly ludicrous.

If so, kudos to you. However, you are a rare breed.

As most work from home dads can testify, productivity is a constant battle. Getting things done is directly correlated to the amount of hours you put in.

Or so you would believe.

In fact that view is the wrong way around. And those boffins at Stanford have the data to back it up.

A 2014 study found that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours.

Take that further and clock in over 55 hours and you may as well shut up shop.

Productivity drops so much at that level it is a borderline crime to still be working.

A dad that has worked 75 hours in a week will have achieved just as much as one that worked 55 hours.

That’s almost an extra day you could have spent with your kids.

As William Penn once said:

Exactly!

What the smart dad does

The smart dad realizes the importance of downing tools once productivity starts to decline.

He ensures that his free time is spent wisely with loved ones (or if possible some ‘me’ time) in order to relax and rejuvenate with fun activities.

The time away from work is used to freshen the mind so that the week ahead can be tackled with positivity.

In short, by the time you return to work, you cannot wait to get started.

How you can be a smart dad too

To disconnect from work is hard. No one is disputing that.

It becomes even more difficult if you run your own business, or there are important deadlines to meet with your employer.

However, we can all learn new habits.

The following steps will help you find the balance during your free time so that when you return to work you are a productivity machine.

1. Disconnect

The first step to maximizing your free time is to disconnect from work completely.

That means removing yourself from the electronic noose too.

If you’re using your phone to check your emails throughout the weekend, or are available to take work calls during your ‘time off’, you are not fully relaxing.

Even thinking about a work issue exposes you to the underlying stressors that prevent you from refocusing and recharging.

Time away from your desk should be lived in the moment.

For a smart dad that generally means quality time with the family.

And for those that dismiss this advice with thoughts that to completely disconnect from work is unrealistic; there are ways to buffer yourself, whatever your line of business.

All of us should be able to designate 30 minutes in the day to check e-mails and respond to any voicemails.

This can be done at a convenient time when the family is occupied and you won’t be missed.

Scheduling a short block of time will reduce your stress levels without sacrificing your availability to either your work commitments or your family.

2. Minimize the chores

Us parents have far too many chores to fill up all the time outside of work.

The important issue here is to not let them take over completely.

You do that and you’ve just gone and given yourself a 7-day work week. Not good.

To prevent falling into that particular rut, you should tackle your chores as you would your work schedule.

Allocate a set amount of time to get things done, (prioritizing the must-do jobs first) and whatever chores remain, leave them for another time.

Life is way too short to be dealing with such nonsense. And your kids grow up way too fast.

As a big fan of the gig economy, I am happy to pay others to do tasks that I know I am useless at anyway.

Time with the family is more than worth the money.

3. Wake up at the same time

Try not to sleep in on your days off.

While it may be tempting to catch up on shut-eye, having an inconsistent wake-up time is a real jolt to the circadian rhythm.

In order for you to wake up rested and refreshed, your body goes through a number of sleep phases throughout the night.

Disturb this rhythm by attaching an extra 3 hours sleep to your morning, and you will often wake up feeling groggy and tired. (Too much sleep gives me sea-legs, as if I’ve been on a boat all night).

And besides, that’s an extra 3 hours you could have spent having breakfast with the family, doing some exercises or heading out to enjoy the morning sunshine, (I’m painting a pretty picture here, but you get the sentiment).

If you feel the need to catch up on sleep, you should go to bed slightly earlier.

The most you’re likely to miss out on is another binge episode of some Netflix series (it’s on demand – it can wait!), and your body is less likely to fall out of its rhythm by the time the alarm shrills.

4. Spend quality time with family

We’ve covered it a couple of times throughout this article, however it is so vital it needs its own section so I can drive the message home.

All work and no play makes Jack a dumb dad.

And we’re all smart dads here.

Spending quality time with your family during your time off is essential if you want to recharge and relax.

Do not let work sabotage your weekend with your family. You need to be strong. Only emergency situations should get in the way of your family time.

Again, you need to be present in the moment.

It’s no good being there physically if your mind is away thinking about work issues.

Free yourself from the grind by doing fun things with your children. Plan a day out, take them to the pool or park.

Create some memories.

5. Exercise

Exercise is a fantastic way to remove yourself from the stresses of work.

Shifting gear and getting your body active for as little as 10 minutes will lead to a healthy release of GABA, a soothing neurotransmitter that reduces stress.

So even if you are not exercising as part of a routine to stay healthy or lose weight, there’s good to be gained.

Whether you’re jogging, swimming or merely outside tinkering in the garden, exercise is a great way to allow yourself time to think introspectively and to come up with ideas.

Innovators and other successful people know that being active outdoors, enjoying fresh air and being lost in the rhythm of their activity can lead to sparks of creativity.

Experiment; find a physical activity that gives you space to think and make that part of your non-work routine.

It will help you disconnect and you will feel a whole lot better for it.

6. Don’t forget about your partner

It is important to remember that you are a husband and partner as well as a dad.

It is not a stretch to suggest that if your home life is happy, your work life has a better chance of being good too.

With the demands of looking after children, running a business or having a high pressure job, for both parties in a relationship finding time to be there for each other can often slip down the list of priorities.

Try not to let this happen.

Organize a baby sitter so you can both go out and enjoy a meal, see a play or simply get drunk together.

Whatever makes you happy.

It is all about making the most of your free time. A fulfilling home life will raise your mood and make you all the more productive when it is time to get back to work.

7. Prepare for the upcoming week

Finally, the smart dad uses a little of his free time to plan for the week ahead.

Just 30 minutes of planning can reap huge benefits in productivity levels and reducing stress.

Work feels a lot less daunting if you tackle it with a plan. This leaves you to focus on the execution and nothing more.

Are you a smart dad? Do you have any comments about maximizing your free time so that everything else falls into place? Or maybe some questions? If so, you know where to leave them. I’d love to hear from you…

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