How to Disconnect in a Connected World: 3 Keys to Achieving Work/ Life Balance
Fabrice Dumans, Co-founder & CEO, Timyo
“My number one priority is my family.”
I would guess that nearly all of us have said the above or something like it. I know I have. I’ve also said something like the following:
“Our company is growing really fast, it’s great! Plenty of 15-hour days, but you’ve got to give 100%!”
I meant both things when I said them, or, at least, I thought I did. But if I was working non-stop for months on end...how was I prioritizing my family? I rationalized it the way that everyone does: “sure, I’m working really hard, but I’m doing it for them.” Putting insane hours and unlimited energy into work was something I was willing to do to make life better for my family, to build them a nicer life. The thing about a fulfilling life, though, is that it’s nice if there is a parent or a partner in it, not just some guy who comes home late at night and is back out the door early the next morning.
Certainly, some people in the world have to work endlessly to keep their families fed and clothed—and the jobs they are doing make anything that takes place behind a desk seem like a dream vacation.But past basic subsistence, the accumulation of wealth runs straight into diminishing returns and marginal utility. Billionaires aren’t thousands of times happier than millionaires. Making $500,000 a year doesn’t guarantee you five times the contentment of when you were “only” making $100,000.
What you trade to gain that extra wealth (time, family, relaxation) could actually be what really makes us happier. Too often, we trade away the real means of happiness in exchange for wealth, which we then plan on...buying happiness with? It’s a flawed equation.
Our culture disposes us to view hard work favorably. No one ever brags: “well, my company was a success because I was in the right place at the right time and I got really lucky. It wasn’t that hard.” We are taught to take pride in hard work, and to admire it in others—the more challenging the work and the longer the hours, the greater the admiration.And of course, hard work is necessary. But if your top priority really is your family, they will benefit much more from your presence than your presents.
Time is our most precious resource. Another common refrain: “I’m working so hard now so that I can enjoy time with my family later.” But your children will only be little once. As they grow, they’ll pass each milestone one time only. Be there for them at the time. Build the relationship from the get go...don’t try to swoop in twenty years too late and construct a meaningful connection upon a shallow foundation.
If your passion is the violin, how many thousands of hours do you dedicate toward mastering your craft? If your passion is truly your family, why would you spend any less? I owe my work/life balance to a very smart wife. Back when I was logging 60 hour weeks, she said: “There are 24 hours in a day. You could work during all of them. Work will expand to fill as much room as you give it. There will always be more work. There won’t always be more time.”
So, really, my advice would be to marry my wife, but luckily for me, she’s spoken for, so the following quick tips will have to do:
Think about what really matters to you. Act accordingly.
There’s a difference between being content and being happy. While being content isn’t necessarily a negative, the comfort of repetition and sticking to the way you’ve always done things could be the only thing holding you back from true happiness. Take some time to think about what really matters to you and the achievable steps you need to take. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by big lifestyle changes, but if you have reasonable markers along the way, it will all seem less daunting.
Remember: It doesn’t matter how much time you save, it matters what you do with it next.
Work isn’t the only thing that can get in the way of what’s important. Sure, sitting back and relaxing is necessary sometimes, but it can slowly and subtly take up a large amount of time. Make sure to utilize the time you have and avoid distractions that pull you away from what really matters.
Tackle challenges every day...but leave some for tomorrow!
Stay organized and figure out what needs to be completed today and what can wait until tomorrow. Keeping track of your daily tasks can help you see how much time you have on each day and let you schedule meetings accordingly. Take control of your own time. Only then can you achieve the perfect work/life balance.
About the Author
Fabrice Dumans is the founder and CEO at Timyo, and brings over 20 years of executive experience in the technology industry to his role. Having founded Timyo in 2013, Fabrice has now assembled a team of experts from all over the world to expand and perfect this revolutionary email platform.
Prior to Timyo, Fabrice served in business development positions at IBM and Checkpoint Systems, acquiring an extensive knowledge of the intricacies of building and running a successful business. Utilizing his prior experience, insight and leadership skills, Fabrice contributed to the growth of the French telecommunications cloud company, Prosodie, which was ultimately sold to Capgemini for $500 million in 2011.