6 Ways to Balance Evening Commitments With Family Life

Today we have a treat: a guest post by my colleague and fellow productivity blogger Mike St. Pierre.  He writes an excellent blog called The Daily Saint.  I highly recommend you check it out and subscribe to his feed.

All teachers can relate to THE FINAL WEEK.  It’s that week when your seniors graduate and then some.  There is usually a parents reception, Baccalaureate celebration and often a sports banquet- all of which occur at night. 

So how do you balance this with seeing the little ones at home or that spouse that misses you?

  1. Practice the two night rule.  I discovered years ago that when I am away from my family for two straight evening commitments, I wouldn’t see my kids for nearly three days.  This is difficult because it puts a lot of pressure on my wife and of course the munchkins are climbing the walls.  The two night rule says that you won’t attend two evening commitments in a row on any given week. 
  2. No surprises. Most spouses don’t like “calendar surprises” so read #3.
  3. Review calendar the week before.  Sitting down with your significant other to discuss the calendar is always a good idea.  Review your meetings and any special events that will pop up.
  4. Only attend what you must.  Are you a person that thinks you have to go to everything?  If you are the CEO, you might be right but for the other 99.9% of us, it’s worth stepping back and reflecting on commitments.  You could either not attend an evening commitment or you could trim it back by doing a “pop in”.  I work in a school and it’s impossible to go to every sports event so I check out a quarter or two and show my face. It’s putting forth a good faith effort and everyone appreciates it.
  5. Decide to live closer to work.  I realize that this isn’t possible for everyone but it does make a huge difference.  You’ll feel closer to loved ones and at the end of the event it makes a big difference to say on the phone, “Be home in ten minutes,” as opposed to “Pray for me in my hour of traffic”.
  6. If all else fails, reward yourself.  If you have a week where you absolutely must attend several grueling evening commitments, pamper yourself with a scheduled personal day.  Better yet, take your family away for a weekend of fun in the sun.  Having the carrot at the end of the stick is a great way to tolerate a killer week.


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