This tweet by Adam Grant is spot on.
Since we had our first son six years ago, I have time-blocked my day between professional and personal, so in the moments I was in one of those zones, I could singularly focus on being great not for everything in that moment, but for said singular focus. Clear lines.
Before the pandemic, my rhythm became working 4am – 5am, spending a couple of hours with family, heading to the office from 7am – 3pm, going home to help in the afternoons, and plugging back in after we got through the nighttime routine (usually to the tune of an hour worth of work, nothing that kept me up all night). We have always stuck to the bedtime routine, in large part since my business day was still rolling while simultaneously trying to be present at home.
But then the pandemic happened, and my then/now 4/6-year-old and 2/4-year-old were home with my wife and I…every day. All the sudden I wasn’t time-blocking hours of the day to focus on work vs. family, we were talking 30-minute increments, and when I had 7 minutes between virtual meetings, you can be sure I felt like I needed to give those 7 minutes to family to help my wife versus “make the next call.”
So, when our boys got into school September 2021, all the sudden I was back in that groove, where splitting my life in bigger time blocks was both doable and necessary – not just in the spirit of productivity, but also for the quality of time and focus I got to spend with my family when I was at home.
I’ve settled back into that similar pre-pandemic routine of 4am – 5am working, spending some time with the boys when they wake up, and then heading to the office from 7am – 2pm, at which point I leave for the pickup line, where I launch my hotspot and laptop (“oh, that’s why they call it a laptop!”) and work until my oldest comes out at 3:45pm. I spend the next hours present with my boys before cleaning up what work I need to after they go down (yes, we’ve kept the 6:30pm bedtime!), which again, feels like usually no more than an hour most days.
It sure helps that my teammates know my schedule and know they have as much of me as they need during the first 3/4 of the business day - they also know to not be firing off a bunch of 5pm emails to me expecting a quick response.
It’s this flexibility of how my work gets done, to allow me to be what I need both professionally and personally, that I am thankful.