Submitted by Rick Steffens
One challenge that confronted me every day at work was determining what time to go home. I get great satisfaction from finishing a task and like to start every morning with a clean slate, but many days, when my meetings were over and it was time to go home, I found myself facing a backlog of action items.
At the same time, I felt a strong pull to get home and spend time with my wife and kids. To figure out where to draw the line and when to go home, I created a process so that I could defend my decisions to my kids, my wife, my boss, and most importantly, myself. Interestingly, in the end I never needed to defend them to anyone but myself.
Here's what I did. At the end of the day, if someone or something was pulling me to stay in the office, I would imagine sitting down with my kids and telling them why I'd needed to work late and miss out on spending time with them. If I felt good about that conversation, then I stayed and focused on the task. But way more often than not, imagining that conversation just didn’t feel right, so I went home.
On the occasions I did decide to work late to take care of something, I felt better about it because I knew that there had been many more times that I'd put work on the back burner to be with my family. This process enabled me to show my family that they were important to me, and to show them that work requires sacrifices sometimes too.