Written by: Philip Wride, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
In my research about people’s desires and their future visions, which I did for my book ‘Finally Find Freedom’, the most common response I received was about the desire to spend more time with family.
The relationships in our lives are important and we are a social species so that connection to others is what can fuel us to get through each day. Family are often the closest and strongest relationships we have so spending time with them can have a powerful impact on our wellbeing. Although Time is one of the 12 chains I talk about in the book my goal for this article is to provide you with 4 tips on how you can have more time with family.
I’ve also structured the tips from “easiest” to “hardest” to implement based on whether they involve you or other people.
Tip No1. Manage your conveniences
Convenience is all around us. We can get food and other goods delivered with the click of a button. We have “all you can eat” streaming platforms like Netflix. Videogames can take us 100 hours to complete. The world of sports has become a place where there is always a story, rerun or talk show.
If we want to spend more time with family we need to become better at managing our conveniences.
One less episode on Netflix gives us back 45 minutes.
One less videogame session could give us back 3 hours.
The convenient things in your life might be different from mine but they will exist. The things you default to when you want to unwind or relax. Growing up playing video games meant this was always my “go to” when I wanted a break from other tasks or to focus on something different. Now I’m making a conscious effort to play less so that I have more time for other things.
When I work with clients, and in the book, I present an exercise of keeping an activity log for 3 weeks and writing down all the activities and how much time was spent on them. This enables us to start seeing patterns for each day, when we fall into the trap of convenience, and how much time we spend on those conveniences.
Once we have a clear picture of how we are using our time it becomes easier to start making changes and freeing up time to spend with family.
Tip No 2. Manage your relationships
This next tip is about the relationships we have in our lives. Not all relationships are equal, and some relationships may be negative. There may be people who you don’t enjoy spending time with or who frustrate you.
I’ve been in these situations with friends of friends, work colleagues and people at conferences. The world isn’t built in a way where every connection we make is a positive one – we have different values, views on life, experiences and so on.
Once we identify the negative relationships and connections we can choose whether we maintain them, or work to distance ourselves. Distancing ourselves means we spend less time with those people and in doing so we free up time we can spend with family.
Let us go through a quick example. There’s a person in the office who frustrates you and has a negative attitude. You don’t enjoy spending time with them, but they are the person who always organises the after-work drinks. You have a choice – go to the drinks session after work and spend your time close to this person or don’t go to the drinks and instead spend time with family.
This might sound harsh but think of the situation like a weighing scale, we have to weigh up whether time with the work colleague who drains us is more important and heavier than the alternative, which could be family. If family is more important they will tip the weighing scales and it shouldn’t be too hard of a decision. Like anything, it comes down to a simple choice.
Tip No 3. Identify your negative responsibilities
There are two types of responsibilities; those we want and willingly take on, and those given to us by other people.
The first type of responsibility means we spend our time on things we deem important. It could be coaching our child’s sports team, cleaning the house, or booking date night.
The second type of responsibility is where the frustration comes from. We are given responsibilities that we don’t want and then feel like we are wasting our time because we would rather be doing something else.
If we can identify the responsibilities given to us by other people, the negative ones that we don’t want, we can begin to explore ways to hand those responsibilities back. In some cases, it may be as simple as telling everyone involved that you wish to spend your time differently and that you are no longer able to complete that responsibility. Other situations and conversations may be a little tougher, but the key point is about first identifying the responsibilities where we feel like we are wasting our time.
Tip No 4. Question other people’s priorities
There are also two types of priorities; our priorities, and other people’s. The problem with other people’s priorities is that they will often try to make them our priorities. Like the boss asking for a report before the end of the day just as we were about to leave the office. The report is their priority and not ours, but the boss is hoping it becomes our priority and we get it done.
If spending time with family is a priority for you then it should be at the top of your list. Everything else will come in under that top priority.
In this example of the boss asking for a report, we can respond by seeking clarification of where this new request fits in with everything else we have going on, or tell them when we can get to their request.
I love the situations when I get asked “when can you do this by?” because it enables me to set clear boundaries and expectations. I now have the power to choose whether I prioritise the request or whether I give a date and time in the future so that I can focus on my priorities.
Each situation is different and there may be times when we do have to adjust our list of priorities. If we can keep the mindset that we know other people are trying to override our priorities, we can manage the situations more effectively.
Throughout this article, my goal has been to help you identify where there are opportunities to free up time so that you can spend it with family. Some of the actions you take and the conversations you have will be straightforward while others may be a bit tougher but like anything in life, a change of action first starts with a change of thought.
And if you want to learn more about the 12 Chains that hold us back in life and the steps you can take to break them you can find my book “Finally Find Freedom” here on Amazon.
Philip Wride, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Philip Wride specialises in personal development and helping people identify and break the invisible chains holding them back so they can find more freedom in life and business. After breaking his neck playing sport at the start of 2020 and not being able to afford surgery, struggling to keep his business alive during COVID lockdowns, and starting a personal development journey in 2021 he has since launched a book, podcast and membership community focused on helping others. Philip is the host of the Unchained – Finally Find Freedom podcast, creator of the 12 chains framework, the Freedom Hunters Club, and the Chained To Champion challenge.