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Let's look at an example:
Julie is a busy solo-entrepreneur running a web design business from home. She has an eleven year-old daughter, Sierra, who is days away from start of her summer vacation. Julie has signed Sierra up for summer day camps but she also wants to spend more time with her this summer.
She looks at her schedule. Mondays are usually set aside to start new projects or meet with prospects. Tuesdays and Thursdays she goes out to a yoga class after dinner. Wednesday are usually pretty light, with mornings set aside for medical appointments or grocery shopping. Thursdays vary - some weeks busy, others are dedicated to business planning and strategizing for her own business. Fridays are traditionally project end and launch days.
Julie looks for holes in her schedule and finds that some activities can be combined with time with her child. Sierra loves dancing so Julie trades her yoga classes for ballet lessons with Sierra. As she has a fair bit of flexibility with her Wednesday and Thursday schedules, Julie decides to shorten her work week for two months of year to free up Fridays to spend time with Sierra. From June 30th to September 1st, Thursday is project end date. She contacts another freelance web designer to arrange for emergency coverage on Fridays. Julie's clients are notified of summer hours and of additional coverage available on Fridays should any emergencies arise.
Mother and daughter sit down and start planning activities for their first long weekend and decide on a trip to water park. Now mom and daughter are both counting sleeps to weekend!
Remember: It doesn’t take much effort to make small changes in your routine to allow more time with your children. The time that you spend (or don't spend) with your child has lasting effects on their self-esteem and self-worth. Though it may at times be challenging to affect lasting change, it’s worth effort! After all, these are days that create lasting memories.
Dr. Charles Sophy currently serves as Medical Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. He also has a private psychiatry practice.
Dr. Charles Sophy, author of the “Keep ‘Em Off My Couch” blog, provides real simple answers for solving life’s biggest problems. To contact Dr. Sophy, visit his blog at http://drsophy.com.