Three reasons why I choose to take my work home with me

We all face a work / life balance. We’re all tipping the scale in one direction or another. I often read articles instructing me to “take my life back,” to “leave work at work,” to “know how to say no,” and so on. While this ideal scenario is sometimes achievable, sometimes it isn’t — and along with being a minimalist, I’m also a realist.

I have made a conscious decision to work the best I can when I am away from my home. If I’m going to be away from my family, I should respect this time enough to get as much done as I possibly can. While I always try to be completely present in my work and in my home, these worlds do overlap. This is true for many of us.

Here are three reasons why I choose to take my work home with me.

  1. I only see my kids for two hours a day. I drop my kids off at school on my way into work. By the time I get home, I am just a couple hours away form their bed time. If there are things that do not require me to be in the office, and don’t have a hard deadline, I will gladly pack up these tasks so that I can be with my kids. I spent the past decade in a job where I was gone for six months of the year. In that profession, I did not have the choice to come home and finish a task. For this reason, I will take every opportunity I have to transfer home and be present — even if it means finishing up after bedtime.
  2. I can send emails from soccer practice. I know what you’re thinking. What a sad sight it is to see the dad on the practice field who is glued to his iPhone. Let me offer a different perspective. While I agree this is not an ideal scenario, I will gladly finish my necessary work on the sidelines if I am able to finish via mobile and be with my kids. I feel fortunate to work in a scenario where I can do this. My presence at my children’s events, while not always one hundred percent undivided, is more important than sending emails from my desk.
  3. Meal time is our family time. Our dinner table is the one place where we are all present. My wife is a tremendous cook and she prepares a meal for us at least five nights a week. I am grateful for this. This is where we talk about our day and really get to know each other. My kids feel comfortable here and often open up more than any other place. If there is a scenario in which I can pause my responsibilities in order to attend this hour of togetherness, I will do just that — even if it means updating Exact Target while doing some dishes.

I have been very fortunate to find an organization that values the importance of family, but there is a give and take with everything. I do my very best to meet all of my responsibilities in the office, but it’s not always possible. In the instance where I’m still working when it’s time to head home but I’m not required to be at my desk to complete certain tasks, I will gladly take my work home with me in order to spend the remaining hours of the day with my family.

Give yourself permission to do the same. These moments don’t last. Babies don’t keep. My baby boy is almost nine and my last baby has somehow become a toddler. Work/life balance is important. Boundaries are important. I try my best to leave work at the office, but I’m also realistic enough to know these worlds overlap. So when I have the choice to take work home in order to be present, I choose to take my work home with me every time.

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