Impact of Hyperwork on Family

I am seeing this all the time now… 

Parents of little children, or even older children, who are too busy working to pay much, if any, attention to their families.

Call it a disease of the industrial revolution + information technology. 

Whether people worked on the assembly line making widgets or nowadays on the computer and smartphone answering their bosses and colleagues compulsively–it’s become a global obsession. 

On one hand, with the impending robot and AI revolution taking over jobs, people need to be grateful to even have a job to earn a living for the families.

On the other hand, with the connections to each other and our work 24/7, the depression-era saying of:

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Has morphed into:

Brother, can you spare some time?

Yes, we all need to be responsible adults, earn a decent living and pay our bills. 

But in the end, it’s not money or things that we give to our families that is the most important.  

I would argue money and things are the least important, and what is truly most precious is the love, time, and attention you give to yours. 

As the old saying goes:

Money can’t buy love.

But time and attention given to your loved ones can build meaningful relationships that last a lifetime and beyond. 

Yes, of course, people need to work to earn a living and productively contribute something to society, but it is also true that work is used as an excuse to run away from parental and familial responsibilities. 

It’s easier to give an Amazon gift certificate or a Gameboy then to actually spend the afternoon with the kids. 

These days, people say ridiculous things like:

I love going into the office to get away from home. 

But you can’t run away from your problems at home–you need to work on them and solve them.

The diabolical murderous Nazis used work as a tool to enslave, torture, and exterminate their victims as the sign over the gate of the Auschwitz (and many other) concentration camps read:

Arbeit Macht Frei  (or Work Sets You Free)

But as we all know inside, true freedom is being able to give generously from your time and effort to your loved ones, and slavery is not being able to let go of your work. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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The Essence of Time Management

So here are some quickies on the essence of time management.


1. Urgency vs Importance:


Don’t sacrifice the important items for the urgent ones!


– Focus on the items that are important on the right side of the matrix–if they are urgent (upper-right), you need to do now; if they aren’t urgent, but they are important (lower-right), you need to make time for them. 


– Deemphasize the items that aren’t important on the left side of the matrix–if they are urgent and not important (upper-left), limit them or delegate them; if they aren’t urgent or important (lower-left), delete them. 


There are two potential areas of dissonance that can cause you tension, stress, and anxiety.


– When the urgent top row items and the lower-left life necessities get in the way of your focusing on the quality life items that are of long-term importance to you (the lower-left).  For example, work and errands can crowd out your personal, family, community, and spiritual time. 


– When you have too many items in the lower-right quality time area and these are in competition with each other for your time and attention, and you don’t know how to prioritize them and get it all done.  It’s like there is never enough time. For example, we ignore our spouse, the kids, or closeness with G-d, because we just can’t get to it all.


This is where our personal values and conscience come into play to drive what we do and how we spend our precious time in this world. 


We all only have 24 hours in a day, so our actions need to be purposeful and driven by our values!


2. Tasks vs Relationships


Imagine another matrix with focus on tasks on the vertical access and focus on relationships on the horizontal access. 


Again here, we want to ensure a healthy balance of focus on both task and relationships (upper-right corner). 


If we focus on tasks at the expense of relationships or relationships at the expense of tasks, we are going to have a problem.  Moreover, it makes no sense to focus on items that are neither task- nor relationship-focused (lower-left).  


We need to collaborate with others to accomplish great, complex tasks (we can only accomplish so much alone). 


Again, dissonance (tension, stress, anxiety) is caused when we are pulled off-balance to focus on work or people to the exclusion of the other.  


As they say,


“Mission first, people always!”


We’ve got to build meaningful relationships and work together to get the mission done and the mission can be helping people and building a better society in a variety of ways. 


In a sense, it’s people helping people. Love thy neighbor to help thy neighbor.  


Time is of the essence–we have so little of it–it is precious–we can’t get it back–it goes so fast–we need to manage it like gold. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

On Time Is Late

Smart saying I heard today on time management:

Early is on time.
On time is late.
Late is unacceptable.

Having grown up in a very precise environment,  I can certainly appreciate this. 


Seriously, from a Yekke (Jewish German background), we were taught to be 15 to 30 minutes early–i.e. on time–for everything. 


I remember starting to get “little” reminders to get ready and get out the door well in advance and numerous times before the clock struck. 


Fashionably late or any other type is not in the vocabulary and frankly is a complete f*ckin insult. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Got Skills

I thought this was a very telling sign right off the highway in Washington, D.C. 


“Does your child have life skills?”


And then it lists things like:

“Cooking, budgets, sewing, ironing, time managment, communication, and fun”


The classes are offered by ActualLifeSkills.com.


I took a look online at what a typical 6-week class offered on Sundays for 3-hours at a time and at a cost of $345. 


It even covered things like:

“Handshakes, eye contact, and conversation starters
Voice projection and confidence
Party/guest etiquette, gifts and thank you notes”


And of course, aside from the cooking and budgeting already mentioned, there were more of the foundations such as laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping.


I would suggest adding things like computer basics, child rearing, human relations, home maintenance, car mechanics, hunting, fishing, gardening, first-aid, fitness, and even self-defense. 


Since, we spend so much time teaching book skills, I have often thought why we don’t spend more time teaching these fundamental life skills. 


We are raising a generation of kids that can score 1500+ on the SATs, but they don’t know sh*t about real life and couldn’t survive a week without electricity, Internet, or mom and dad taking care of them. 


Back to basics. 


Back to life skills. 


Back to survival. 


Back to being self-sufficient. 


There is no reason that we can’t add these items to our broken school curriculums. 


You shouldn’t have to go to special classes to learn to live life. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mikva = Tikva

I thought this was a really special Jewish clock I saw in the store yesterday. 


It promotes holiness and sanctity in the family.

Mikva (Jewish ritual bath) = Tikva (hope) 

Rebirth and renewal (from the immersion in the holy water).

Build your family in sanctity!

Purity leads to sanctity.


The Jewish laws of refraining from sexual relations during Nidda (a women’s menstruation) and of immersing in the mikvah at the end of the cycle and before the husband and wife coming back together physically are cornerstones of acting with self-control and a couple dedicating themselves to Hashem first.


The family is the core of raising and educating our children and of the makeup of the community and ultimately of serving G-d in everything we do. 


Self-control (with sexual purity, kosher food, Sabbath time, etc.) is what separates us from animals and how we emulate being more like the angels. 

It is also a way for a husband and wife to elevate their love and show respect for each other as human beings and not just physical beings.  


I never saw a clock that reminds us of these holy concepts and laws like this. 


Also at the top it says another well-known Jewish quote about managing our time wisely:

“The day is short and the task is great.”


Another good reminder to maximize the use of our time every day here on Earth and to make the most out of every moment. 


If we dedicate ourselves to serving G-d, raising our families, being productive professionally and personally, and acting with integrity and sanctity always–this is a good life! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Worth The Squeeze

I like this saying that I heard.

“The juice has to be worth the squeeze.”


It’s a little like the corollary to “If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing right.”


Spending time and effort has to show commensurate results or why the heck are you doing it?


Probably always good to reevaluate where you’re getting the “most bang for the buck,” so you’re not “just spinning your wheels.”


With all the sayings about what we do and whether it’s really worth it, there is probably some good reason to be concerned about whether or not you spending your time productively or just acting insane, because: 

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


Results matter–so make sure your achieving them or go do something else you enjoy and that’s ultimately worth the squeeze! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anything Is Possible

So you’re all aware of the 3 legs of project management:


– Cost


– Schedule


– Scope


I remember learning the adage that if you change any one of these then there is an impact on the others. 


For example, if you “crash” the timeline on a project to finish more quickly, then you either need more money or you need to reduce the scope. 


Similarly, if you want to cut costs on the project then you may have to extend the timeline or scale back on the requirements. 


Recently, I heard someone says the following:

“We can do anything with enough time and resources.”


And when I thought about this, it’s true enough.


If you provide more money and time for a project then, of course, you can do more in terms of the scope of the project.


Pour enough bucks and time into something and conceptually, we really can do anything. 


Technically, we can do the proverbial “anything,” but that’s only if the politics and infighting don’t get in the way of  progress. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)