Hard Hat to Ball Cap
BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY LIFE

As owner of your own construction or design/build business, how many hats do you wear? Hiring manager? Concept designer? Jobsite supervisor? Accountant? Demolition expert? The responsibilities can seem endless at times, and the knowledge that the buck stops with you may be overwhelming. How can you manage a successful business and a personal life at the same time? This hot-button question has the experts scratching their heads, too.

The American Time Use Study (ATUS), a long-range study conducted by Pew Research, found that men and women are feeling the pressure of trying to balance work and family almost equally. Fathers are nearly twice as likely as working mothers to feel they are not spending enough time with their children. Additionally, with more women in the workforce, men are pitching in with household chores with greater frequency than previous generations. Kristen Shockley of the University of Georgia pulled data from over 350 research studies and found that gender had no impact on how much pressure one felt to balance work and family responsibilities.

WHAT DO THE MEN SAY?

The work-family balance debate is heating up for men who are finding the pressures of “having it all” can be too much to strive for. Part of the problem has been that men don’t speak up about the issue. One man who is vocal on the subject is Mark Hemingway. In his article for Verily.comhe speculates that men haven’t spoken up about their struggles because to do so, “is to somehow complain about women’s success in the professional world—and by extension, to complain about men’s increased home-life obligations that women used to predominantly carry.” Hemingway isn’t complaining. In fact, he says becoming a husband and father helped his career. He found that because of the pressures he was under at home, he eliminated timewasting activities at work and found a new drive and focus which he credits for his successes.

Becoming more focused after marriage may not be the case for all men, and there’s no one answer to finding the right way to balance your work and family life, but there are some things you can do to get a handle on the pressures and stresses facing you each day.

TAKE AN INVENTORY

Before you can decide what to do to try and find your balance, you need to do a little bit of groundwork. Tracking your activities in 15 to 30-minute intervals might be tedious and seem like a timewasting activity, but you’ll soon be able to spot those non-productive tasks and eliminate them, or at the very least, shorten their duration. If jobsite check-ins become social calls instead, try texting with your supervisors to get a quick update. Avoid wasted time gathering materials or contracts for client meetings by developing a set of procedures and standard document packets. Being organized is a great way to reduce your stress.

While you are documenting how you spend your time, you should also note the areas where you are the expert and areas where someone else might be a better choice to take the lead. Robert Brooks, professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and author of The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life, says once you identify your strengths and priorities you can then specialize in those areas and delegate others. You will be more productive and feel less stressed knowing that every task is being handled by the person best suited for it.