It’s the day after Thanksgiving and hopefully, you are spending a little time relaxing. Some people have to go to work today, while others are at home enjoying a little extra time with their family. If you have some quiet time, it’s also a good time to reflect on the holiday and the past year. You can even reflect on the past decade since 2020 is just over 30 days away. Earlier this week, the Harvard Business Review had a good article from Elizabeth Grace Saunders about incorporating values into your schedule as a working parent. As she points out early in the article, “Because of the highly personal nature of parenting, individuals tend to have strong opinions of the way things ‘should’ be as a working parent.” Her recommendation is to create a “values-drive” schedule:

A values-driven schedule requires you to determine what is most important to you and your family, and then craft your calendar around those priorities, rather than fitting your family and yourself in around whatever might land on your schedule. This helps ensure that you can feel overall satisfied with your time and parenting choices, instead of feeling guilty or frustrated that you’re not investing your time in the people and activities that matter most to you.

How to Create a Values-Driven Schedule

Ms. Saunders details a three-step process to create a values-driven schedule for working parents:

  • Get Clear on What’s Most Important
  • Define Why They’re Important
  • Fuse Your Priorities with Your Schedule

Getting clear on what’s important is a really effective first step. Using this step, you need to consider the categories you want on your calendar, the level of achievement in each area and the essential rituals for you and your family. As part of this process, you should have a conversation with your family and see what matters most to them. You should put down your phone and really focus on these discussions to get to the core of what matters to everyone.

Another really good tip is to give your “why” a 50-year review:

As you evaluate the “why,” look at everything from a 50-year point of view. Think about what you wrote down and ask yourself, “Fifty years from now, what choices would I have been happy that I made? What would matter to me? What wouldn’t?

And after you’ve done the high-level thinking, the last step is key: Implementation. You’ve identified your priorities, so now get them on your calendar. Some ideas for your calendar:

  • Exercise
  • Family time
  • Connection time
  • Activity time
  • Alone time

I always like when a good article ends with a strong idea and Ms. Saunders’ ends with a good thought for you:

The needs of each family are unique, but the importance of values-based scheduling is universal.

Next Steps

Enjoy your holiday weekend. Spend some time reflecting and reconnecting with your family. And when Monday comes around, there’s a month left in the decade and it’s time to implement your values-driven schedule to make the next decade the best it can be!

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