I had my first baby on October 6th last year, a boy. If you want to know what life change looks like for me, it's about 7lbs and 6oz. And yet, nobody ever asks me about 'work life balance'.
I've been running my business, Zaggora.com, with my wife. We don't have any outside investors and not a penny of debt. We employ over 50 people, serve customers in 135 countries and over see a supply chain of 500,000 products annually. We won the E-Commerce Strategy of the Year award at the National Business Awards and are a featured Harvard Case Study. Every day, I would receive around 400 emails, have 20 meetings and 50 phone calls.
And now, we have a baby.
This isn't a cry for help. But I can't help but notice, my wife is asked all the time about 'work-life' balance, but nobody ever asks me.
The way you feel, act and certainly look (sleepness nights) is changed forever. If work wasn't stressful enough, you're often now the 'breadwinner', with mum at home, with higher responsibilities and expectations at work, as well as increased demands at home.
So, I thought I would write a little survival guide. A 'top 5' for new dad's that worked for me.
1. Manage your time
This is an obvious one, but doing it isn't so easy. Inevitably, you will probably have to accept that you will be waking up earlier and going to bed later to fit everything in. Be ruthless on your time. Even then, to get everything done, you'll need the help of my points below. But, each day, there is probably at least 120 minutes of time that you don't spend efficiently. Figure out what this time is, you'll need those minutes. If it's travel, try and work from home.
2. 'Pack your bags the night before'. Organise and Plan.
My mum used to tell me this when I was a school kid. I did, and it worked. In the morning, I could 'get up and go'. Of course, it's also a metaphor for being organized. Organisation and planning are now you're new best friends to spend that time, of which you have less, more effectively.
I used to buy my toothpaste after it ran out. Not any more. If you want to have order in your life, you now have to plan. You're now in the logistics business. You have to think about what you need to prepare in advance. It now takes me 15 minutes to go from my apartment to my car, with baby. He has a buggy, nappies, bottles, dummies, changing matts - you see where I am going with this. Before, it would take 60 seconds.
3. Delegate what you can
Given all the demands on your time, you now need to delegate better than ever. Whether it's either with work, or life, you need to get help from the people around you. At work, ask people to help you out, especially in the early days/weeks/months after having a baby. Don't be shy. Its not weakness, it's just practical. At home, see if family, friends can offer assistance.
4. Have Quality moments
When you are with your new baby, enjoy it. Do 'quality time' things, don't just stare at them - although I think we all do this. Carry them, sing a song, tell them a story, a joke, anything. Hug them. The higher the 'quality' of the time you spend, the less likely you'll start to feel guilty about not seeing them as much as you can (because you work).
5. Don't be a hero. Make it easy for yourself
4 days after our baby was born, we had a house party at home to celebrate. We wanted all of our friends and family to meet our new little boy. This was a lot of fun, but we made it hard on ourselves. Cut back on the things that make your life more difficult than it needs to be.
Good luck Dads, you're epic!