Planning your day so it doesn’t cut into family time


👋 Hey Reader!

In today’s issue of WFH Dads:

→ How to plan your day so it doesn’t cut into family time
→ Favorite new dad podcast I found
→ Question from the community

How to plan your day so it doesn’t cut into family time

It’s important to approach every work day with a game plan. When you do, it allows you to execute work tasks and still be able to spend time with your family.

Unfortunately, many dads struggle to plan their day. They often have a general idea of what needs to be done but keep ending up working late into the night, feeling like very little got accomplished.

Why this is so difficult:

  • Lack of clarity on critical tasks: When you’ve got tasks coming from email, Slack, and your project management system, it’s often hard to know which tasks are actually the most important.
  • Poor prioritization: Without knowing your critical tasks, this leads to feeling overwhelmed with to-dos. It becomes easier to just start working on SOMETHING because staying busy can feel productive.
  • Unrealistic expectations: Trying to accomplish too much in a day without accounting for breaks, meetings, and unforeseen delays can lead to working late.

But, by spending just 15 minutes at the start of each day coming up with a game plan, you can get your important work done so it doesn’t cut into family time.

Here’s how.

Step 1: Identify your most important tasks

It’s critical to decide what the most important tasks are for your day - the ones that NEED to be done by the end of the day.

Knowing this from the start ensures these get done.

What this could look like:

Ask yourself:

what needs to be done before tomorrow?

These are your most important tasks (MITs).

Don’t pick more than three things.

If you’re working on a bigger project, be specific about what part of that project you’re wanting to complete today. Don’t just write THAT ONE BIG PROJECT.

Not every MIT needs to be part of a big project. It could be an important meeting or a thoughtful email reply.

You can write these three tasks on a post-it note.

Then cross them off as you do them.

I like to use Notion to plan out my week.

Step 2: Decide the order to complete these in

Deciding in the beginning of the day what order you will complete the tasks in removes a lot of the cognitive load later in the day of wondering ‘what should I do next?’

What this could look like:

I like to write out literally everything I plan on doing that day, from big projects down to email replies.

In most digital task managers, you can just drag & drop your tasks in the order you want to complete them in.

I put them in order based on my anticipated energy levels. My MITs are earlier in the day. Tasks that take less mental energy (or aren’t super time sensitive) are later in the day. This also allows me to push any unfinished tasks to the next day without much consequence because my MITs were done earlier.

Schedule your breaks in there too.

  • When do you want to take lunch?
  • When do you want to try and get some exercise in?
  • When do you want to just go sit on the couch for 10 minutes and watch YouTube?

Step 3: Set realistic expectations

You’re not going to get 37 things done in a day.

And if you’ve got 5 meetings, don’t add the same amount of tasks that you would if you had only 1 meeting.

What this could look like:

If you’re not used to writing out all your daily tasks, it’ll take some time for you get a gauge on how much you actually CAN get accomplished in a day. It’s not just the number of tasks, but also how long you anticipate certain tasks taking.

Tasks often take longer than we expect.

And there will be unexpected tasks that come in throughout the day that will need your attention.

So a good rule is to fill your task list with 80% of what you think you can actually do in a day.

I’d love to hear from you

Hope this gives you some ideas on how to plan your work day so it doesn’t cut into family time.

I’d love to hear from you though.

How do you plan your day, or what challenges do you face in doing so?

Reply to this email and let me know—I read and reply to every message.


What I'm reading / watching / listening to:

Milkless Podcast

I came across THIS INSTAGRAM REEL a couple weeks ago and thought it was a hilarious and painfully accurate look at what it means to be a dad today.

As I explored the guy’s other content, I found he had a podcast.

I don’t actually listen to too many dad podcasts but this one is such a great blend of humor and authentic dad reflections.

A good first episode to listen to is THIS ONE.


Question from the community

Something I want to do is include questions from the community in this newsletter.

I’ll share those questions and then readers like yourself can send in your replies.

I’ll then share the best replies in the following newsletter.

So I need you to submit your questions about the challenges of being a work-from-home dad!

Submit your question for the community here

Thanks again for being a part of this community!

Thom Gibson

Founder of Work-From-Home Dads


P.S.

Here's another newsletter I highly recommend. It's by Tiago Forte, the author of Building A Second Brain which has really helped me organize my digital life in a way that I'm able to find what I need more easily and actually use the various notes & ideas I find online and save.

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Forte Labs Newsletter

Build your Second Brain with Tiago Forte

Level up your productivity and life with new essays, videos, event invites, and other resources every Tuesday. Join 125k subscribers exploring the frontier of modern work, experimenting with new ways of doing more with less, and discovering what it means to fulfill our human potential. 100% free and 100% useful!

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Work-From-Home Dads

Helping dads be more productive in their work and present in their families. Newsletter every two weeks on work/life balance, time management, fitness, fatherhood, marriage, and home office setups.

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