Leigh Rust is the Co-founder and Director of Safetyline Jalousie Louvre Windows, a family owned, Australian manufacturing business based in Sydney, and is a busy father of three.
It’s a fact: life inevitably takes chunks out of you.
What we need in order to cope isn’t sealed in advice, pearls of wisdom, or proverbs from history’s greatest minds. Sure, they can help, but for myself, a business owner, husband, and father of three youngsters; I’ve learned to hinge my day-to-day successes on one major component — time management.
Attaining a concrete work-life balance is imperative to ensure all of the facets in your life are getting the time, and therefore energy, they deserve.
I see it as having a collection of plants which need watering. Ignore or forget to water one of these plants and sure enough, it will slowly begin to wilt. If you don’t step in at this point and give the water it craves, you could end up losing it altogether.
Easier said than done most of the time though right? And I know it’s frustrating when you come across those people who seem so effortlessly to manage their schedules and smash goals in all areas of their lives.
I used to think this way. But it’s not rocket science! I accepted this and got to work on managing my time more effectively; totally blown away by just how a handful of subtle changes impacted my life.
As a business owner/director
Day to day I have a lot of stuff come across my desk, constant phone calls, and people vying for my time to discuss matters ranging from the tedious to the ridiculously important. When I am at work, I am exactly that, I am entirely present. Everything else in my life is put on standby and I won’t delve into family concerns unless it is an absolute necessity or emergency.
These days I love to empower people, and my approach as a manager is to have an open-door policy. Letting people voice their opinions and run with ideas and new strategies can be rewarding. Another plus is it could lead to streamlining business procedures you may never even have considered — a potentially great win/win scenario.
As a husband
One thing we have to remember is to not take our partner for granted. Men can often forget women are wired a little differently to us — and speaking generally — often require more connection than we do. It’s taken me some time to realise this fully. The old clichés of candlelit meals and bunches of flowers are all very well, yet simpler gestures like taking the time to talk over a coffee or a simple activity like going for a walk can often keep you closer together.
And don’t think once a month is going to cut it — be consistent!
Sometimes the adage of less is more and a carefully considered approach can keep you well on track as a good husband.
As a father
Perhaps the hardest of the three! I love my kids and like any caring parent, I want to give them everything and want for nothing. Often though in our digital age we forget the human aspect and wrongly appease kids with gifts and screens. But children don’t always show us their true emotions: they mostly want our attention.
When I play or share time with my children, I try to be one on one as much as possible with them. Forming memories of certain things and activities you have done together, just the two of you, is so priceless.
Being present is paramount also; to remedy this I engrained the habit of putting my phone in a drawer in another room or placing it somewhere completely out of reach. Like so many, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I need to be mindful of my own screen time.
At the end of the day, why would I put my children’s happiness in question over an email or notification which can easily wait until later?
Presence is key to achieving a more balanced lifestyle. If you’re at home, keep work off your mind. If you’re at work, try to stay focused on the job at hand. Prioritise of course, but generally this has completely removed the frustration I used to have when being so divided with my attention.