• Petra Vandecasteele

How to Juggle Work, Family & Me-Time


Check out some valuable tips from Andrew Bradley – Cape Town based CEO of Old Mutual Wealth & father of 4 – on how to juggle work, family & me-time.


Andrew & his family enjoying the night sky

Engage in a family conversationCreate a structure that helps you to juggle all the balls; in the long-run it’s going to be a sanity-saverAnd, no less important, learn to switch off your cellphone during the transition time from work to home, and at home. Even if you have to switch it on later in the evening, this simple practice will help ensure that you are truly "present” with the people you love.”


CREATE A SIMPLE STRUCTURE & FRAMEWORK

"Our lives are so busy, it’s a real challenge to spend quality time as a family, and to juggle work, family & me-time,” Andrew explains. "I find that the best way to manage things as stress-free as possible is to create a simple structure and framework. Week time is very challenging. I try to be at home by 7pm for family dinner and mostly manage to do so, unless there’s a function. We all try to be there, but sometimes it’s not possible due to lectures or travel. I try as much as possible to keep weekends free for the family. I then usually spend some one-on-one time with one child while my wife is with the others, and then we also spend half a day all together. Sunday evening is family dinner time. This is non-negotiable. If one child is away due to an event such as a sports competition, then we meet on Facetime. This is how we stay connected at 7pm dinner time.”


SET-UP TIME SLOTS & A CHOICE OF DEFAULT DESTINATIONS

Another way Andrew suggests to keep things simple is to set-up time slots and a choice of default destinations for time away from home. The trick is to create it in such a way that the children want to go back each time. "Our special places to go to are the farm and Plettenberg Bay for our beach holidays. My children for example, love to have the big celebrations on the farm,” says Andrew. "My wife created that base to build on, and the deal when we go to the farm or to the beach on holiday is: one part family time, the other part friends, not just friends. We love to spend family time on the farm where we enjoy walking, target shooting with an air rifle, cycling, just chilling, or checking out the cows and the game. One of our kids loves exploring with his dog and planting trees. Or, we do quadrathlons in the shed: table tennis, darts, pool table, and shooting basket ball hoops. We have huge competitions amongst ourselves for all 4 events. When we are on a beach holiday, we usually have ‘come dine with me’ cook offs each evening – it spreads the load, but most importantly all these activities create a fantastic environment to engage. The camaraderie and banter can get quite intense. But all these are huge life lessons. And then, every 2-3 years we try and go on an overseas holiday. Last time we went skiing – another great experience for engagement.”


TAKE TURNS TO DECIDE

Based on my own experience, I can very well imagine that not everyone in the family enjoys doing the same things. How does one handle this? Andrew laughs, "The 6 of us each get a turn to decide what to do for our time together on the weekends, like going to the beach or walking on the mountain. We ‘operate’ on a 6-week cycle: when 1 chooses, all the others follow, even if they dont like it. If one child is away, the whole family follows if that’s what she/he wants when it’s her/his turn, and if it’s possible.


As for myself, I go cycling or running in the early morning. That’s my ‘me-time’. I do need to have that time just for myself to keep things in perspective...”


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