It’s difficult to balance/integrate family, career, and personal interests. I'm not a world renown psychologist, motivational speaker, or life guru coach. And, I have less doctoral credibility than Dr. Seuss. Even so, here are some things that I do to help me keep focused and ease the tension that may come.
Know and re-iterate your why. Everyone has a reason for their pursuits in life, so know your why and remind yourself of it everyday. This will help keep the frustration at bay when difficulties, blown deadlines, and missed opportunities come.
Remember your priorities. Work and projects come and go, so remember to nurture the relationships that matter to you the most. When I’m with my kids, I don’t take non-emergency calls if we are sharing an experience together. This reemphasizes their importance in my life and we’ve had some of the best dialogue at totally random unplanned times. Seriously, I've been asked some deeply profound questions by my 8 and 6 year-olds at unexpected moments given the circumstances and situations.
Happy wife, happy life. I'm not sure who first coined this phrase -- maybe King Solomon. It took someone that was wise beyond imagination and thankfully those words have survived the test of time and hopefully translated into every language on the planet. Your significant other deserves quality, high focus time as well. Sometimes you have to turn off the cell phone and laptop and just converse with listen to your partner. This is especially hard for me given my hard-wiring as an engineer. I'm still learning that every conversation is not an invitation to solve a problem. Talk early in the morning before the kids get up or while you are preparing for the next day at night. Do something together as much as time permits. We love movies and the Apple TV is great because we save money and time by cuddling on the couch and catching a flick.
Integrate your work and your life. I used to try and separate my work and life (work-life balance) but got extremely frustrated when timing restraints would uppercut me. Then I read an article (sorry, can’t remember the author at the moment) that talked about integrating your work and personal life and setting boundaries for work and play (work-life integration). This approach has worked far better for me so far. For example, I’ll give my kids activities to do (reading, math, etc.) for a given time that we designate as work/activity time with no interruption, then we’ll follow that we a fun break. Wash, rinse, and repeat. This has worked a lot better for me than trying to separate work and life for long, extended periods of time.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to focus and be in the moment while increasing the quality time that you spend with your loved ones.