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Blocking Time for Family

May 17, 2019

By Tami VanHoy


Blocking Time for Family 

Many parents now have a side gig or two in an effort to bring in the extra income needed to do things like: 

  1. • Save for a home
  2. • Take a family vacation every year
  3. • Pay for college (or save for it!)
  4. • Build a retirement fund (and possibly retire early!)
  5. • Pay off debt
  6. • Buy a car
  7. • etc.
There are so many side gig options now available for parents to choose from - empowering them to reach their goals versus being stuck within the limitations of a single 9-5 job. 
With that opportunity though, comes the challenge of juggling time. Some call it family/work balance, but I avoid that phrase because balance implies all things are equal and level. With family, career and side gigging, it's rarely (if ever) a ‘balanced’ life. 
Instead, the goal is to seek family/work prioritization. It start with identifying the priorities. Determine the most important things to do with the family, and make sure to dedicate time to those family priorities. 

When we don’t take steps toward this kind of time blocking,
chaos begins to take hold and soon 
everyone feels they are overworked or underserved.

Family Time Blocking

What you need: 

• Square sticky notes in a variety of colors
• A large poster board
Set Up: 
       • A color for each adult (for noting work/side gig time)
       • A color for the entire family (for noting dedicated family time)
       • A color for each child (for noting specific child activities)

> On the poster board, draw out 1 week or a 31-day calendar.
Some prefer blocking out a month at a time, others are good with just a week at a glance

The System: 

>Determine one day a week as the day to manage the sticky notes so that it becomes a family habit 
       • When possible, make it a family time project.
       • If not possible, don’t overthink it…just do it with whoever you can!

> Fill in the upcoming week with the specific sticky notes

Adults - 
Write your work/gig time on your notes and put them on the days that     you need to work and then write out other time commitments that don’t involve the family (meetings/errands/events…) 

Kids - Write out activities other than normal school hours on your sticky note colors and post them on their appropriate days. NOTE: Kids not old enough to write will do it with a parent. It’s still great to involve them as soon as they are old enough to understand the concept of time. 

Family - On the family color, write out the family events planned or time to be dedicated to family time and place on their days. 

> Step back and take a look.
      • What do you see? 

       • Is the family color there, barely there, or missing? 

       • Take a moment to evaluate how satisfied you are with the percentage of family time color represented on the board. 

       • If you don’t like what you see, are there notes on the wall that can be done another time? 

If yes, put them in a location on the board called ‘parking lot’ and come back to them another week.
If no, have a family talk about what purpose the other priorities have and discuss ways to find more time next week. 

       • Is the calendar full of work/side gig obligations?

Talk about how this is to grow funds for something that will benefit the family.

Talk about some family activities everyone would love to find time to do next week and discuss ways to plan ahead to make sure that will happen.

The Purpose of Using a Visible Board: 
The board is a visual reminder of your commitment as a family to be united about time priorities. It’s a great visual to remind impatient family members of when the next family time or their time is scheduled. 

Do Something On Purpose Today...
• Ask the family how they feel about the amount of time typically available for family fun and bonding.

• If there is a desire for it to be better, ask the family this question – “What does quality family time look like to you?”

• With those answers, discuss ways to find more time to do more of those things. What can you say no to as a family so you can say yes to more of the things you find more important. 

• Take some time to share with the family how the extra income you get from your side gig activities benefits the family now or in the future.

About Tami

Tami VanHoy, Director of Field Development at pawTree LLC, is passionate about helping people live ON PURPOSE. As a certified Life/Purpose Coach, she walks with people to sift through the excuses, define that purposeful path, and live it out – on purpose! You can find more from Tami here at
Tami is loved by her husband, 4 children, and 5 grandchildren (so far!). When at home, you’ll often find her Shih Tzu, Muffin, snuggled up in her lap while she writes.