I recently read The Power of Having Fun, the brand-new book by Dave Crenshaw. I am a big believer in taking time off to make time for yourself and for your family. I’ve had the good fortune of having taken that time over most of the past 20 years. I took control of my own schedule once I realized I really had that control. Most people don’t know how to do that, and Dave’s book gives a really nice road map. To coincide with the release of his book, Dave has written the following, very helpful post for the Six Simple Rules blog…

Work can be grueling. After getting through the jitters of the first 30 days on the job, it becomes mundane and boring. But, don’t just take my word for it. According to the University of Phoenix, nearly 60 percent of American workers wish they were in a different career. Workers in their 30’s have a dissatisfaction rate of a whopping 70%!

But, what if I told you that spending less time at work and more time with family and friends could have a positive impact on your career? Seriously!

The “work-home resources model,” argues that spouses with stable marriages are more likely to increase performance at work, according to a study by Lieke ten Brummelhuis and Arnold Bakker, published by the American Psychological Association.

Now, extrapolate that concept and take it one step further. Married couples that go on at least one date, every week, are three times more likely to report improved marital happiness, better communication, and better satisfaction in the bedroom than those who don’t. Yet a mere 18% of couples go out even as much as once per month.

I talk a lot about taking an “oasis” in your personal, family, and work life to be more productive. By “oasis” I’m referring to a meaningful, fun break that brings calm and motivation to your mind. It repairs the wounds of endless work, meetings, and feedback and helps rejuvenate the soul. Taking a Family Oasis is important to your career and can help you achieve greater success.

It’s About the Family

On one occasion, I found myself speaking in a special location: Tanzania, in the city of Dar es Salaam. One might be tempted to refer to this place as an actual oasis. There was something surreal about working a room and speaking as the waves crashed along the shore of Coco Beach, with the ocean breeze wafting into the room.

My seminar to local business leaders covered taking more time with family members and enjoying these moments with the people we love, and how this helped work productivity. The day after the event, I managed to get some feedback from a few of the attendees. One story stayed with me.

One attendee went back home to his wife and told her something along the lines of “This guy from America had a great idea. He said we should schedule daily, weekly, and monthly time for just you and me. What do you want to do?”

After she got over the initial shock, the man’s wife didn’t need more than a second to think about it. She replied, “Once a month, let’s sleep under the stars.”

When I tell this story at an event, half the audience usually projects an audible “Awww.”

The other half? A soft groan.

The point? A Family Oasis isn’t about you and what you want. While you need to be sure to schedule your “me-time,” this is about “them time.” I’m not implying you won’t get a say in the matter. Just keep in mind that the Family Oasis is primarily about your family’s wishes.

Getting Started

Start with your significant other, whether that is your wife, husband, fiancé, girlfriend or boyfriend. Take an hour to discuss why you want to take a family oasis. Talk about wanting to take more time for the family and how that may benefit you (or both of you) at work.

Ask what would be meaningful to them. What are some ideas you can come up with to spend time together? Speak candidly in a relaxed setting so everyone feels comfortable putting their thoughts and feelings out there.

Coming Up With the List

I’m not sure what kind of list maker you are, but I’d imagine it’s something you’ve done. Grab a pen and paper or even do it on the computer—whatever works best for you.

You’ll want a column for time length that includes the following:

  • Less than 15 minutes
  • 15-90 minutes
  • 90 minutes – 12 hours/half-day
  • Up to 3 days
  • More than 3 days

Make sure to include a cost column as well. This will help you determine what is within budget, and what you may need to put off until you can afford it.

Now, it’s time to brainstorm! Start writing down all the ideas you have for the different times allotted. Once you’ve developed a solid list of ideas in each area ask yourselves why each particular activity would be meaningful to your significant other or yourself. This is critical because this is the part that adds emotion and meaning to that particular activity.

Expanding to Other Family

If you have children or other people you consider family, you can do this with each of them, too. Daily time with them might not be an immediate possibility for every person you consider a family member so, instead, start with a weekly and/or monthly activity.

What you do is up to the people involved. Just have an understanding up front of what you are willing to do and what is not practical. Just as you did with your spouse or significant other, brainstorm and discuss what would be meaningful to you. Be open to everything.

A friend once told me a story about his four-year-old son. The two spent time together daily. One day, he asked his son what he wanted to do most, and his son said, “I want to go to the mall and ride the escalators.” Talk about the little things!

Your family can become a source of strength for your career. It’s quite simple: when you feel closer to loved ones, you’ll also perform better at work. Take your family oasis time seriously for a few months. Note the impact it’s had on your professional life. I firmly believe you’ll find a positive correlation.

And the bonus benefit? The effects of spending this time together is reciprocal. Your family will also benefit at work or school! To help your loved ones to succeed, spend more time with them!

Dave Crenshaw builds productive leaders, having transformed hundreds of thousands of business leaders worldwide. He has appeared in TIME magazine, USA Today, Fast Company, and the BBC News. His courses on LinkedIn Learning have received millions of views. He has written four books, including The Myth of Multitasking which was published in six languages and is a time-management bestseller, and his brand-new book, The Power of Having Fun. You can learn more about Dave at DaveCrenshaw.com.