Alan Johnson is a father, husband, and business owner.
Not only that but Alan is quickly becoming a household name in the blogging industry as well.
As the man behind The Rating Blog, Alan has rocketed up the ranks in just a few short months and has been guest posting on some of the most well known blogs around.
Alan generously agreed to add Dad Balance to his resume and set aside some time to share his thoughts and experiences on work life balance and what that has meant to him and his family.
Can you please tell me a little about your family? How many kids do you have? How old are they?
I have two wonderful children, my daughter is in college and my son is finishing high-school this year.
Can you provide a little bit of background on your career and professional interests?
I am, at this point, still running my brick & mortar business (after my children are ready to take over, the vast majority of my income-generating activities will be the online ones). I have worked with people my entire life and I am always grateful for having the opportunity to do something I am passionate about, not a lot of people can say that about themselves.
How would you define work-life balance?
In today’s society, a lot of people have their priorities all wrong. As far as I’m concerned, a person who thinks that career is more important than family still has a lot to learn and, down the road, that person will, without a doubt, realize just how wrong he or she was.
Do you feel that dads have a harder time achieving work-life balance than moms? If so, how?
It’s a common misconception that dads should only represent a walking paycheck, and a lot of them use the fact that they are too busy at work in order to justify their lack of time as far as family is concerned. That is simply a foolish excuse and ones family always deserves more than that.
What do you personally find is your biggest struggle to achieving a healthy work-life balance?
Managing responsibilities can always be tricky and that brings us right back to having the right priorities.
What do you remember from your own childhood with regard to your dad’s work-life balance? Was he around or always busy working? How has that influenced your own views on the subject?
My father was always around when I needed him, family has always been his number one priority. Throughout my life, he has taught me the importance of family and I am and always will be grateful for that. He has indeed played and extremely important role in helping me become the person I am today.
How have you learned to identify when your work-life balance is too far out of balance in one direction?
Life has taught me that seeing things in perspective is always a must because sure, you can learn to increase your personal productivity but, in the end, if you are not careful, everything can backfire and the only thing time management will end up doing for you will be helping you go down the wrong path faster.
What is one of the biggest mistakes that you have made with regard to work-life balance?
When starting out as an entrepreneur, I believed that being busy with my brick & mortar business was an excuse for not spending enough time with my better half. Luckily, the birth of my daughter made it clear just how wrong such priorities are.
Have you faced any stigmas or criticism for focusing on your own work-life balance? Do you think focusing on your family has impacted your career? If so, how?
Always having time for my family is something I congratulate myself for every day. I can’t stress this enough: you can take away
everything I’ve ever worked for and I will always find the strength to start over. But take my family away from me and I am a nobody.
What is one thing that you wish you knew at an earlier age with regard to work-life balance? That is to say, what is one piece of advice that you would give to a new dad as he struggles to find his work-life balance?
I would definitely advise against seeing career as the most important priority. With such a way of thinking, I have managed to always have time for my family as well as secure the lifestyle they deserve.
Neglect your family and it is only a matter of time until problems will occur, problems which will make you understand what is more important in the grand scheme of things.
How has your work life balance changed since you had kids and do you think it has changed for the better or worse?
It has definitely changed for the better and, as I have previously explained, having kids has kept me from turning into a notorious narrow-minded workaholic. 🙂
Do you think your work life balance has changed as your kids have gotten older? How?
Each age has something special associated with it. As your kids grow, they start having other needs and keeping up is indeed a must. But, all in all, my attitude towards family has never changed and it has always represented a solid foundation upon which I have built.
How important do you think it is to find time for just you and your spouse without the kids?
That, my friend, is also extremely important because otherwise, you and your better half will end up growing apart. It’s not something which happens within a few days or within a few weeks, but a lot of couples have had to suffer as a result of not spending enough time that way. Why cure when you can prevent? And, by spending time with your better half as a couple, you are doing just that.
What tips do you have to “unplug” from work? Can you completely unplug?
Yes, there are times when you can completely unplug and I notice that first-hand whenever my daughter comes home to visit. Seeing her go off to college was not exactly easy and I’ll tell you this much: whenever the entire family is together, I completely forget about everything else.
What activities and/or interests do you pursue as a means of relaxation?
Even as a “dinosaur”, I always like to stay in shape and my better half feels the same way. Basketball has always been a hobby, my son and I have always spent quality time together and I have even coached his basketball team quite a while back as a result.
A lot of people seem to think that watching TV is the best way to relax. While I respect their right to an opinion, I have to say that I absolutely hate TV. There are countless better ways to spend your time that just stand there and stare at a screen.
Aside from staying in shape, I am also an avid reader but, unfortunately, given my current schedule, having time for this activity represents quite a luxury.
Alan, I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences regarding how you have learned to balance work and family.