Forget the 80 hour work week

Stop kidding yourself.  The 80 hour work week is a myth.  No one really can do productive, creative, useful work for 80 hours a week.  Likewise, no one can drive a truck safely or fill orders accurately for 80 hours a week.

It’s always nice to find a fellow voice for sanity out there – http://startupboy.com/2005/11/29/the-80-hour-myth/ . Thanks for the reminder StartupBoy.

Here’s the other truth.  Marriages and families need time too.  If you’re at work 80 hours a week, there’s no way your marriage is getting the time it needs.  At Power of Two we work 35 good, hard, productive hours a week.  Focused hours. Creative hours.  And then we all go home and enjoy our lives.

Having done this for four years now, I can tell you, this approach has made our team wildly productive.  It lets us pause and catch mistakes before heading down dead-end paths.  It means everyone is rested and excited when we’re at work.   It keeps our team energized.

How well do you do balancing work and life?   Click here for a quick way to find out.

The Simple Things In Life

Sometimes it’s all about the simple things.

When people are considering joining the Power of Two Online, we ask them to tell us about a favorite moment they’ve had with their spouse.  Here’s a selection of the kind of things people tell us.

  • I like when we cook dinner together. It is special because we don’t spend a lot of time together, and for some reason I feel closer to him.
  • It was his birthday a few years ago. We had an intimate dinner just the 2 of us. We talked and enjoyed each others company.
  • Simply going out to grab something to eat together is magical for me. We enjoy doing that together and talking and being affectionate in those moments. Recently, on Saturday afternoon going to eat and sitting next to each other, hugging, sharing our food, being able to talk.
  • We went fishing. We spent the whole day together laughing and listening to music. The day was perfect because it was just the two of us. I love when my husband and I spend quality time together.
  • Yesterday he came to my job to have lunch with me because he did not have to go to work. It was so special because we genuinely enjoyed each other’s company and talking to each other was like two friends talking. It was very nice, and a change.

Did you notice that every one of these is some kind of a simple moment where it was “just the two of us.”

Then we ask people what problems they’re having.  About 60% of folks go on to tell us that “time as a couple” is a struggle.

One of the simplest things you can do to get your marriage back on track is to make time to create those simple moments as a couple.  This doesn’t have to be some big, fancy plan.  It doesn’t even have to be an official “date night.”

Time together can be as simple as well, time together.  Cook dinner.  Take a walk.  Sit on  a park bench.  Even folding laundry or doing the dishes can become special together time.

Chances are, the more you make time for spending some simple time that’s focused on enjoying each others company (and for a few brief moments putting down the need to fixing everything, or the temptation to complain or bicker) the more reserves there will be for doing the fixing or resolving the complaints.

And i-phone makes 3.

I was inspired driving to work today by NPR’s series on digital gizmo’s and marriage — http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130698574.  Most striking to me was the account towards the end of the story about a couple lying in bed, playing scrabble.  Except there was one little twist.  Both people were playing scrabble separately on their phones!!

We hear about the great digital disconnect here at Power of Two all the time.  It’s truly amazing how easy it is to become a slave to all of our cool little phone’s and tablets and music players.  So many of us let these devices slip in to all sorts of private spaces under the guise of “convenience”.  Yes, even I have been known to send an occasional text messages from the bathroom.  Ugg.

Sound familiar?  Here’s a few suggestions to help protect your marriage and make sure the convenience of your devices doesn’t become the downfall of your marriage.

  1. Carve out some sacred spaces. That is make a few places in your life where the devices don’t come along.  I’d suggest the bedroom for starters.  The dining room table is another great one.
  2. Make some reserved times too. For example, perhaps 8 -10:00 every night is “unwired” hour.  If you’re a chronic office e-mail checker, start letting people know that you just won’t be available during those hours.
  3. Develop some 1950’s passions. Recently a friend complimented us that our 3 boys are so “1950’s.”  What did she mean?    Because we’ve basically banned screen-activities in the afternoons, our boys do things like ride their scooters, play board games, and dig holes in the backyard.  Do the same for your marriage.  Cultivate some simple 1950’s habits for your marriage.  Savor a shared cup of tea.  Enjoy a leisurely walk around the block.  Listen to music together.
  4. Check our if your devices are intruding by scheduling an occasional phone-free holiday. That’s right.  Turn them off, really off, for a whole 24 hours.  If it’s a pleasure and easy to do, YAY, you’re winning the great device battle.  If it feels like the world is ending, then something is topsy-turvy.  Time to take a serious hard look at how you’re connected to the antennas and what that’s doing to your ability to connect to your loved ones and to make some changes.

It’s amazing how much of a difference these few little pieces can make.  Happy unplugging to all!

A little touch can go a long way…

NY TimesI found this so interesting, I just couldn’t resist sharing. Published this week in the NY Times is an article about the benefits of touching.

The article profiles researchers who analyzed the effects of touch based interactions in professional basketball. The team coded every bump, hug and high five in a single game played by each team in the National Basketball Association early last season.

In a paper due out this year in the journal Emotion, the team reports that with a few exceptions, good teams tended to be touchier than bad ones.

So, I know you’re dieing to know… What does all of this have to do with relationships?

Continue reading A little touch can go a long way…