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Does Having a Kid Make You More Efficient?

Does Having a Kid Make You More Efficient?

I firmly believe that constraints are good. I hate having a million choices.

If you give me unlimited freedome, I get baffled. Unlimited time – I’ll procrastinate.

A number of people have told me that having a child has made them a much better, efficient employee.

Children put constraints on life and you have less time to waste.

Do you think that’s true?

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9 Comments

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Profile Photo Gerry La Londe-Berg

This is SUCH a rich field to mine. Let’s see if we can come up with a few of the gems and rules hidden in the fine print of the birth certificate.

Your title by itself just makes me chuckle. As a father of three grown sons I know they compounded my inefficiencies. They inherited them.
Similarly, you didn’t know you had unlimited time B.K. (before kids) but now you’re sure of it. You do have unlimited time for them though, to play Legos, and tickle them, and laugh at the silliest jokes. (What do you give an elephant in your living room? Peanuts, silly!)
It’s all about priorities. We didn’t know it at the time, but they have a way of becoming the priority. So get that work done so you can be with your kids.
You gotta be efficient with money, because they have a way of using it. The biggest secret I learned was that they don’t get cheaper as they get older, it’s the other way around… A Big Wheel costs a bit less than a bike… than a car with insurance, etc.

It’s not about having less time to waste, it’s just more fun “wasting time” with them. And it’s all worth it.

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Profile Photo Pam Broviak

This is an interesting question – I have thought kids make you a lot of things but never considered more efficient. Like Gerry said I think the key is that being a parent elevates the importance of setting priorities and planning your activities. Probably because you have more than yourself to worry about. At certain ages they can’t get themselves home from school or to and from practice or scouts. And so everything else has to be set aside and planned around you doing this. And the more kids you have (I have 6) the more elaborate your planning can get. One year I had kids distributed at 5 different school buildings in 3 different cities. Picking them up each day could sometimes be a major undertaking.

But as for procrastination, I would say I have gotten much worse over the years. Before kids, I got things done way before they were due. But now I operate on the “just in time” method. Probably because my schedule is less under my control.

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Profile Photo Steve Ressler

Interesting…I’m obviously not an expert as I don’t have kids. But hopefully in the not too distant future…

But Gerry and Pam state what I’ve heard primarily which is really about setting priorities and planning activities. Not much time to waste.

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Profile Photo Joshua Salmons

I’d have to vote “no,” sorry. Perhaps it’s because I’m in the Army, which is a very “family friendly” place to work; but there is no end to the number of times I have to pull other peoples’ weight because of daycare/babysitter/school/sickness issues. I can see how kids/family can make a person more focused…when they’re here. I’m still working nights and weekends as a single guy, though.

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Profile Photo Emi Whittle

It depends on what your goals are as a parent, partner, and person (imho)!
If your goals are to fulfill all of those things – then yes, you must become efficient AND prioritize – or you become efficient because you have prioritized.
I have learned that indeed, time and energy are precious, valuable, and most definitely LIMITED. I have also learned that quality time that lacks sufficient quantity is IMPOSSIBLE. Maybe we can get away with sporadic, brief interchanges with people with whom we already have long-standing and well-established relationships, but with our children and our partners and even ourselves as we grow in life are on-going investments. Particularly with children who are learning and growing constantly, with parenting as a priority we must constantly invest more time and energy into establishing and re-establishing that relationship on a continual basis. Likewise, with our life-partners, if we are making that relationship a priority which we hope will carry far and intimately into the future, that investment must be constant and able to be re-established time and time again. So, what falls to the wayside? Perhaps it is socializing – making new friends, keeping up the same way we used to with old friends, hobbies and outside interests…. and yet to maintain ourselves as an individual person, we have to have at least some of those….
The thing I keep in mind is what I say over and over and over – everything in life is a trade off. If we are lucky, we get to pick and choose which things to trade and when to trade! And, perhaps with more luck, we become better at picking the trades that mean the most….. and we maximize our efficiency at trading!

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Profile Photo Doug Mashkuri

Great topic.

I think it does make you more efficient as compared to your prior self BK (Before Kids). In general, I don’t think one can say people with kids are more efficient than those without but I do think it forces you as an individual to make the most of the available hours you can dedicate to your job. BK – I knew I could work late to finish projects, work on weekends etc. which took some pressure off getting things accomplished during the work day or week. Post kids (PK), I have to budget my time more strictly.

Overall, success and results have remianed consistent (BK and PK) – it’s just that I am accomplishing similar tasks/jobs in less hours.

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Profile Photo Steve Ressler

Good points Emi. I think it is hard as growing up people tell us we can have everything – perfect job, friends, family, partner, kids…but as get older, it is a “trade-off.” For example, do you think Albert Einstein was a great friend or husband or parent? Probably not…He emphasized one thing very greatly…over the others.

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Profile Photo Bethan Tuttle

Since I’ve been a parent of two, I’ve become much more efficient in how I use my time, as I’ve had less time to spend on work. Prior to kids, a 60+ hr work week was not an issue at all, and I would say ‘yes’ to a lot without considering time as a constraint. Since having kids, in order to stay effective and relevant, I’ve had to prioritize much more intelligently.

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Profile Photo Joshua Salmons

I think we’re getting into two veins here. On the one, does having kids/family make a person more complete? I think yes. All of the soul searching, growth, fulfillment stuff makes sense. I would be a “happier” person if I had a family, sure. There are no end to movies that show the miserable workaholic compared to the happy family person–from Dickens’ Christmas Carol to The Family Man.

But to say having a family makes someone a more efficient employee is a bit of a stretch, in my opinion. I’m constantly told by job interview experts and job hunting specialists not to give the fact that you might have kids away–that employers sometimes see family as a hit to productivity. There’s a reason for the stigma. And I see it.

As a single guy. I work. I get things done. I work extra. I’m leaned on by my bosses. I come early. I stay late. Married coworkers? Nope. Kids get sick (constantly). Daycare closes. School closes. Babysitters fall through. Pink eye! Married coworkers often lament never having time to see movies they want, or go out to eat, or spend time with friends. Many are absolutely miserable and worn out. Scary!

Are they “more complete” in the long run? I’d say yes. American men who marry live an average of seven years longer than single men. Are those with kids more efficient as an employee? If the workday was only 9-5, perhaps. Married people know that 5 is a hard deadline. Sink or swim…there’s soccer practice to get to! Yet more and more, work and personal life bleeds over. Teleworking is more common–all that.

If I can publish more reports or get more projects completed during nights, weekends, holidays, compared with my married competition, who’s more efficient? I think there’s professional advantages to one; personal advantages to another. Just my $0.02.

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