Quality Time Myth


American author Jerry B. Jenkins debunks the "quality time" myth and shares how maintaining his priorities benefits his work.

My wife and I long ago set a policy that prohibited me from bringing home any work from the office and from doing any writing from the time I got home from work until the time the kids went to bed. (Of course, sometimes we put them to bed at 4:30 in the afternoon.)

Bottom line: no writing when the kids were at home and awake. This pushed my only available freelance writing time to late at night.

I had to rise early every day to get from the suburbs into Chicago, so I had to be in bed no later than midnight. That meant that during my three sons’ early years, my writing window was roughly nine to midnight.

I’m not a night person, but I had no choice. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you have only three-hour blocks.

I was more productive during those years, in terms of the number of pages produced and books published, than any time since — even after going freelance full-time.

The major benefit to me as a writer? No guilt. I told my kids they were my top priority, and if I had made that a lie by always being busy when they were around, I’d have written under a burden of guilt.

Kids — and spouses — may hear what you say, but they believe what you do.

Maintain your priorities, and your work will benefit.

Too many parents fall for the myth of Quality Time. It goes like this: If you can’t spend a lot of time with your kids, make sure the time you do spend is quality time.

But to kids, quality is quantity.

Invest the time, and they all get what they need.

Writing needs to be a high priority. But for as long as you have a family, writing should never be number one.

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