How Some Unselfishness Helps a Great Deal With Family Time Management

family time management skillsMy days have been busy with having a day job, spending family life and getting my online business off the ground.

Even if this wasn’t enough, I have been an athlete, competing in marathons and triathlons as well. These hobbies are very time consuming – especially if you want to succeed.

When it comes to my successes in these sports, the results varied.

Sometimes I was able to climb up to the highest ladder on the podium (for example I became a Finnish championship in cross triathlon in 2008 with 1 km of swimming (0.6 miles), 15 kilometers of riding a mountain bike (9.3 miles) and 7 kilometers of running (4.3 miles)) or running a marathon with in a very decent time (3.15.28 is my personal best).

Then, things changed as me and my wife had a baby in 2011. My plans for racing my first IronMan distance triathlon had to go and I decided to slow down my exercising pace, since I wanted to dedicate more time with my family.

The racing season 2012 ended in October and I had made a decision that was a biggie for me but would also help my family: I decided to quit racing.

There is only so much you can do …

Let’s put things straight: I love sports and I love competing. For the most parts it’s against myself, but at times I loved how I had to give out 100% of me to reach the podium places.

At the same time, being an endurance athlete is very time consuming – especially if you want to do the job well. And even though if you aren’t a professional one, you still want to do your exercises and races as well as possible.

There is nothing wrong with this if you have all the time in the world, but having a family and building your online business on the side, either one is going to be affected. And truth to be told, I didn’t want to jeopardize the time with my family with mediocre racing results (yes, even if I reached some podium places).

I realized two things: I was spreading myself too thin and I couldn’t have it all – at once.

Having too many activities at once wasn’t helping me to focus on my family, nor was it giving me enough time for my online business.

Also, having everything right now wasn’t realistic. I knew that certain things could just wait and I could try them later if I wanted (like racing in an IronMan race).

Everything has it’s time and place

When the season 2012 started; I decided to reduce the amount of training. And even with this decision I felt guilty: Every minute I spent on exercising I wasn’t spending with my family.

So what made me still to hold on to exercising and to sports so tightly – even when I had a wife and a baby?

Well, I had changed my lifestyle radically couple of years ago – by turning myself from a coach potato to an athlete. I was thinking that if I had to give up racing, I’d end up being a coach potato again.

But there was another, bigger concern that made me feel guilty too and it was my spouse’s well-being. You see, our “me time” balance was somewhat out of whack.

I might come home from work, put my training gear on, leave the home and come back hours later after an exercise. This somewhat worked when there were just two of us, but now – after having a baby – things were different.

I was working 8 hours a day at the office, while my wife was taking care of our son at home during that time. And when I had my exercises in the evening, her own time was pretty much non-existent.

I wanted to improve our personal time usage for the better. This would result a better time balance inside the family and my wife would have at least a moment for her own time, once a day.

How to spend more time with your family

You might have a similar situation in your life too where something is taking a lot of your time. Then, when your family grows, you have to make decisions and change your priorities to reflect the new situation.

In order to have a better time balance inside your family, consider the following steps:

1. See from their perspective. Try to figure out what your spouse is going through. Talk with him/her and see what his/her day looks like. Then reflect that information to your life and see is everything you do really necessary right now.

2. Be unselfish. Don’t just think of yourself, think others too. Even if this means giving up on something, then this is how it’s going to be.

Some unselfishness will make a lot of good for your family and keeps everyone happy.

3. Feel grateful what you have now. Appreciate the fact that you have a family. Especially if your kids are still small, try to spend as much time with them as possible.

Also, make sure you and your spouse have enough common time together.

4. Things are just temporary.  Realize that when you give up on something, it’s perhaps just temporary.

In my case the decision was to give up on racing for a couple of years, but at the same time I knew that I’m able to continue later again if I wanted.

This made my initial decision of quitting racing much easier.


When a baby arrives in your home, your life will change. It’s also important to understand, that sometimes you have to temporarily give up on something – even if you are passionate about it.

This is for the good of your family, as you are making an unselfish decision to focus on them – instead of your personal activities.

Spend more time with your family now – and especially with your kids. They truly appreciate that.

And by the way, ever since I made the decision to quit racing, I felt relieved. And now when I exercise (with much less intensity than before), I have more time to enjoy it.

Over to you: What was the thing you had to let go when you formed a family?

Timo Kiander

  • There is always a point early in raising a family that you have to decide what you’re going to give up. Kudos to you for making more time for the truly valuable things in life!

    I’ve had to really cut back on the time I spend playing golf. I used to get out once or twice a week (and I wished I could play every day). But the time and money that I put into golf could be much better used towards family. So now it is a couple times a year.

    But my daughter is now eager to learn to play golf (and my son is showing interest too) which means I may have the opportunity to enjoy playing more often AND spend quality time with my children!

    So now you can look forward to the time when your son will join you as you both lace up and head out to train for a triathlon together.

    • Timo Kiander

      Hi Bill!

      Sure, I’m looking forward to compete in a same triathlon race with my son in the future :)

      Anyway, even if I’m passionate about sports, I know that giving up is temporary and I’ll get back to competing in a couple of years (I’m not in a hurry).

      But until then, I want to spend as much time with my family as possible (and build my online business too).


  • I found one of the most useful habits to get into is “work as a team”. When you get home from work you’re tired and so is your partner…don’t try to outdo one another in the “I’ve had a hard day” stakes – help each other with the evening routine and enjoy some family time to boot.

    It’s really hard to make sacrifices, particularly if you’ve worked hard to achieve something previously. But if your time, energy and attention were a pie I’m sure many of us (if we’re honest) have been guilty of giving ungenerous portions to the ones who are most important in our lives.

    It’s one of the reasons I’m trying to find ways to reduce the time it takes me to do the things I must to live, but which I value the least.

    • Timo Kiander


      I agree.

      You just have to realize what is important in your life and give up on those things (at least temporarily) what you might be passionate about.

      I have realized that time flies fast and I want to spend as much time with my family as possible.


  • Aparna

    Nice article… I have 2 small kids and they really take up my time… It was a bit tough in the previous year… but now, things are coming back to normal. Kids have started to become independent. This gives a bit of free time. I had completely given up cooking, which I loved. Now, I am able to make breakfast and lunch for my spouse…

  • Hector

    I came to this same conclusion a few years ago and I gave up my gym membership and the hours I use to spend exercising. It’s not forever and now my littlest one is more independent so I’ve finally started exercising again. It feels great and I’m glad I took the time to adjust my priorities then.

    • Timo Kiander

      Hi Hector!


      Giving up is easier when you remember it’s probably temporary.

      Your children grow up very fast and you just can’t turn the clock back to the time when they were little.


  • Ita

    I stopped playing piano, guitar and sax for most of the first nine years after we started our family. Despite the fact that I said that would never happen to me, it was just so hard to find the time. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that we lived in an apartment building. By the time the kids went to sleep, it was too late to play because of noise for the neighbors.

    When we moved to a new home, I finally had a place to put my electric piano and guitar where there was no baby in the same room. I slowly began to play again, and quickly remembered just how much I was missing it!

    I still play a lot less than before I had kids, but I now make it my business to find some time for me. I decided that I cannot wait for them to grow up, or I’ll never get to play! (If you keep having kids, then even when the older ones grow up a little, there are still always babies!)

    So I play less, but loads more than I used to! The kids and the house still take up most of my time, but I try to find a little time for me too.

    • Timo Kiander

      Hi Ita!

      I guess we all have to do some adjustments when we have children in our home.

      The great thing is of course that things aren’t permanent and later you’ll have another chance to focus on your hobby (or other meaningful thing) if you wish so.

      Thanks for the input!


      • Ita

        I think part of the key for me was to realize that while “things aren’t permanent”, I was going to be waiting a VERY long time for “things” to change, if I didn’t choose to find a way to change them myself. In other words, *I* needed to make a change in order for change to happen.
        I am a mother of a large and still growing family. Without a conscious decision to find some time for what I want to do, I could reasonably expect not to find any time for myself for quite a number of years ahead!
        I know this post was about “unselfishness” – I have certainly adjusted many things over my years of motherhood. But I have also found that just a little bit of “me” time can also sometimes help me to be a happier, more giving mother too!

        • Timo Kiander

          Me time is very important. With some personal time, the daily family life becomes more manageable.


  • When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends and activities that help you recharge.

    • Timo Kiander

      Hi Randy!

      Yes, that’s very important!

      Your family should be one’s first priority.