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Men Today

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How men can make more time for family

When analyzing the role of men in the household, it's clear that those roles have changed over the years. Data from the American Time Use Survey and the Pew Research Center reveals that in 2011 men were spending far more time performing household duties than they were in 1965. Men spent 10 hours per week on chores in 2011, which is more than double the amount of time (four hours) they devoted to household duties in 1965.

Despite that more active role at home, many men still feel they are not spending enough time with their children. The Pew survey, which examined more than 2,500 adults, found that 46 percent of fathers felt they weren't spending enough time as they wanted to with their kids. Professional commitments keep many men from spending ample time with their kids, and while it many not be realistic for most fathers to walk away from their careers, there are steps men can take to make more time for their families.

* Don't overextend yourself at the office. Much is made of how today's youngsters have more hectic schedules than those of yesteryear. But it's not just kids who are overextending themselves. Fathers who can't say no at the office might be legends in the boardroom, but that willingness to take on extra work could be cutting into the time they spend with their families. Learn to delegate more at the office, taking on only what you can handle in a normal day's work. Taking on too many responsibilities can significantly cut into the time you have available for family.

* Turn off the television. After a long day at the office, it can be tempting to come home and unwind in front of the television. But you might be spending more time in front of the tube than you think, and that time on the couch is valuable time that could be spent connecting with your family. In its 2011 American Time Use Survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that individuals age 15 and over spent more than half of their leisure time watching television. While bonding over a favorite movie or television show can bring families closer together, keeping the television on as background noise during dinner or other times of the day can make it harder for families to connect and share meaningful conversation. Turn the television off when eating dinner and work to reduce the time you and your family spend in front of the TV.

* Leave the office at a set time every day. The demands of a successful career can be significant, and many fathers admit to sacrificing family time for the sake of their careers. But it's possible to have a successful career and still spend more time with your family. One trick is to leave your office at a reasonable time every day, regardless of work demands. Making it home for family dinners each night can have a profound impact on your children. A survey from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that the more children have dinners with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs. Men who want to spend more time with their families should make it a priority to leave their jobs at a set time each day, regardless of their workload. Technology has made it possible to stay connected to your work even when you aren't in the office, so you can always get things done at home after dinner with your family while the kids are doing their homework.

* Stop working on weekends. Men who travel often for business or those who simply cannot get away from the office on weeknights should reserve their weekends for time with the family. Don't take your work home with you on the weekend and don't check your email until you go back to work on Monday. Work-related distractions, such as checking your email on your smartphone, can take away from the time you have with your family.