How one leader set a trend by blocking his schedule for family time

A young professional father with a laptop bag on his shoulder and a baby in front of him
Balancing family priorities with a career can be difficult.


David Newson, founder of XNW Digital, recently joined Priya Krishnan and Paul Sullivan on The Work-Life Equation podcast to talk through his personal experience as both a working dad and a business leader.

Here are some key takeaways from their conversation.

Block off your schedule to spend time with family

David recounts his time as a new dad, including his fears around taking time off from work.

Although his business partners were respectful and refrained from emailing him during his parental leave, new concerns emerged. He began asking himself, “Well, wait a minute. What does this mean? I may be losing touch with work. What does that spell for me long-term?”

For many business professionals, these fears are a constant. 

Leaders can put their teams at ease by setting an example of what true balance looks like.

For David, this means blocking off his schedule for father-son time in the morning. 

“People understood, and they talked about it.” 

Sometimes, he says, his colleagues use this fun fact at speaking events, introducing him as “the guy who actually blocks out daddy time on his calendar.” 

He adds, “And everyone knows, don't ping him, don't bug him, don't write. He's doing his thing. And I have to say that that actually allows me to be a more present parent right in that moment because I'm not thinking, who's pinging me? What am I missing? I get to really stay focused there.”

By creating an example of being a present father, his colleagues feel free to prioritize their own families.

Remain focused during dedicated working hours


David says, “When you're focused on work, it goes back to intentionality.” 

He says that fully focusing in the moment, whether that is with his family or his team, allows him to enter “a flow state.”

Allowing himself to dedicate part of his day to being a dad, he finds that he’s able to fully focus on work when needed.

Here are some additional tips for leaders who want to create better work-life balance for their teams and themselves: 

1. Managers should model honesty and transparency
2. Encourage parents to be vocal about their responsibilities outside of work
3. Trust parents to do the challenging work – they are proven performers

To hear more insight from Paul and Priya’s conversation with David, click here to listen to the full podcast episode.
Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
A young professional father with a laptop bag on his shoulder and a baby in front of him