You work hard. You have so many responsibilities. So many people depend on you.
Which is precisely why you must work to become unreachable.
That doesn’t seem like a good thing, but it is. Richard Nixon, a workaholic himself, would say admiringly of Charles de Gaulle that his “aides knew that de Gaulle was almost completely inaccessible after he left his office at the end of the day. No one was to call him unless there was an emergency. His time with his family was his own and their own.”
As we’ve talked about, de Gaulle knew that work was temporary, but family was permanent. At the same time, de Gaulle managed to be a successful head of state because of the clear boundaries he drew. Just as work knew not to bother him at home unless it was essential, his family respected similar boundaries when he was at work. Nixon summed it up nicely: “He struck a balance that few are able to—neither job nor family came second. Each was in its own sphere.”
So must we. We must figure out how to be unreachable, so that whatever we are doing, we are present. When we are eating dinner, we are eating dinner, not also answering emails. When we are at the office, we are at the office, not being interrupted every three seconds. Neither work nor family is elevated above the other, each is just given its proper due, when it needs it. Each belongs in its own sphere.