💡 You can't be a "productive" father, husband and friend

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share here that little personal piece in the hope of helping others who might struggle as well. And get help from the ones who don’t!

I underestimated the impact of my « productive self » on my daily life around family and friends. And I am struggling :confused:.

For years, I felt there was a disconnect between my professional life and personal life.

I like productivity and minimalism. I like code that runs and works every time. I love taking quick decisions and moving on to the next challenge.

That was easy to take into account professionally: I became a productivity advocate, started a business as an Asana consultant and wrote a book on minimalism.

But as a father, husband and friend, I am struggling. I can’t apply the same systems. I can’t expect the same passion from people around me. I can’t choose the fastest solution every time and look for efficiency everywhere.

I grunt when a friend doesn’t want to use Zoom for a quick call. I get annoyed when picking up a restaurant among friends takes too long. I get impatient when my kids don’t act when I tell them to.

It took me years to realize it, and I am now starting a journey to change and make sure my kids don’t see me as the « productive jerk of a father » they have.

Does that resonate with anyone? Any advice?


Thanks for sharing @Bastien_Siebman!

I believe expectations have to be set differently between your professional and personal life. How you communicate with a colleague or direct report should be different than how you communicate with a friend. Your approach to this should be one where your colleague understands the protocol for efficiency whereas your friend might look to you as the expert and need guidance. If I got upset every time my family or friends couldn’t decide on a meal or when my mother-in-law didn’t recall her password for x service, I’d be a lonely boy. In my personal life I have to demonstrate patience and not let what I know frustrate me, but rather empower me. Empower me to help others so they can live a more productive life as well.

Setting these expectations will also help you better define what productivity means in both worlds. In my personal life, as crazy as it seems… productivity is defined as “quality time”. That doesn’t translate well in a professional setting when it’s all about the fast, low risk decision with high return. Efficiency in my personal life comes with consistency and consistency takes time.

We all see bleed over from our professional and personal lives. You aren’t alone. Plus, I’m sure you are more productive of a father, husband or friend than you give yourself credit for. After all… you are Bastien the Great!


You gave me a nickname, so I’ll address you as “Jerod the wise” from now on.

Interesting, thanks :heart:



Two articles that reflect on, and give context around, this struggle many are feeling:

(This one may be paywalled.)

I think Cal Newport (second link) must have read the Guardian one (first link) from a few years prior for his recent New Yorker article also leading with Merlin Mann!



Thanks I’ll have a look!

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. . . and another apropos short article I came across today:



Can’t wait to read that one!

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You need to be more gentle with your kids, so they don’t think you’re a jerk. Clarity and productivity are good, but it’s even better when your children respect and love you. If you continue to be so categorical, then neither your wife nor your children will stand it. You can be like this to your colleagues and friends, but not to your family. Because of this, there are often divorces. I read about this at breakupangels.com. My advice to you is to be more gentle with your loved ones.

Thanks @Joe , things are getting better and I am very gentle person overall :stuck_out_tongue:

The best parts of life happen outside of our expectations. Being “productive” is all about making things happen the way you think they should – quickly and efficiently. This makes sense in a work context, but when it comes to other people, your family, and your life outside of work, you should open yourself up to the surprises of life, the things you don’t know, and the things you could never expect. These will never be “productive” but they will be infinitely more meaningful. In my mind, the point of being productive in the first place should be to give you more time for these other incalculable experiences that make life worth living.


It sounds like you are trying to eat soup with a hammer.

You are focused on the wrong metrics, and thus picking up the wrong tool. The end goal of a job is to generate wealth (most often accomplished though efficiency increases). The goal of a relationship is to generate and maintain connection, this is almost always best accomplished by just being ‘fully present’ with the people you are around and respecting their way of getting to things.