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Dad and productivity expert shares why he and his wife give each other 'family PTO'

The gift of time is the best thing you can give to your spouse.

parenting strategies, PTO, matt ragland

A father cooking with his son

Any manager knows that giving people time off isn’t just good for the employee, but for the company as well, because it increases productivity when they’re back at work. “The productivity, creativity, bringing new ideas forward isn’t the person who’s working crazy hours,” said Katie Denis, VP and lead researcher at Project: Time Off tells LinkedIn. “It’s someone who’s getting outside of their day-to-day.”

Much like a battery, people need time to recharge.

“There is a lot of research that says we have a limited pool of cognitive resources,” says Allison Gabriel, an assistant professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University, according to Inc.com. “When you are constantly draining your resources, you are not being as productive as you can be. If you get depleted, we see performance decline. You’re able to persist less and have trouble solving tasks.”


If people need time off to be effective at work, then it should be the same for parents. A parent at wit’s end can’t be effective without a substantial break from their kids. Without getting some downtime, parents are at risk of having a serious case of burnout.

Matt Ragland, an expert in productivity and the creator economy, agrees. That’s why he’s taken his professional know-how and carried it over to his life as a father. In a viral tweet he sent on July 23, Ragland explains how he and his wife will start giving each other PTO or paid time off.

“My wife and I are working on a family PTO (parent’s time off) plan,” he wrote on Twitter. “Here’s what we are starting with: 1 night per week, Half day weekend per month, One full weekend day per quarter.”

With Ragland’s plan, one parent watches the kids solo while the other recharges, and then they switch.

“Parenting little kids is one of the most meaningful parts of life, but the gift of time is one of the best ways to support your spouse,” he continued. “We use these times to meet friends, sleep in, go camping, play golf (me), long runs (her), read and journal, or just chill. It’s hard to run life’s race on an empty tank, and these times are great ways to refuel and recharge.”

This arrangement is excellent because it mutually benefits both people in the marriage. Plus, they should have no problem letting the other person enjoy their time off because they want to enjoy theirs, too. It’ll also provide some relief on super stressful days when they have a day off just around the corner and know they have time off coming soon.

The kids will probably enjoy having parents with recharged batteries, too.

The plan was a hit with Ragland’s followers, many of whom say they want to implement it in their families.

One of the hardest things about being a parent is waking up and wondering who you are because you gave so much time and attention to your family that you forgot about yourself. Ragland’s plan is great because it gives parents back not only some of their time, but a sense of themselves as well.

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