One of our categories for our posts is Work Life, usually said as “work life balance.” Especially when operating a small family run, or mom & pop business, there are additional stresses in the running of that business which would not be present otherwise. Considering that families who work together spend almost 24 hours a day with their business partners, be it a spouse or other family members, there is sometimes little time to decompress. Melissa and I have worked together for a long time and this surprises many people. One “trick” we instituted years ago is DHT, short for Designated Hug Time. Either of us can call out for a DHT (after business hours) with the idea of stopping everything else for an embrace. An embrace to remind each other that, first of all, we’re together because we want to be. And, to recognize that a stressor may be coming between us – and we can’t let it. We can discuss the issue, debate the issue, and hopefully, resolve the issue. But, when a DHT is called, hopefully without anyone begrudging the hug, a hug is in order. A truce of sorts is called. It is a way of keeping perspective on what is important. This might also come in handy in today’s COVID-19 world, in which people are working at home together, even if for different jobs.
Well, it’s about time David wrote this post! We keep a list of topics and this topic is David’s #134, meaning it has been on his list of things to write about for a long time. I have been eager for David to write about our DHTs because this topic is one of the easiest things for me to follow up. As everyone who knows David and me can probably guess, DHTs were David’s invention (I would never be creative enough to think of it!). I can’t say with certainty, but I seem to recall David suggesting DHTs during the “dark years” when we lived (and owned and operated our company) part time in Fort Myers, while helping my brother care for my mother. Those years were truly the most difficult in David’s and my personal and professional lives. We were often separated, living a bi-coastal life, due to the tremendous amount of time and effort required in caring for my mother. The time we spent in our Fort Myers home was stressful for many reasons, including the fact that our business, along with all of our employees, is based in Pompano Beach. During one or more crises involving Mom, Magnus, or something else, David suggested we adopt a new rule that he designated DHT. The rule is that, when one of us calls out “DHT,” the other of us must immediately stop what he/she is doing and engage in a tender and meaningful hug. Please feel free to adopt this policy in your everyday life. Hug power really works!