Five things I learned as a new father

It’s been exactly four weeks since my son Oliver came to my life. These four weeks have flown by so fast and I’ve watched a tiny newborn become a grown infant.

1. We adapt very fast

I need a lot of sleep to function (more than 8 hours). I was hoping to get one more weekend to recover from project work but of course, Oliver came three days early. Around midnight, we raced to the birthing center and at 2:23 AM, I saw him for the first time. For the next several days, I was running on adrenaline. At day four, I crashed. Even then, sleep only happened in small naps. My wife and I became irritable and cranky. Now at week four, life is “normal.” I’m able to function well with just three hours of sleep and sporadic naps during the day. There’s something to be said for the human desire to live and our ability to adapt to changing demands.

2. You are not the center of the universe

The little guy doesn’t care that you have an important meeting coming up. He doesn’t work with your schedule. I had no control over anything. Accepting that freed me from the illusion of control.

3. You can’t do it all, prioritize

When your day is taken over with constant diaper changes, feeding, and napping, there’s little time for any frivolous activities. It’s hard to dedicate time to complete to-do’s so you quickly learn to focus on the most important things first. In the first few days, we were still on our rhythm of keeping the house tidy and taking care of chores.

4. Take care of yourself first

Like they say on the airplane, put on your oxygen mask first before helping out others. If you’re passed out, you aren’t much use. I quickly learned that this is a marathon, not a sprint. That means taking me time to recharge, saying no more than yes, and being healthy.

5. Do what matters

Finally, all the goals I had went straight down the drain. Climbing the corporate ladder, getting accolades, and hobbies no longer were as important. So much of our lives is filled up with useless activities. Oliver isn’t the center of my world but he now taking up a good chuck of my focus. That means legacy projects are now off the books and a new set of priorities will come out.


Published by Daniel Hoang

Daniel Hoang is a visual leader, storyteller, and creative thinker. As an experienced management consultant, he believes in a big picture approach that includes strong project leadership, creative methods, change management, and strategic visioning. He uses a range of visual tools to communicate business challenges, solutions, and goals. His change strategy is to build "tribes" of supporters and evangelists to drive change in culture and organization. Daniel is an avid technologist and futurist and early adopter.