Prioritizing your busy schedule over your partner is one of the biggest relationship killers, according to Lisa Brateman, a psychotherapist and relationship specialist in New York City. Yet in this digitized world where emails and text messages are as common as a breath of air, it's easy to fall into the trap of not making enough time to face-to-face interaction with your significant other, family, and friends.
While time management must be a priority, there are some mindset changes that must take place if you want to show the people in your life that they matter.
Stop procrastinating when you're supposed to be working.
This may seem simple, but you'll be surprised by how much time one scroll down your favorite social media network will take out of your day. Sometimes we spend time on things that may be more appealing than the next task on our to-do list, but our relationships pay the price.
Use the time you're supposed to be working properly so that you aren't taking work home. Go to the meetings that matter. Leave the ones that do not matter ensuring you keep your supervisor and the meeting organizer in the loop. Close your office door or reserve space in a conference room to give you the solitude you need.
You have the time - you just have to use it wisely so that your activities don't spill over into relationship time.
2. Make the decision that it’s a priority.
This one is another no-brainer - decide that it's a priority through your actions, not just your words. Schedule time with the people who you consider to be a priority in your life.
I personally block schedule my free time and make an effort to connect with family and friends. I even have a recurring appointment in my phone that reminds me to call my grandfather, for example. Successful couples make a habit of having scheduled date nights, time away from the kids, and even trade off babysitting with other couples.
According to Psychology Today, "Partners who do things together become more closely connected and come to enjoy each other’s company. That’s because shared experiences give them something in common and that helps make them feel good about each other."
You can use this same principle when scheduling time with friends. Find shared activities that you both enjoy. Follow the same ideals at work and you will strengthen relationships in the office which will make asking for that long week off or that new project that much easier to get past.
3. Realize that nothing has to get done right now.
Often when you're in a decision-making position at work you feel things have to get done at that moment. That's rarely true.
You can afford to look up from your computer when a coworker comes by to say hello. You don't have to read that next email when your boyfriend is telling you how exciting his community sports league is going. Nothing bad will happen if you let the phone ring when your boss called instead of interrupting the movie you and your kid picked out together to answer it.
If that seems too much for you, ask yourself if this is really your priority and refer back to number two.
We've created much of the urgency we feel, and when we accept that busyness is detrimental to our relationships we can correct our quick reactions and slow down to appreciate the now.
If you understand nothing else from this article, remember that every decision you make is a conscious choice to either build or damage the relationships in your life. When you truly prioritize the relationships in your life you will notice you no longer have to make time for them, they become an integral part of your schedule and it's something you consider when you look at your weekly tasks.
It's time to start working like you know you can. You need an air-tight productivity strategy and if you're near the Washington, DC area I have a masterclass this June. There are only a few spaces left - so save your spot as soon as you can!