The key to happiness lies in your priorities. It’s about finding balance between the most important aspects in life: love, work, and taking the time for yourself to actually LIVE!
It can seem like a challenge to maintain this balance. If you feel a bit overwhelmed, you’re far from alone.
So many people struggle with devoting most of their time and energy to their work, to the extent that we’ve labeled them “workaholics”. People who love television or gaming, and indulge in these things more often than anything else? We call them “couch potatoes”.
Above all else, one of the things that most people struggle the most to find enough time for is their relationships. That’s what I’m going to tackle in this installment of the Passion for Life series.
Many people act as though a little give and take each day is enough to maintain a healthy relationship, and as long as the certainty is there that the other partner will stay with them… why try any harder when there’s already so much else to do in a day?
I’ve already debunked the concept of a 50/50 effort in a relationship as being efficient before.
Long story short: If each person is only ‘doing their half’ and expecting the other to do the same, rather than investing their whole being into the relationship… how can either one of them ever feel fulfilled?
The key to happiness in a relationship is finding balance. Finding balance starts with changing your priorities.
Career-driven people often invest so much time into their job that it doesn’t end when they leave the building they’re employed at.
One frequent complaint that I hear from my clients is, “I don’t feel like my spouse is actually with me when they’re home from work.”
To feel lonely when you’re with another person is such a travesty. It’s something that can be easily avoided by simply committing to being emotionally and mentally present when you’re with the people you love.
One of the best ways for finding balance is to make them as important in your daily routine as your biggest priorities.
I’ve talked about the “time-blocking” method before to increase overall productivity, but this still applies to your relationships as well. Your closest loved ones deserve their own “block” of time in your day, several times a day where possible, every single day.
After having finished working, you should log off your computer entirely. Yes, that’s right. It might be difficult at first, especially if you are the type of person who tends to obsess, or if you’re determined to finish something fully before you can feel comfortable letting it go.
That can be changed. It is time you step away from the computer and spend quality time with those important in your life. Even if you do love your job, this will not mean you started hating it. It simply means that, in this way, you will be fully present while spending time with your loved ones.
Hanging out with your loved ones should be all about reconnecting your hearts – not just simply being in the room with them. When was the last time you enjoyed a quiet evening with your partner? Do you remember how relaxing that is? If not, maybe it’s time you be reminded of that.
Finding balance is impossible if you don’t get rid of your distractions to be fully present.
Let go of your distractions. Log out of your e-mail address completely. Letting go of your distractions is a lot easier when you make use of all the brilliant tools now available at your fingertips thanks to the digital age!
- Can’t log out of your e-mail, because you’re expecting an important message? Get an app for your e-mail and set up audio notifications instead of sitting in front of a computer, clicking refresh repeatedly, and getting sidetracked along the way.
- Automate your business’s social media accounts with tools like PostPlanner, so that you don’t have to worry about it while you’re not working.
- Set your phone to only notify you if it’s important. This handy guide, adapted for Iphones and Androids alike, will show you how to make it easier to keep your hands off of the phone more often, so that you can focus on engaging with the people who are right in front of you.
Working more efficiently is a great way to leave you with more free time if you’re self-employed or even just working from home. You can read more about this here, but one valuable and stupid-simple method you can use right now is timers.
Set timers. For everything. If you think that this is just something a child should do to learn time management skills, you’re mistaken! Time continues to escape us even into adulthood, and setting timers is one of the simplest ways to figure out how long everything takes.
Challenge yourself every day to see how quickly you can accomplish daily tasks. “My goal is to see how much of this task I can get done in one hour.” Set a timer, and get going. Gradually reduce the time you allow yourself to do it, and test your limits!
Schedule your own downtime just as purposefully as your workday.
You read that right. Sometimes, we feel guilty or selfish when we take the time to plan personal time. I can assure you, it’s not selfish – it’s even healthy for you.
As a matter of fact, you’d be doing everyone else a favor; if you have no time to relax and decompress by doing the things you enjoy, it’s likely that you’re going to be too emotionally drained to be any fun to talk to.
What is it that you enjoy doing? Whether it is a good book, a jazz concert, a soccer night, allow yourself to do it once in a while. Keep this in mind: a little relaxing time comes a long way, not only for you, but also for those surrounding you.
Better yet, find a way to include your loved ones in your leisure time every now and then. By doing that, you’re showing them that you’re willing to make them important enough to include them in your “me-time”. I can guarantee that they’ll be honored and flattered!
Plan ahead for special activities with your loved ones.
When planning a week ahead, schedule different activities with your family and friends; this way, you get to bond and keep in touch. Having something fun to look forward to is an excellent incentive to keep managing your time at work more efficiently.
Easy things to do with your family that cost little to nothing at all:
- Thumb through your community calendar and look for an event or festival your family could attend, and plan time off for it. You might be surprised at how many things there are to do!
- Browse the groups on Meetup.com to find a family-friendly group that you can join in your area.
- Make a board game night that your family can look forward to, weekly, bi-weekly, or once a month.
- Have friends with kids? Invite them and your own family to the park to play some games. Younger kids can toss sacks into a bucket, or hold a hula-hooping contest. Kids of all ages can enjoy a game of HyperDash – one that has been a favorite in my own family for years. Even the teenagers were willing to play it with my youngest daughter!
- Find a restaurant that your whole family loves, and plan one special night every month to go there. No phones allowed at the table! If your budget doesn’t permit a full dinner, go there for several platters of appetizers to share instead, or find a bakery to share some desserts after having dinner at home.
- Choose an extravagant recipe to make for dinner to surprise your spouse. They’re allowed to taste, but they’re not allowed to help! The cheapest recipes will be the ones that involve pasta or potatoes. Buy the ingredients, and get the kids involved with putting it together.
- Make some fresh-squeezed lemonade with the kids, and brew iced tea for the adults. Have a garage sale and sell it out front with everything else!
- Host a neighborhood potluck. Post ads for it on mailboxes and light posts. Invite your friends. Walk to your nearest neighbors and tell them to invite anyone else they happen to know inside or outside of the neighborhood. Have all attendees RSVP by phone or e-mail.
If you need some ideas for things to do with friends, check out this excellent list.
Commit to finding balance, and giving your 100% to everyone you care about, starting today – and watch how all of your relationships blossom!