How to balance work and love
Work and relationships can be two of the most significant things in a person’s life. It doesn’t matter whether you’re self-employed or the CEO of someone else’s company, if you’re committed to working long hours and have major responsibilities, then it’s very possible your love life will be affected. To avoid this and in order to keep both your love and professional life running smoothly, it’s necessary to have a plan, to be proactive about it and to take it seriously.
The biggest challenge for people who have demanding jobs is finding enough time to do everything that they want or need to. This doesn’t simply mean maintaining healthy relationships with others, but also with themselves. The first thing you need to know if you have this problem, is that you have as much time in the world as you will be ever need. Your issue is more to do with what you are prioritising and communicating to the people around you.
It’s understood that dividing your time and being strict about the hours you keep sounds easy, but that in practise is subject to all manner of unexpected events. Deadlines loom sooner than expected and emergencies mean that time allotted to other commitments gets interrupted.
Our advice here is to try forgoing the temptation of operating in slots of any less than three or four hours long. When it comes to splitting your time, where possible allot mornings, afternoons or evenings, rather than trying to sandwich love and work between each other. It may mean overtime one day to compensate for a free afternoon on another, but it makes overlap less of a problem and you gain a bigger pocket of time to relax or work in.
It’s always more feasible if you can, to think in terms of days or blocks of time rather than single hours. There are less of these to work with and less room for confusion.
Give yourself a fighting chance
By attempting time off with your work phone in one pocket just in case and your iPad in your bag, you give yourself less chance of success and more chance of anxiety than if you simply left them both behind. If they’re with you then there’s more chance of you checking-in during a quiet moment waiting for your partner, or on route somewhere in the back of a taxi. Anything you see and want to deal with, will likely be on your mind for the rest of your time off.
To make an equal commitment to both love and work you need to treat each of them with the same level of respect. This means that if you don’t take personal calls at work, then you don’t take work calls in your personal life. If you won’t cancel a work meeting for a personal engagement, then vice versa should also be true. Try to uphold standards that can be applied equally, it takes away the sporadic element and guesswork, for yourself and others.
Get your priorities in order
Getting your priorities in order means being extremely honest with yourself and the people around you about what you value most. Is it your work or your relationship? You need to be aware of the answer on a conscious level and then once you know, acknowledge that what you value most is not the only thing you value.
Have a mental or written list of your priorities, this should act as a cue to remind you about the order in which you are bound, by an ultimate goal, to do things. For example, do family events such as birthdays, or your partner’s children coming to stay, take top priority over weekend work? Or are meetings with a particular client always honoured regardless of what’s happening in your personal life? Make these decisions in advance and don’t attempt to fool yourself or others about the reality of it.
Let people know your schedule in advance
Let lovers, colleagues and clients know in advance what your plans are for the ahead week or month if possible, so no one is surprised at your level of availability. As well as being great communication and an excellent way to manage people’s expectations, it’s also key to spotting patterns in others. Watch out for the people who actively disregard plans you’ve made with others, people who always seem to need something at the last minute, or who consistently expect more than is due. Do not allow these people to control your entire life and make your position clearer to them.
Identify your ultimate goal
Finally, what’s your ultimate aim in life? Is it to be remembered as a professional who was always available, or as a partner who sometimes showed up? Everyday we make the bed in which our future self will rest, so be conscious, focus on the now and use your time wisely. Be generous with it for the things that truly matter to you.
Written by Tori Ufondu for Macbeth Matchmaking