Portland Relationship Counselor: Designate Time for Life Balance

May 14, 2014 by

Have you ever found yourself checking your phone at dinner, sneaking a look at your work email while you’re with your partner, or thinking about the chores you still need to do while playing with your kids? If you answered yes, you’re certainly not alone. We live in a culture where multitasking and constant busy-ness is encouraged and viewed as a hallmark of success. But spreading yourself too thin across too many activities can damage your relationships with your partner and your family.

There’s no such thing is a perfect “work-life balance,” but you can strive to be fully present in all of your activities and interactions. One thing you can try to help yourself achieve this is designating time for specific activities. For example, if you work from home, you might set certain hours when you’re staying focused in your home office, but then set 6 pm as a “cut-off” time when you stop all work and start spending time with your family.

Ideas for Designating Your Time

There are many different ways you can designate your time—the key is to talk to your family to determine what works best for everyone and to agree on certain time boundaries that you’ll hold each other accountable for. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Have a family dinner. Eating with other people is an important social event, and having dinner with your family is a great way to catch up and bond. Some families make it a goal to eat together every night, but if your family’s schedule makes this difficult to do, set a goal to eat together at least 2 or 3 nights a week. Designate your family dinner as a no-phone time so that everyone is fully engaged for at least 20 or 30 minutes.

Have guilt-free play time with your kids. If you have young kids, set aside a certain amount of time to play with them, and designate this as a “guilt-free” time. That means that during this time, you’re not going to let yourself worry about work, chores, or any other stressors—you’re going to enjoy the time with your kids and save work for the time you’ve set aside for business.

Go to bed at the same time as your partner. Going to bed with your partner allows you some time to be together with just the two of you, even if the rest of your day has been hectic. It can also help the two of you establish a regular sleep schedule, which will make you happier and healthier in the long run.

Plan weekly date nights. Family time is important, but you also need time with just your partner in order to keep your relationship strong. I always advocate for weekly date nights that you stick to—no excuses. You don’t need to do anything elaborate or expensive on your dates; even just making a nice dinner after the kids are in bed or going for a weekend bike ride gives you a chance to spend quality time together.

If you and your partner need help coming up with more ways that you can better use your time together, don’t hesitate to visit a Portland relationship counselor. I’d be happy to offer my advice and give you and your partner a space to talk together.