There’s a lot of information about work-life balance. Work-Love balance is about creating space where you can be successful in both the work you are passionate about and the relationship you are passionate about. They aren’t mutually exclusive; they depend on each other.
While we can usually discover ways to be successful with our work, we may not have as clear a roadmap with our relationships. This means we need to devote time to learning about that portion of our life, as much as we focus on the work portion.
Balance means that each portion of your life gets the amount of attention that it needs. Notice that I didn’t say that they get the same amount of attention. There are times when work comes first and times when the relationship needs the time. Know how to prioritize. And stick to it. Doing work email on your phone sitting next to your partner at a play doesn’t cut it.
How are you at managing your time? If you tell your partner that you’ll be home in 15 minutes, do you pull into the driveway 2 hours later? Be honest with yourself and your partner with your time estimates. Make it a goal to get better about being consistent with time. If you consistently get home in 30 minutes when you say 30 minutes, then when the day comes that you need to be late, there’ll be no problem. If you’re always later than you estimate, then you’ll probably get the “I’ve heard that before!” comment with raised eyebrows!
It rarely works to blend work and relationships, so create a separate space for each. When you are in one space, then you will focus on work. When in the other, relationship. When in your office at work, it’s work. When on the living room couch, it’s relationship. You can create time spaces that work the same way. When you are both fixing dinner together, it’s about relationship.
The key is to not let one area overlap the other. Confusion happens. However, you can negotiate for a change and as long as both of you agree on the boundaries, then it can work. If it was a particularly bad day at work and you need to vent, ask if it would be OK to spend 10 minutes letting out the steam before you begin cooking dinner with each other. If you both agree then keep it to the agreed 10 minutes, then stop and get on with the relationship portion of the evening.
It also helps to define the physical boundaries and stay with them. Do not discuss work in the bedroom, is a good start. If you need to talk about work, pick a neutral place. In fact, having a rule like no laptops or cell phones allowed in the bedroom is an even better idea. Sex lives suffer in the bedroom when the cell phone goes off with an obnoxious ring tone or the laptop screams “You have mail!”
Playing with “near overlaps” of work and relationship can be fun and healthy. Invite your partner to have lunch once a week with you. Pick a place away from your work place and make the rule that no work talk is allowed. It’ll be difficult at first but you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day after connecting with your partner this way.
Work-Love balance is about prioritizing, time-management, creating space and above all, communication!
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