When you think about conflicts within your relationships, do you often blame those challenges on a lack of time?
Relationships take time to nurture, develop, and sustain, which is why many people struggle to devote an adequate amount of time to them. So, if you aren’t prioritizing your current (or prospective) relationships, have you asked yourself why not?
Time management isn’t just important at the office. Poor time management can lead to issues at work and in your relationships outside of work. In fact, poor time management can be so detrimental to your relationships that it can negatively impact your chances of finding and sustaining a relationship with a significant other. If a relationship is important to you, you need to make time for it.
Here’s how to better plan your time to prioritize your relationship, whether you currently have a partner or are seeking one.
The Link Between Time Management and Quality of Life
When it comes down to it, time management is the only means of control any of us have over the passage of time. Many people want to spend that time in the companionship of a loving partner who supports and encourages them throughout life, so managing that time can help to create a relationship that is sustainable even during hard times.
But how? Researchers at the University of Georgia discovered that individuals who practice good time management experience many benefits, including:
- Higher productivity
- More energy
- Less stress
- More free time
- Increased positive interactions with others
- Greater self-confidence
While it’s easy to imagine how these benefits can positively impact your professional life, imagine how they might affect your personal life — and your relationships — too. Regardless of the stage of a person’s relationship, all relationships benefit from less stress and more energy.
But it’s not just about how proper time management can positively impact your personal relationships; poor time management can negatively affect your relationships as well.
According to the Journal of Marriage and Family, individuals who properly managed their time to spend more of it with their partners were likely to experience greater happiness and meaning, as well as less stress. The study showed that individuals in a relationship experienced more happiness and less stress when they were together compared to when they were apart, regardless of a range of factors, such as whether both individuals worked or one individual in the relationship fulfilled a caretaker role.
The takeaway? If you have a partner, prioritize spending time with them.
The Importance of “Me Time”
Spending time with your partner — or friends, or family members — isn’t the only way to strengthen your relationships. How you spend time outside those relationships impacts them as well. By spending an adequate amount of time on personal and professional development, as well as on self-care, you can grow and change as a partner in a relationship that will also grow and change.
Self-development is also critical for anyone who’s searching for a partner because when you value yourself, others will value you too.
According to study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Elements Massage, researchers have found that couples who properly manage their time in a way that allows them not only to spend time together but also to enjoy “me time” apart from one another experience a healthier relationship overall. Some study participants indicated that the “me time” was just as important or more important for the relationship than the time they spent with their partners, and the ideal amount of “me time” was about six hours per week or one hour per day.
Spending Time Apart
Conversely, when you don’t manage your time well outside your relationship, it can create negativity within the relationship. In a University of Munster study, researchers found that even minor external stressors can have a “negative spillover effect” on the satisfaction a person experienced in the time they shared with their partner. Additionally, external factors such as work schedules can affect how negatively or positively individuals gauge their time spent together with their partners.
Based on these kinds of perceptions, it’s important to be mindful of how much time and what kind of time you and your partner need in a relationship and to adjust outside factors accordingly. Ensure that you’re not neglecting your relationship for work demands or other responsibilities.
Besides, you can’t be together all the time, so make your time away from your partner work in your favor.
4 Tips to Optimize Your Time Together
It’s not always easy to get time away from emails, text notifications, or the office, so how do you make the most of quality time with your partner? Here are a few tips.
1. Change your mindset
When you and your partner are together, make an effort to be fully present. Sincerely listen to one another and try to make your shared time enjoyable. Maintain a growth mindset about whatever it is you’re doing together. You’ll likely enjoy your time together if you put in the effort to do so and are receptive to one another. If you choose not to have a good attitude when you’re together, that’s time you can’t reclaim. Sometimes, learning how to prioritize time with a loved one is just as simple as asking yourself what truly matters and realizing that you won’t be able to spend that time with them forever.
2. Put down the technology
Too much tech time can damage a relationship. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can make more time for your relationship by leaving the office early to spend time with your partner if you plan to spend your evening hunched over your phone answering work emails. A University of Alberta study found that even minor digital distractions within a relationship can contribute to romantic dissatisfaction and that “people who were heavier technology users, or believed their partners to be heavier users, said they were less satisfied with their couple time and felt worse about their relationship.”
When spending quality time with your partner, make sure to give them your full attention and not succumb to technological distractions. And if you do need to answer emails, answer them before you spend time with a loved one, not during your time together.
3. Go for quality over quantity
If you have a hectic schedule and many responsibilities, you might not be able to spend as much time as you’d prefer to spend with your partner. If this is the case, make sure the time you do spend together is high quality by keeping it positive, thoughtful, and memorable.
Ask them compelling questions about their interests or experiences. Let them feel heard. Plan an activity that you both deem special and interesting.
4. Share and grow together
A partner isn’t just a person with whom you share room and board. A partner is a person who will grow alongside you as you share experiences with one another. Engage in exciting activities together, whether that’s learning a new recipe, exploring a new part of town, or making progress on hobbies either or both of you enjoy. If you feel that your relationship is stagnant, try to learn something new, such as salsa dancing (no matter how bad you may be at it) to reignite the spark.
Spending Time to Find Your Relationship
If you’re currently looking to begin a relationship or make new friends, the tips above are still applicable! Begin managing your time and prioritizing work-life harmony now as if you already have a significant other.
That way, when you begin a relationship in the future, you’ll have already put good habits in place. If you have no work-life harmony in place, you’ll have little room in your schedule for someone new to join you in your life.
Invest all the time you could be spending on a relationship in finding that relationship — or it may just never happen. If you spend enough time searching for love by meeting new people and making yourself available to new opportunities, you’ll likely eventually find the right partner for yourself. If you spend enough quality time with enough people, you have a greater chance of finding a person who shares your values and outlook on life. However, you’re not going to meet new potential partners sitting around on your couch watching Netflix all the time.
Invest your time in finding that relationship that matters most to you. If you find yourself unwittingly single, ask yourself, are you devoting as much time to finding the one as you would be spending if you already found them? If not, it’s time to reprioritize your time towards your search.
The Bottom Line
Planning your time to prioritize your relationship is good practice, whether you currently have a partner or are seeking one.
Poor time management can be detrimental to your relationships and negatively impact your chances of finding a partner. However, proper time management in any area of life is easier said than done. The key is to manage your time by prioritizing what matters most to you. If having a significant other is an important goal for you, it’s crucial you manage your time, and activities around that.
If you need assistance better managing your time in any aspect of your personal or professional life, consider working with an Arootah Life Coach. These skilled professionals support clients in learning how to identify their goals and make the life changes necessary to achieve them, whether that means investing more time in an existing relationship or learning better work-life harmony skills so they’re ready for a new relationship once it starts.
How do you manage time in your relationship? What tips are you excited to use? Let us know in the comments below!