When you think about conflicts within your relationships, do you often blame these difficulties on a lack of time? Relationships take time to nurture, develop, and sustain, so many people struggle to devote an adequate amount of time to them. If you aren’t prioritizing your current (or prospective) relationships, ask 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. If something is important to you, you need to make time for it. Poor time management can be detrimental to your relationships and negatively impact your chances of finding and retaining a relationship with a significant other.
Planning your time to prioritize your relationship is a good practice whether you currently have a partner or are seeking one.
Time Management for Happiness
Time management is the only means of control you have over the passage of time. Many people want to spend their days in the companionship of a loving partner who supports and encourages them throughout life. Time management can sustain a relationship through hard times. As researchers at the University of Georgia pointed out, individuals who practice good time management experience a bevy of associated benefits. These benefits include higher productivity, more energy, less stress, more free time, increased positive interactions with others, and greater self-confidence.
It’s easy to imagine how proper time management and its benefits could positively change your working life but imagine how those benefits might impact your personal life as well. Regardless of the stage of a couple’s relationship, all relationships benefit from less stress and more energy. However, beyond its general overall benefits, time management can have other positive impacts on personal relationships, while poor time management can likewise have specific negative impacts on relationships.
According to the Journal of Marriage and Family, individuals who properly manage their time to spend more of it with their partners are 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 rather than when they were apart, regardless of a range of factors, such as whether or not both individuals work or if one individual in the relationship fulfills a childcare role. Prioritize spending time with your partner.
Prioritize an Ideal Amount of “Me Time”
Spending time with your partner is not the only way to strengthen your relationship. How you spend time outside the relationship, away from your partner, impacts the relationship as well. Spending an adequate amount of time on personal and professional development as well as on self-care supports your growth and change as a partner in a relationship that will also grow and change. Self-development is also critical for anyone looking for a partner because once you begin to value yourself, others will value you too.
A OnePoll study 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,” away from one another, enjoy a healthier relationship overall. Some study participants found that the “me time” was just as important or more important for the relationship than time spent together, and the ideal amount of “me time” was about six hours per week or one hour per day.
Be Mindful of Time Spent Apart
You can’t be together all the time, so make your time apart work in your favor. Conversely and expectedly, when you don’t manage your time well outside the relationship, it causes negativity within the relationship. A University of Munster study found that even minor external stressors can have a “negative spillover effect” on the satisfaction one experiences in the time they share with their partner. Additionally, external factors such as work schedules can change how negatively or positively individuals gauge their time spent together with their partners. Based on these kinds of perceptions, mindfulness is critical for healthy relationships. Identify how much time and what kind of time your relationship needs and then adjust outside factors accordingly. Ensure that you are not wholly neglecting your relationship for work demands or other responsibilities.
4 Ways 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, be fully present. Sincerely listen to one another and try to make your shared time enjoyable. Have a growth mindset about whatever you are 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 during the time you spend 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 together checking work emails on your phone. 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. If you 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 a lot of responsibilities, you might not be able to spend as much time as you would prefer to spend with your partner. If this is the case, make sure that the time you do spend together is high quality. Make the time 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 meals. A partner can share experiences and grow alongside you. Engage in exciting activities together, whether that is learning a new recipe, exploring a new part of town, or making progress on hobbies that are meaningful to either or both of you. 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 between you both.
Spend Time Finding Your Relationship
If you are currently looking to be in a relationship, the tips above are still applicable to your life. Start managing your time and prioritizing work-life balance as if you already have a significant other. When you begin a relationship in the future, you’ll already have put good habits in place. If you have no work-life balance in place, you will have no 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 will likely find the right partner for you. If you spend enough quality time with enough people, eventually, you’ll find a person who shares your values and outlook on life. You will never meet new potential partners sitting around on your couch watching Netflix.
Invest your time in finding that relationship that would matter 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, you need 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 important to you, it’s crucial that you manage your time for that.
If you need assistance learning how to manage your time in any aspect of life, Arootah’s Life Coaches can help! These skilled professionals help clients learn how to identify their goals and make the life changes necessary to achieve those goals, whether that means helping them invest more time in an existing relationship or helping them learn better work-life balance skills so that they’re ready for a new relationship once it starts.
How is time management in your relationship? What tips are you excited to use? Let us know in the comments below!