We all at times feel the intense pressure to do more, to achieve more, to be more. Not all bad. But when it affects our relationships we have to stop and take a look at what we can do to protect the most valuable thing in our existence – “Our Relationships”.
I think there is a difference between a “Full Life” and a “Crazy Busy, Over the Top, Exhausting Life”. We are all unique and different as to what we thrive in and what puts us over the top. And in addition, our relationships are all unique, but at the same time similar. No relationship can withstand – a no water and no sunlight environment. So here are some things to consider as you work on the balance of work and relationships.
Five Ways to Protect Your Relationship When You Are Crazy Busy
- Listen to Your Body – When you feel you are so busy that you are falling apart – not enough sleep, not time to eat properly or to take a break you will probably find your body trying to tell you there is something wrong. You will find that you don’t feel well, you feel anxious, you might even feel like you are falling apart. And then for some, (I am in this category) you will get sick. Basically your body takes over and shuts you down to get a rest. Of course this shut down will only get you more behind. So much better to just listen to your body. Plus, you can be more bright and effective when you are caring for yourself. Ultimately, unless you protect yourselves you will not be able to protect your relationships. So listen to that magnificent body of yours. It knows what is doing and is created to help you do what you are meant to do.
- Listen to Your Loved Ones – Try to really hear what your loved ones are saying to you. Are they complaining that they never see you or that you never do anything together? Do they say you never talk to them – that you are not communicating enough? Are they shutting down and not communicating with you? These are all signs that your work has begun to disrupt your relationships.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – You cannot do this enough. This is a real key for your relationships. Taking time to communicate what is going on that is taking you away from your loved ones is important. At least you are acknowledging that you know it is affecting your family life and that you care. Explain why it is important to spend the time away. Maybe it is to keep the money coming to keep everything afloat. Maybe it is to make sure there is enough money for the kids to go to college. Sometimes giving the specifics of how critical it is that you do put in the extra time can make a difference in how your family views this time away. Reminding of the real reason you work can help. Having a conversation about what your family needs and wants and what everyone may need to do to make this happen can help. Ask your family what is important to them. You may be surprised. It is different for each family. Acting as a team is an approach that can help you support one another. Also, coordinating your “business” can be helpful as to making sure your “off” time is the same.
- Prioritizing What is Most Important – This can be hard at times as we will have competing things that will both be validly equal. Providing for our family and time with family are two common ones that arise. They are both important of course. It means really listening and being attuned to our loved ones to make sure we keep this balanced. At times we will have to give more focus to one than the other. If a family member is really needing you, this may mean that work will have to take a back seat for a bit.
- Setting & Keeping Boundaries – This can help us stay on the path of balance. And this can be a hard one. With our technology, our offices now extend to our homes, to our cars, to anywhere our laptops, smart phones, iPads can go. I think it is about being thoughtful about what we want our boundaries to be with our work and our technology and then being disciplined in keeping to what we feel is most healthy for our families. It pays off to be fully focused on our loved ones when it is their time. That time really means something as to really “being there” and isn’t that what most of us really want “to be there for each other”. So keep those boundaries, your family will love you for it.
There are extra benefits to spending “off time” with our loved ones. I think taking time to be with our loved ones can rejuvenate us to do a better job with our work. So even if it feels like we are not giving our work our full focus, it may be in reality what we need most for our work. It can give us our most fresh, rested self to do the most awesome job we can with our work. So here is to lots of R and R with your loved ones.