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As the to-do list grows and the project ideas fill my mind, the relationships in my life suffer if I am not intentional in this area. It is easy for me to switch into task mode and focus on ticking off items on my checklist. Projects looming lure me into justifying sacrificing time with my people. Work, tasks and projects come and go. Relationships are long term, or at least we hope they will be. Where does my priority need to be? I need to invest in relationships.
This is the glass ball in the juggle of roles. Other areas of life may be made of rubber that bounces and comes back later. My family will shatter if I drop this ball completely. There is no success in the world worth that.
So how do I pursue my dreams and goals without dropping the glass ball? This is the key question that so many people, and particularly women, wrestle with. I have come to realise that there is no fixed or easy answer in any of this. What works in one season doesn’t work in another. The strategies that help one family thrive have little benefit for another family.
These are a few ways that I am making the choice to invest in my family relationships right now:
- Create a block schedule that has clear times and nights blocked out for time with my daughter, my husband and the rest of my extended family.- Keeping work restricted to work time is so key for me as a mother that works from home and is working in multiple roles right now.
- Identify specific family time activities as one of my daily ‘Big 3’ tasks on weekends and other days off. -My daughter loves looking at my planner and seeing her name listed as one of my priorities makes her day.
- Make selective choices on nights out and times away from them. -My roles do mean times of travel, weeknights in meetings and weekend conferences. Careful planning is needed around these times and sometimes I need to say no to some opportunities and fun-sounding events to prioritise time with my family.
- Monitor my attitude. -Do I see my family as my first purpose, my joy and my key people or do I see them as a hindrance to my tasks? I need to get really honest with myself and aware of where my thoughts are going. Sometimes course corrections are needed.
What about my wider community? The friends and communities that keep me grounded, build me up and I can support too. My family is around me every day so I am reminded of this priority frequently. Friends are easier to push aside in my mind. Doesn’t that sound awful to put into words? If you’re honest with yourself, do you do this too?
Last year, I implemented one strategy– scheduling a monthly ‘Friday catch up’ with a few friends so that we make sure we connect together regularly. This year I have started to do this but have not been planning ahead. In fact, writing this is a reminder to schedule in the next few months!
Find your people
One of the elements of this year’s theme for MOPS is Find your people. I have a water bottle with that phrase on it. It is my little everyday reminder. I need that reminder. It would be easy to stay in my comfort zone and stick to the people I know already. The temptation of busyness is to develop a mindset that I have no space in my life for connecting with new people. While there is an element of truth within that, I do not want to shut myself off from the wider world.
This year I have added in opportunities to connect- either in person or online- with a range of people for a purpose. I have joined a mastermind group that helps me to keep myself on the hook for goals and work through hurdles in my business. I am carving out time to spend with other writers online and in person. My aim is to stay open to opportunities that come up to meet with people while still making the best choices for my family, my headspace and my roles.
‘Invest in relationships’ forms part of my 2020 manifesto to keep this in a place of importance. I am a better person when I stay closely connected with my community. This is an area that I fall down in often. I forget to message friends to check in on them. I stay in my little introvert bubble at home. This is a growth area for me. Maybe it is for you too.