How to make time for your family, even if your weeks are crammed full.
As I sat at my computer, my heavy eyes glared at the screen in front of me. I had been plodding through my course material slowly and was reaching the point of exhaustion. The week had flown by with me spinning a dozen plates and trying to keep them up. But I could feel that things were slipping.
It came to a head when my angelic nine-year-old placed her warm hand on my shoulder and said: “Mummy, you never play with us anymore.” She looked quite frank, and there was a hint of melancholy in her tone.
I wanted to object. But it was true.
I had stopped playing with my kids.
I can’t remember when it happened exactly. But there I was, fixated with my studies, and oblivious to the unspoken longings of my child.
I looked at my daughter. Her head was tilted to the side and she stood there waiting for my response. I needed to work. I couldn’t get out of that. So I had to give her my decision.
“All right,” I said. “One quick game.”
The Issue of Your Time
I’m sure you’ve been in a similar situation. You’re in the midst of a project, or a deadline, or an important piece of work. And someone you love wants your valuable and limited time. It wasn’t the first for me. And I know it won’t be the last.
Your time is certainly limited. But more importantly, your time is undeniably valuable…to your loved ones.
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The funny thing about time is that it’s our most squandered resource. Many people don’t know what to do with their time or don’t concern themselves with planning how to spend their time. And yet time is a resource we can never get more of.
Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Which is why our loved ones value our time so highly.
Our little ones will only be little for a short while. There will only be one summer in 2021. And there will only be one year in which your baby wears those 3-6 month all-in-ones.
I don’t say all this to make you sentimental about every piece of artwork, or every wobbly tooth or even every throw up your feverish child gives you.
But I say this to remind you (and myself) how precious our moments are with the ones we love.
And that includes our husbands.
On a recent trip to Dubai with my husband, I thought to myself, ‘This is the kind of trip I will remember forever. When we’re old and grey and have to change each other’s catheter bags, I’ll look back on this period when we were young, and smile.’
So, my friend, your time is valuable to your loved ones because you are valuable.Your time is valuable to your loved ones because YOU are valuableClick To Tweet
Which is why I thought I’d give you a non-exhaustive list of ways you can make time for your family.
How to make time for your family
Be intentional and plan to spend time with your VIP’s by blocking it off on your calendar. Set a reminder on your phone if you have to. When it’s in your diary, it’s easier to make happen because you’ve intentionally set aside that time for them.
I realise this lineup, from a distance, might look like a serial murderer’s To Do list. But I’m suggesting that you kill the notifications on your phone and other devices. Just whilst you’re with your VIP’s. Being fully present, physically and mentally, will help you to take in the moment better and contribute. And it allows you to give your whole attention to those special people who need you to be fully present.
Delay or take a rain check on other activities that demand your precious time. Like in my example above, I suspended work on my course for a quick game with my kids. I didn’t ditch the course altogether, but instead, I put it aside temporarily. If your calendar is blocked out wall-to-wall with work and projects, ask yourself what you can suspend temporarily to get thirty minutes or an hour with a loved one. You’ll be surprised how far, this small investment can make in your relationship.
See this post on why quality time is so important.
Ask your VIPs what they’d like to do with you. Even if your week is crammed with some immovable object like a huge deadline or project, putting something concrete in the diary can be a great way of placating any grumblers. It will also make your VIPs excited about the upcoming date because they had a hand in choosing it.
A great action plan begins with a brainstorm!
Your time is priceless to those who love you. Don’t shortchange your VIPs, but intentionally try to make time for your family. Set aside time on your calendar. Put your devices away and be physically and mentally present when you’re with them. Postpone other activities when you can so that you can have that time together.
And finally, ask your loved ones what they’d like to do. Perhaps they suggest a game of spinning plates!
Now, this list is by no means exhaustive. What other ways can you think of that will help you make time for your loved ones? Let me know in the comments!