BLOG: HELP! I'M SO OVERSCHEDULED! THERE IS NO "US" TIME
I promised to let you in on the next 3 relationship challenges reported in our relationship survey ending in May. (These results were combined with a earlier survey for a larger sample of couples and changed the overall survey results previously compiled in April)
We will also explore the number one challenge couples reported; balancing work and family with couple time.
So here they are; the next 3 biggest relationship challenges:
#4: You are growing personally, spiritually or professionally and your partner is not.
#5: You often feel alone and want a closer connection
#6: The passion is gone
The overscheduled dilemma
Alice and Tom are a 30 something couple with a 4 year old and both worked outside the home. Although they loved each other they were feeling more and more like ships passing in the night. Tom worked a swing shift to spend more time with his daughter so she was not in daycare while Alice worked days. When they did get time together, usual on the weekends after their daughter went to bed, both of them were so tired their time was often spent in front of the TV where they had little interaction. After 8 years of marriage they were wondering what happened to the leisure, fun and romance they once had. When they came to see us both complained of not having enough time to do all they wanted including the quality time together they both said they longed for.
In our coaching sessions, it was clear they were way overscheduled. Not only did they work both 40+ hours a week, they visiting Alice’s mom who had dementia every Sunday after church, did volunteer work in the community and through their church and were involved in a pre-school co-op for their daughter.
Time is not the culprit here.
We looked at patterns of being so busy they were actually avoiding intimacy and good self-care and they both began to recognize this.
Everyone has the same amount of time in a day so how is it that some people accomplish so much and live richly, protecting the relationships that matter most while others seem slaves to time?
Alice and Tom believed that if they just managed their time better then things would change for the better as if being more efficient would do the trick.
So many of us have fallen into this trap about time management. I am not a proponent of time management having tried many time management programs with some success yet it was not lasting. As a former, avid list writer and “ get things done efficiently” time slave I often felt like I was running on a treadmill until I had a an AH-HA moment.
There is no way we manage time yet we can manage our priorities. In fact it’s essential we prioritize based on our core values. Attend to your big rocks first. What do you value most in your life?
Some basics to an overscheduled life:
Reduce your obligations and focus on your relationships and family first. Choose things you love to do and dump the“shoulds.”
Avoid the 2 D’s
Learn to say “NO”
The first things that Alice and Tom realized was that their priorities were not being reflected in their core values. They were essentially ignoring each other while spending so much time in outside activities. Even visiting Alice’s mom every week was draining on them as her dementia worsened and she did not even know who they were. It became a “should” and not a true desire. Weekly visits were not enjoyable for them or Alice’s mother. They still visited mom yet only 2 or 3 times a month. They also admitted that the volunteer work at the church had become monotonous and they would always step up when asked to help even when they didn’t want to. People depended on them to say yes.
TV was a real distraction for Alice and Tom. As they began to express what they loved to do before their daughter was born they both missed their long conversations talking about a book they were reading together, or their dreams for the future, etc. They began creating time for that by turning off the TV and realized it was so much more FUN than the boob tube. They created a shared vision for their future, which has sparked more passion and fun into their marriage.
Their home was becoming more and more disorganized as they spent so much time away from home. They decided that they would get rid of lots of their ”junk” and things that they no longer needed. They had a yard sale and invited their neighbors to donate too and it became a great time where they really connected with their neighbors in a fun and profitable way. They also hired a professional organizer who helped them streamline the job. Within a month they were feeling so much better and decide to spend more time at home, as they loved spending time in their backyard.
Since no is a word in our language that not only toddlers can use we must begin to be solid in our “no’s. ” We begin to realize that when we say no to things that do not serve us or empower us we are saying, “YES” to other opportunities that are possible and a better fit for us.
Alice loved yoga and enjoyed it before her daughter was born and now felt is was selfish to take time for this. As we explored this further she began to see she needed to be selfish with her time. It equated to good self-care/love. She made a decision to love herself enough to realize she was heading for “burnout” if she continued at her current pace of always “doing.” She loved yoga because she was just “being “ still. She said “NO” to working so much in the co-op and YES to her physical health and well-being. She said “NO” to so many outside unfulfilling “shoulds” and YES to Tom.
The next time you are feeling tired and overscheduled and wondering how to get everything done realize that you can create more time as you begin to prioritize your core values. Really examine what you are up to and tweak and adjust where needed. Would it be ok with you if life became easier and more FUN?
P.S. If you would like more support in applying these principles, give us a call. In between our speaking and coaching engagements, we carve out a few individualized sessions each month. Schedule your appointment here.
To Your Well-Lived Life!