Time tracking is for work… right? Think again. While it might seem unromantic to schedule time with your significant other, it can actually be the opposite.
Do you remember the early days of your relationship, when you would move earth and heaven to make a date work? It didn’t matter if you were tired from work, just back from a trip, or had something else that mysteriously ‘just happened’ to get rescheduled, if you were really excited about someone you would make time to see them. What about now? Do you still make time for your partner?
As February is the month of Valentine’s, it’s a good excuse to think about your lovelife — whether you subscribe to the idea of Valentine’s Day or not. Regardless if you’ve been together six months, a year, or married for ten, chances are you’ve fallen into a rut or five. Particularly if you live together, chances are you’re spending a lot of time in each other’s company without actually being together. Overtime, this will naturally lead to dissatisfaction in and the breakdown of your relationship.
Aside from not wanting to lose your loved one, why is it important to work on being happy and present in a relationship? Well, studies show that when you’re in a fulfilling relationship, everything in life is better — from your performance at work to your cardiac health. We’ve come up with five different ways you can schedule time in your relationship, for a happier relationship and happier life.
Track Real Time Spent Together
If you live together, then you might have fallen into the trap of thinking, “but we see each other everyday!” How much of that time are you present and paying attention to your significant other, though? You’ve probably heard the words ‘date night’ more times than you care to mention, but as cliché as they are, they can work wonders. Don’t just schedule a date night, start to schedule all the real time you spend together. By real time, I mean dinners, drinks, walks together, films watched together, and anything you consider enjoyable time in each other’s company.
While spontaneity is great, it’s good to make a note of the last time you did something with your partner. When did you last tell your partner you love them? If you’ve been together for several years, maybe it’s been a while. When did you last buy them a gift, or do something spontaneously romantic like take them for dinner, make their favourite meal, or bring them breakfast in bed? If you feel like there’s something you used to do when first dating, but don’t anymore, then keep notes. It’s far too easy to fall into a routine, especially when life gets in the way. An app like Agenda, which we talked about in our last article, would be perfect for a personal project like this, as it allows you to create a detailed timeline. You can also use Timing to track time spent together and mark it down as being productive.
Schedule Appreciation Reminders
Speaking of falling into routines, do you still tell your partner how much you appreciate them? With technology making it so incredibly easy to schedule things and have instant reminders, there’s no reason not to enact this one. My partner and I both work from home, which involves a lot of time spent together. Something which helps me if I’m feeling particularly irritable is making a gratitude list — five things that I appreciate. Then the same thing the next day. And the next. Suddenly, I’m no longer irritable, and we’re getting along better again.
If you have a daily checklist, add ‘appreciate my partner’ to it as a to-do (mine is on OmniFocus). You can also schedule it as a recurring reminder on your calendar, so you get pinged on your phone or smart watch. What happens if they’re not around when you think of something, or when the ping happens? It may be old school, but leaving a post-it note with something sweet on it will never go out of fashion. Or send them a text, if you prefer the technological route.
Make a Time to do Chores Together
The most commonly argued about thing, for couples with kids, is chores. I’m willing to put money on it being a pretty commonly argued-about thing for couples without kids, too. No one likes doing chores—if you say you do, please come and do mine so I can call your bluff. However much you argue that pairing socks is therapeutic, there’s always that one chore you hate but can’t get away from. And why does it always seem like it’s you who does more around the house, but your partner feels the same way?
An easy way to avoid arguments is to divide labor between you, but then try to do the majority of it at the same time — at least where possible. Set an hour aside one day a week for a deep clean, put on some music, and reward yourselves with lunch out at the end of it. This will also help you avoid having one person vacuum, while the other reads on the couch oblivious to death glares of resentment. You can use an app like Timing to track your chores by simply logging what you’ve been doing whenever you return to the screen, so you’ll know if one of you is doing much more.
Schedule Monthly KPI Meetings
Monthly KPI (Key Performance Indicator) meetings are an important part of any job to receive feedback, so why not also do this for your job as someone’s life partner? It’s a pretty important job, after all — and despite the business speak, there’s no reason why having a monthly KPI can’t be considered a romantic activity. Depending on your availability to each other during the week, and whether or not you have children and therefore more to schedule, you may even want to make it a weekly meeting, like the one suggested here.
Dedicating scheduled time to talk specifically about your relationship, and your performance in the relationship, can serve a variety of purposes. It gives you the chance to air grievances before they become larger issues, as well as realistically evaluating what you could be doing better. Don’t just focus on the bad, though; make sure to mention what your partner has done that’s good, too. If you’re not sure where to start, use these questions to get a conversation going.
Schedule Alone Time That’s Technology-Free
While I realize how ironic this recommendation is on this post, it’s important to remove your technology from your relationship on a regular basis — even if it’s for only ten minutes a day. A phone, laptop, or other piece of technology provides a distraction that makes it easy not to pay full attention. When you’re in a committed relationship, sometimes you can forget that you’re both still developing as individuals — there isn’t a pause button that’s pressed at the same time as a Facebook relationship one.
One way to manage this so that it becomes a consistent habit is to create a technology-free bedroom, which is a great idea anyway. You can also make the habit of eating together every day — without technology. This forces conversation and togetherness, even if you’re out of the habit. If you want to use Timing for this, you can add your relationship as a project. Remember to set it to being a high-productivity task! Then when you return to your laptop, you can add it as what you were doing while you were away from the screen.
Scheduling time for the most important parts of your relationship will pay off in the long run with less stress, more happiness, greater productivity, and more success in your career. If you’re a freelancer or work flexible hours, it’s incredibly easy to have your work spill over into your home life — another reason to incorporate your relationship into your schedule. While it may not seem romantic to consider it as ‘work,’ just like everything else on your calendar, doing so can help you realize it’s of equal, if not greater, importance. Take care of your relationship and your life will fall into place.
Want to give time tracking a go, and see how you can use it to manage your work and personal life? Download a free trial of Timing today.