More Than Resolutions: Invest in Relationships

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Join us all month for 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010!

Rarely in life do we end up regretting the time we spent connecting with family and friends. If you’re a task-oriented person like me, though, it may sometimes get pushed to the side in favor of checking things off your to-do list.

Today, Marci at Overcoming Busy is talking about evaluating why you want to have an organized home and schedule. Do the time you spend organizing and cleaning reflect your priorities? Whether you struggle to get organized or struggle to put people first, it’s a great reminder to focus on what’s most important!

If your to-do list is full and you’re feeling pulled in too many directions, how do you make time for connecting with family and friends? Let’s look at a few ways to get started:

1. Reassess your schedule and your commitments.

This is probably an obvious step, but if you’re overcommited and struggling to find time for the people you love, take a step back and reassess your commitments. Do your kids each need to be in three activities? Do you need to work overtime every week? Is volunteering in four different ministries at church really the right thing for your family? There are so many opportunities for good things in life, but it’s important to evaluate them and make sure we’re leaving time for the best.

2. Take advantage of the moments you have.

Sometimes circumstances leave us no choice but to work hard or stay busy, which leaves us less time for those we love. How do you make sure you connect with family and friends when you’re time is limited?

  • Make eye contact. This is something I am trying to get better at with my own girls. Sometimes I’m so focused on getting the laundry done or finishing the dishes or completing a work task that I try to hold a conversation with them while doing something else, and they’re smart enough to know I’m not really focusing on them when I do that. It’s amazing how much difference taking a second to get down on their level and make eye contact makes in the rest of our day.
  • Take advantage of car rides. Because we live 30-45 minutes outside of “town”, we spend at least an hour in the car together every week, and I especially love to use that time to connect with my husband after a busy week. We talk about important things, silly things and everything in between. Sometimes, when we have a longer drive, we’ll make up icebreaker questions to ask each other, such as, “What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?” It’s a fun way to connect and make the most of our time in the car.
  • Go somewhere. During the warmer months, simply going outside where there are less things to distract me is a great way to focus on my girls without the distraction of chores and work and my to-do list. Similarly, going somewhere like a museum or the zoo is a way to get out of your everyday rut and just enjoy time together.

3. Turn off the technology.

This one deserves its own category. If you’ve fallen into the routine of constantly checking your email on your computer or iPhone, take some time to think about how that makes the people around you feel. This is a huge trap of technology — and one that I personally struggle with — and I’m trying to do better about closing my laptop during certain parts of our day to just focus on my family without the distraction of email or IM.

Technology is good. I love it, and I’m thankful for the role it plays in our lives today. But balance is key, and a question that I often think about is this: Do my children think my laptop/email/work are more important than them? Although saving all computer work for times when my girls are sleeping isn’t possible, I want to make sure my attention is focused on them when it should be so that the times when I have to work don’t make them feel less important or less loved.

4. Add it to your calendar.

When it comes to connecting with friends and extended family, sometimes the hardest part is simply getting a get together on the calendar. Make plans to spend time together, even if you’re planning a month or two in advance, to make sure that it doesn’t get put off by the busyness of life. It doesn’t matter if you plan a play date, invite a friend over for coffee or sign up for a small group — just make sure you actually schedule a time and a date so that it actually happens.

Are you a people-oriented person or a task-oriented person? What ways can you focus on connecting more with your family and friends in 2010?

The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. Find ideas, prompts and suggestions to motivate you to change in the Life & Goal Organizer.