In a world increasingly centered on a work culture, it can be nearly impossible to fit in quality time with your significant other. An ever-increasing list of chores, stressful jobs, and demands from family, children, and friends can cause your relationship to slide to the back burner.
The challenges of juggling your schedule and your relationship can become even more daunting if you and your significant other work at different times. Freelancers might be perpetually on call, while a partner who works the night shift might struggle with chronic exhaustion. Managing conflicting schedules doesn’t mean giving up on your relationship, though. With a little ingenuity, you can have plenty of quality time together.
Creating a Family Schedule
Creating a goal list and scheduling your day can help you achieve work-related goals, but you can adopt the same system for scheduling time with your partner. Rather than hoping to get some time together when you both have a free moment, try actively scheduling time together and planning activities. Scheduling allows you to anticipate how long a particular activity will take, and encourages you to commit to time with your partner.
Taking Advantage of Flexibility
If you have some flexibility in your work schedule, work with your partner to create a schedule together. This can maximize the number of “off” hours you have at the same time. For example, if you work the night shift and your partner is a freelancer, try asking your partner to schedule meetings at the beginning of your shift so he or she has to spend less time working during your time off.
Prioritizing the Relationship
A never-ending list of tasks and work obligations can be incredibly daunting. Your relationship, however, is an important obligation and a source of emotional well-being. If you’re constantly busy, it’s tempting to refuse to do anything fun until you’ve completed all of your work-related activities. While this might make you efficient, it can also make you unhappy. Treat your relationship the way you treat work, and prioritize time with your significant other, even if it means delaying other tasks.
Taking Time Off
For couples who work different shifts, weekends, holidays, and vacations play a key role in spending time together. Take advantage of your time off, and schedule your breaks so that they coincide with one another. If your partner is a contractor whose busy season is the spring, for example, try constructing your own schedule so that you can take more time off during a less busy time of year.
If you can’t spend regular time together, brief bursts of communication can help you maintain intimacy and give you a strong incentive to work together to prioritize the relationship. Send your partner text messages during the day, or take a few minutes to chat online or over the phone. A sweet note in your partner’s briefcase or a quick reminder via chat that you love your partner can help you feel close even if you have to spend long hours apart.
Establishing Clear Boundaries
Setting boundaries with your job or your clients is a must if you want to keep your relationship running smoothly. If you have control over your own schedule, ensure that your schedule is as consistent as possible, with clear “on” and “off” hours. Unless it’s an emergency, don’t take work-related phone calls or answer work emails when you’re home. It’s also important to set boundaries with your partner. This doesn’t mean shutting him or her out while you’re at work. Instead, it’s vital to ensure that your partner knows your schedule and knows when you are and aren’t working. This is particularly important for people who work from home or who are on-call. If your partner knows that you’re working or that it’s possible you might get called into work, your job won’t feel like as much of an intrusion.
- Cooper, S. (2012, May 22). Marriage-saving rules for couples working from home. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevecooper/2012/05/22/marriage-saving-rules-for-couples-working-from-home/
- Tessina, T. (n.d.). Dr. Romance: Married, different shifts. Divorce360.com. Retrieved from http://www.divorce360.com/divorce-articles/causes-of-divorce/neglect/dr-romance-married-different-shifts.aspx?artid=1642
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