That unending list of tasks fills your time and your thoughts. After leaving work, you can be exhausted, yet you still have a most important part of your day ahead, the time you give to yourself and your loved ones.
You usually work because you need the income to maintain your lifestyle. However, from your children's point of view, they are craving time spent together. There are normally very few minutes in a day that are spent on meaningful conversation with children when you are busy and drained. Toys and other material possessions do not replace that.
The same situation happens with marriages. You are both stretched to the limit. When one of you finally gets a little break, the other one is still involved in a major project.
If you cannot get away from that list, instead of listening to each other and responding with enthusiasm, you are distracted and tired. Could this be one of the reasons that over half the marriages are ending in divorce?
Reality is that you will never manage to do everything you both need to do and want to do, so instead of just adding, "order flowers" to your list, approach this Valentine's Day from a different angle.
Requests come from all directions, and you can be made to feel guilty about turning down a worthy cause.
Yet, you cannot be involved in every endeavor. What do you need for yourself - exercise sessions, hobby pursuits, quiet periods? When you do not nourish yourself, you have nothing to give to others. Practice saying, "no."
For loved ones
Once you have identified your personal needs, turn your attention to those close to you. Who in your life deserves attention? With no guarantee of future opportunities, is there someone you should devote time to today?
How can you begin to change your current situation? Identify activities that relate to what you want to emphasize in your life.
In reevaluating your tasks, match each item with your specific focuses. To find added blocks of time for those life priorities, is there anything you can:
• Delegate? Can you ask for help or hire someone?
• Toss? Is it really that important in the overall scheme of things?
• Shelve? Could it be postponed until your priorities change, such as after the children are in school, or after they leave for college, or while your spouse is on that overseas assignment?
Is it easy to cut down on commitments and change your use of time? Of course not. You will still be pulled in many directions and confronted with that guilt trip when someone asks you to take on an additional role.
It can be hard to say "no," but remember that every time you say "yes" to something, you are saying "no" to something else. "Yes" to working late may mean "no" to a bedtime story. Think back to your goals in deciding which is a "yes" and which is a "no."
It is simpler to order flowers or buy chocolates, but now is the time to share in each other's lives. After all, time is a nonrenewable resource. These days will not return.
When you reminisce, what will you regret and what will you celebrate? In focusing on those who matter most in the long term, you will also become more content in looking back on your life.
Make it a memorable Valentine's Day for you and your loved ones - and do not stop with just one day!
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Landers is the author of Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey. She helps businesses and individuals accomplish more with productive office systems. Reach her at (602) 412-3876 or firstname.lastname@example.org.