Help. I'm constantly in the doghouse with friends and family because I get lost in the vortex and struggle to stay in touch reliably. What's the most effective way to stay in touch given a plate that is so full?
One of the most difficult aspects of juggling professional (including professional moms) and personal lives is wrapping your head, not to mention your schedule, around the concept of balance. The new math of work/life seems to produce a solution to the equation [AH (available hours) FFWork (fire fighting at work) FFHome (fire fighting at home) - QT (some quality time with your spouse and children)] that always equals negative 8.
We completely understand - it's not that you don't want to reach out to your loved ones to chat, but when you have so much on your plate, if it's not scheduled, the fifteen other fires that are burning will inevitably end up consuming you, and before you know it, you look up and it's time to (a) make dinner, (b) rush to your next meeting, or (c) collapse into bed. Here are some simple tips for reclaiming a bit of time for spontaneous catch-up conversations with good friends and family members.
- Schedule chat windows. While you are in the throes of daily life, it may seem depressing, not to mention a bit of a pain, to have to schedule time to catch up with friends. But a few minutes spent mapping out some possible chat windows early in the week and booking them in your calendar makes all the difference. Try it for a week or two.
- Use Technology. If you don't have time for a full-blown conversation, try sending a text message, instant message or ecard. It's a well known fact that these methods are more effective than telepathy when it comes to letting someone know you're thinking of them and sending hugs.
- Stay focused on the big picture. To-do lists tend to be task-specific and often related to the very fires we're battling day in and day out. Unless you integrate some big picture into your everyday to-do lists, you're likely to lose sight of things like staying in touch in the everyday swirl. What you write down gets done. So add staying in touch with [insert good friend/family member here] to your list.