Updated: Aug 3, 2020
By: LaShae Roberts
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I need to pick up the kids before 5pm. I need to drop those clothes off to the cleaners. Oh, and I must not forget to put that package together for Goodwill. Oh goodness, what am I going to cook for dinner?
If you are like me, you are always running a to-do list in your head and very seldom does it turn off. If it is not a task for work, some tasks need to get done around the house or an event to plan for. The only way to keep track of all of this is by using a planner. However, what happens when the dynamics of life change (i.e. going back to school, starting a new job, serving on a new committee) and there is a need to add another responsibility to the list? Can something else be handled?
The answer is yes, as long as you are OK with letting something go. Even if it is just temporary, when changing your priorities, it is helpful to negotiate what has to vacate. As much as we would like to be superwomen, we are not. Being a hero comes at a cost and we have to decide who and what we are comfortable with using to pay that cost. Is it better to be stressed out trying to be available on numerous projects at once, or is it best to produce quality, efficient work on a select few assignments at a time? Will the gains be worth the means? We know ourselves better than anyone else, and we are the only ones who can decide what a realistic expectation of our time and energy is.
If there is something new that is added to your list of responsibilities, spend some time re-prioritizing. The new priority may be a temporary project, or it may be a life-altering event, like having a baby. Regardless, decide how much time you will realistically need to devote to it, and how it will affect your relationship. While reallocating time, consider where you are going to pull that time from? As much as we would like to, we cannot create more time. Are you going to cut your workout time down by 20 minutes? Are you going to reduce date night from 4 hours to 3 hours? Discuss the possibilities with your spouse. After all, they may be directly impacted by the upcoming changes.
Be prepared to give an idea of the project you'll be working on, the time commitment
you are expecting it to take and then provide a timeline, if possible. How long will this
project be at this priority level? Also, be prepared to share with your spouse
what you will need from them during this time. How can they best support you while
you work to accomplish thisnew task/project? Communicate to ensure your spouse
will understand if you find you need more time than expected. Express to them
that you are open to receiving their feedback along the way. Whatever it is,
communication is key.
Having a meaningful and effective relationship takes work and teamwork
is essential when there is a change in priorities. As a couple, you must be
willing to incorporate communication, patience, support, and selflessness.
So the next time there is a priority change be explicit with your spouse and
give them an opportunity to support you. Allow them time to adjust their
schedule so they can attend to the areas that may go lacking as a result
of your new project.