In my TED talk (almost to 2 million views!), I suggest people make priority lists for the next week on Friday afternoons. I also suggest making this a 3-category list: career, relationships, self. Career is self explanatory. Most people have no problem figuring out what needs to get done at work next week. The "relationships" and "self" categories can be a bit more challenging, which is the point. Creating priorities in these categories forces a certain mindfulness in one's personal life. Putting a stake in the ground that something is important -- that these categories deserve to have something important -- increases the chances that such things happen. And that right there creates more work/life balance.
So that's the reasoning. But what, exactly, makes a good relationship priority? Last week I knew my mother was visiting overnight on Monday, so spending time with her was one. I also wound up getting together with a friend from college for coffee while I was in NYC. This week, I am chaperoning my daughter's school field trip, and planning a Valentine's Day/anniversary of meeting outing with my husband on Friday.
That doesn't mean those are all the things I'm doing with people this week. I'm also bringing my older boys to their annual pediatrician visit, though I don't really count that in the priority category (even though it is important!) I sort of view this as something that has to happen. It falls in the normal childcare category. Planning priorities is often about thinking through stuff that you'd like to have happen, but is more optional.
What "relationship priorities" have you scheduled into your life?
In other news: I finished The Little Book of Hygge last night (it was indeed little!) More to come on that later this week.
Camille Pagán, a longtime friend of this blog, has a new novel out today called Forever is the Worst Long Time. You can read her story of writing five novels between her first published one (The Art of Forgetting) and her second published one (Life and Other Near Death Experiences) here.
Photo: More from the weekend trip to Longwood Gardens