365 days in a year, twelve months in a year, 30 days in a month, 7 days in a week, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute. We are all given the same amount of time in any given day, week, month, or year. We all have the same opportunities to make choices that reflect our values. Research on regret shows that at the end of a person’s life, they don’t regret business or investment decisions, rather, they regret not spending enough time with those that they loved. I am determined that I don’t want that to be my regret. I’d like to offer you four ways to make time for who’s important to you.
- Schedule time. Plan a regular date night with your spouse. Keep a standing coffee date with a friend. Make one night of the week your regular family night. Many of us Americans allow our calendars to fill up with a plethora of activities, and we leave out spending time with those that we love. We can’t just expect that our friendships, our marriages, and our relationships with our children will magically be perfect. We need to set our intent to nurture the relationships that are important to us.
- Be fully present. “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” Simone Weil. Give the person you love the gift of your full and undivided attention. Cell phones don’t belong at the dinner table- #unpopularopinions. A couple of years ago, I was scrolling through Facebook on my phone while having a conversation with my youngest daughter, Raegan, who was five at the time. “Mommy, I want you to see me,” she said, placing her chubby little hands on each cheek and turning my face away from my phone and facing her own. “That’s better!” Raegan knows what we as adults have somehow forgotten, if we want to know and be known, we need to have our full attention on each other.
- Prioritize. Our calendars reflect our priorities. If our priority is a calm and peaceful life, not every day can have 20 after-school enrichment activities. We can’t do everything, which leads me to my next point.
- Say no. Now at the risk of every school, church, synagogue, and non-profit sending me angry e-mails and leaving comments, I still say we need to learn to say no. Is it good to volunteer your time to these organizations? Absolutely, yes. But not to the detriment of spending time with those you love (although, I suppose you could volunteer together!). I ignored this rule earlier this summer, and I ended up being very burnt out emotionally. Lesson learned!
What are your favorite ways to make time for those that you love? Leave them in the comments!