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Dating From the Inside Out
by Susan S. Davis

The Importance of Time Management in Dating Relationships

It is now April, and we are four months into the new year. Most people, whether they believe in them or not, have made some level or sort of “New Year’s Resolutions,” usually having to do with one or more areas of their lives that they would like to improve. Since you are reading this and on this website, more than likely, assuming you are single, you have some goals in mind in terms of your interpersonal relationships. Perhaps you’ve been on the dating scene for a while, or you’re evaluating a relationship in your life – maybe even looking to liven up an existing dating situation.


With New Year's resolutions, we all usually begin with great intentions, however, often, about halfway though the first month – the promises we’ve made to ourselves, whatever they may be, get lost in the shuffle of life, as we live day to day, and attend necessary activities. Perhaps, part of the issue is that new priorities seem to emerge, and we get pulled in other directions. But the reality, is that anything that is very important to us, should be attended to. Almost everyone has experienced the feeling of having too much to do, too many tasks to take care of, and not enough time to do everything that we would like to do.

One of the top ten things that most everyone has listed as something they’d like to have, is “more time.” And surprisingly it is the one thing that most of us can easily have, with very minimal investment. All it really takes, is learning a bit about time management, and applying some of the techniques.

The reason that time management is so important, is that in order to effectively attend to accomplishing our goals, we must distill and isolate those things that are most important to us, including survival issues, such as work, and other things that we are responsible for, as well – such as children, or others that we are responsible for. But the one person that is most important, when it comes to being a caregiver, is ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, we will be useless to anyone else. And yet, few people really take care of themselves in the way that they should. Most anyone will tell you, that they have some personal goal, such as a fitness, health or a happiness issue that they would like to resolve.

Getting back to dating and relationship New Year’s Resolutions – in order for anyone to confront handling an interpersonal goal, there must be time to do it. And, unfortunately, for many people, taking the time to do it, and then investing the time in developing new friendships, can be problematic. This is where time management skills come into play. To the extent that we take time to think about what it is that we want, and really take the time to put it into place, will be the degree of success that we will reap from the enterprise. This is true for most anything that we do. In order to accomplish anything, we first, must take the time to think about what it is that we are doing. And while many people might think that they are doing this, the reality is that unless they are cognizant and fully aware that it is happening, and for what purpose, chances are, it isn’t really being addressed. To spend time on something thoroughly and effectively, takes time. And while this sounds redundant, it is a fundamental truth: to take time, takes time. Therefore, knowing how to use time effectively, is essential.

So, how can we use time more effectively? First, we have to delegate some time to learning about time management. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this, is to first, define the most important things and areas that take up the most time in our lives. Then, systematically, list out a given day’s schedule. Start out by listing out the “ideal” schedule, that is, the one that you wish or would desire to be in place. Then, create the real, actual schedule – the one that includes all of the interruptions, and things that surface to deal with, that aren’t part of the daily routine. Unless you are highly organized and very aware of how you spend your time, you may be shocked to find out how much wasted time and energy exists in the day, that may be diverted to more effective activities.

For example, anyone that you are dealing with, who never knows enough about what is happening, so that you can schedule an activity, is someone that needs to be addressed, as to value. Is it someone that you work with, a co-worker or supervisor that you need to incorporate into your daily life, that you have little control over? If that is the case, then this situation could be handled by either having a chat with the person, or taking action to change the operation or flow of communication or work in some way. Asking for more communication by email and voice mail, can often cut down time considerably, for example.

If there are people in your life, socially, who always seem to have scheduling issues, then it is important to draw boundaries properly, so that you are not being held hostage of their time management issues. Sometimes these things have to be addressed on a gradient level, by either disallowing interruption, with voice mail and email. Other times, it would be a good idea to have a chat with them. But most everyone these days, understands how pressured everyone is with time, so should be able to respect whatever boundaries are put into place with regard to managing time. And besides, anyone who does not respect your time, is not someone that is worthy of your friendship, anyway. What it boils down to, is respect. Your time, as well as everyone else’s, should be respected, by being aware enough about what is happening, to keep informed, above all else. Everyone encounters emergencies and situations that were not originally planned that they have to deal with. But if this is happening all of the time, or a great deal of the time, then this is a deliberate situation, and should be considered so.

Whether someone wants to admit it or not, anyone who continually makes people wait for them or keeps them hanging and on hold about planned activities, is doing it consciously. People are usually well aware of the fact that others routinely wait for them, and the fact that they do not see it as an issue to resolve, is actually, a blatant lack of respect for those around them, and anyone else that they habitually effect. And as long as it is continued to be tolerated, it will exist. Some people are just bad at time management, but given the fact that they know this, see no problem with it, and take no action to do anything about it, makes it a situation that should be addressed, or disharmony will ensue.

Realistically, we cannot schedule our time so that every single minute is accounted for, and that all of our time is spent wisely and effectively. But we can most certainly, invariably shave some of the time off that is spent waiting for things to happen, and handling various tasks, by either delegating, multi-tasking, or eliminating some activities altogether.

Whatever we decide to do with the time in our lives, it is important for all of us to realize that the biggest benefit that we can have from effective time management, should be first and foremost, for ourselves. By taking a good, honest look at how we spend our time each day, and making adjustments, we can find ways to spend more time doing the things that are most important to us, including developing the best kinds of interpersonal relationships that we can.

Susan S. Davis is a published book author and writer, currently doing research for a romantic screenplay she is writing. Her Dating From The Inside Out column is published every Tuesday.

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