I recently wrote about Elon Musk, a serial entrepreneur who knows how to risk it big and is changing the world. The amount he’s been able to accomplish so far in his lifetime is more than impressive. But getting to where he is now hasn’t been easy. There comes a lot of sacrifice when you work as much as he does, and somethings gotta give. Although I don’t know the details of his personal life, Elon has already gone through two divorces and has five children.
Sounds like he could benefit from some relationship tips for workaholics, along with a lot of us who have hectic schedules, or work long and odd hours. Not having a traditional career can be difficult on your romantic relationships and family, especially if you run your own business.
Sure it’s great to work flexible hours or to have a busy career filled with a lot of challenges and excitement, but that can mean a lot of unpredictability, last minute rush jobs, working nights/weekends, and stress. And a lot of times, it’s either incredible hard to date and find someone to have a serious relationship with. Or if you’re lucky enough to already be with someone, chances are high their schedule is nowhere near as crazy as your own.
You Gotta Explain What’s Urgent And Accept What’s Not
When you’re a workaholic, everything feels urgent. I’ve suffered from this mentality and it can be extremely consuming. When everything feels urgent at work, that can be disastrous on a relationship. So, step one is looking at your to-do list and figure out what really needs to be prioritized, and what can wait for later.
Next, you need to help your significant other understand your priority list. They don’t need to know all the details of what goes into every assignment you have, but it will help them empathize if you explain the why’s of what’s really urgent. Just saying “Honey, I need to get this done today” doesn’t help your special someone understand why you have to do it now versus later.
Third, you need to be accepting of what’s not urgent. And stick to it. Yes, I know from experience that is much easier said than done! It’s hard to walk away from the pressures of wanting to get everything off your to do list, but if you want to improve your relationship, you have to work on balance. I never said relationship tips for workaholics are easy!
Be Present In The Moment
In this fast paced world, we all have a tendency to be on our phones when we’re waiting for the bus or in the elevator. But for most workaholics, they are constantly checking every few minutes of the entire day. And that can make your loved one feel like your phone is more important than him/her.
Since your time is very precious and you may not get to spend as much time with your family as you wish, you gotta try really hard to make each minute together count. Put your phone to the side, look into each others eyes when you’re talking, and really pay attention to the conversation or activity you’re doing together.
We all can work on being more present in the moment. It’s so easy to become distracted these days, especially with so many things running through our minds. Taking a few minutes a day to try to meditate also helps improve focus and being more present.
Use Your Schedule To Your Advantage
One thing workaholics have to maintain in order to keep their sanity is an updated schedule. Meetings, conference calls, trips, lunch meetings, dinners out, etc. The benefit is you can utilize your calendar to schedule time for your relationship. It may sound shallow to have to do that, but it’s worth the effort.
Since your significant other probably has a very different schedule than you, it’s going to take some effort to find pockets of time to be together. As best you can, define working hours versus quality time spent with your partner. While it can be hard to predict when emergencies might crop up, it should be within the realm of possibility to say something like, “I have to do some work tonight, but I’ll keep the phone and computer away for a couple of hours so we can sit down and eat together and watch one episode of xyz. Then I have to get back to work for an hour or two.”
Setting clear expectations beforehand can be a wonder, and help release you from the guilt of always being interrupted. It also helps to mentally put work aside for that period of time. You may be stressed about something your client needs tomorrow morning, but really make the effort to take the time to have dinner together. You both have to eat, so enjoy eating together, and resume work later. Taking a break will help you focus better later on too.
Untemplaters, what sorts of issues have you had to face in your relationships? Who is more of a workaholic – you or your significant other? What are some of the things that have helped alleviate any strains caused by that? Do you have any relationship tips for workaholics?