You can find the time for love and law with a smarter, goal-oriented approach.
The truth is, even the busiest lawyer can make the time for their most valued relationships, romantic or otherwise. But scratching out that time from the workweek takes the same amount of willpower, planning, and stick-to-itiveness as any other professional or personal project. By treating your relationship like an important goal (with the requisite time management, determination, and follow-through), you can have it all: a growing legal career and a deepening, meaningful romantic relationship.
Step One: Understand Your Time…and Theirs
With all the talk about making time for a relationship, you’ll need to sit yourself down and think: What time do you need from your relationship?
People have varying expectations for the time and intimacy of their respective relationships. For some, spending full weekends together is a key part of relationship growth. For others, Sunday is treasured alone time, and being asked to give that up can cause resentment.
After you and your partner get on the same page about how much time you hope to spend together, you can start deciding how best to spend that time building the aspects of a relationship you both value. Creating a schedule for the two of you may sound unromantic, but can be an effective way to strengthen the components of a healthy relationship when time is at a premium. Once you know where and when your free time is throughout the week, take a closer look and ask yourself:
When can you spend time emotionally connecting?
When can you spend time physically connecting?
When do you spend time…caring for yourself?
Understanding your expectations can help you pin down the time your relationship needs —and spend that time connecting with each other and enjoying physical intimacy while still taking some alone time to pursue your own needs and hobbies.
Step Two: Create Special (and Not-So-Special) Time Together
But what if you really are short on time this week (or this month, or this year?) There’s still room to squeeze in relationship-rich moments, if you’re ready to take the initiative. No matter how busy you are, the two of you can create can special times for each other by sharing otherwise solitary routines throughout the day.
Waking up a little earlier can help make breakfast a relaxing, romantic bit of together-time, or the two of you can designate your workouts for double-duty by going to the gym together to engage in some friendly competition or work towards shared fitness goals.
Having trouble thinking of a routine you can share? Take a fresh look at the boring parts of your day. You may be surprised at how easily you can spice things up.
Can you share your commute? (Even if that means adding time to the route?)
Can you share breakfast, lunch, or a coffee break? (Even if that means splurging on an Uber a few times a week?)
Can you share a hobby or chore? (How about gardening, home improvements, or grocery shopping?)
By transforming must-do routines into connecting, partner-focused time, your relationship can get an easy, built-in daily (or semi-daily) boost.
Step Three: Make the Most of the Time You Do Have
If you’re serious about balancing your relationship and your workload, you’ll benefit from making the effort to read, reflect, and explore how to be as emotionally productive as possible during your time together. Just like every couple has different expectations for time spent together, every person benefits differently from the types of time spent together and support received from their partner.
Make the most of the time you have by focusing on being truly present with your partner. That means forgoing the text messages when he/she’s around, leaving work stresses at the door, and sometimes swapping movie night for good conversation about topics close to your heart.
To make sure your date night is on the right track, ask yourself:
Am I focusing on my partner or are we both paying attention elsewhere?
Is there anything I can say or do right now to make my partner feel valued?
Did I speak in my partner’s love language recently?
Have we shared intimate conversation about anything significant or personal recently?
The real secret to making time for a relationship? Building intimacy, not familiarity. By taking the time to make the most of your time, you can help your relationship deepen and grow into something long-lasting even if your current schedule puts date nights and hang-outs on hold.