Improve Your Relationship In The Time It Takes To Watch A Sitcom!


What if I asked you to name your three biggest, most life-defining priorities?

Would your partner be close to the top of the list?

Do you spend enough time on the things you actually care about, particularly your relationships?

In this busy world, jam-packed with appointments, deadlines and distractions, it seems like we lead two lives: one, the idealized life of good intentions and high hopes, the other, the mundane life of getting through the to-do list. In my work as an ADHD coach, it can be startling to see how differently those two concepts of self really are! Sure, all the grunt work during the day indirectly supports the big-picture necessities like paying the bills and keeping food on the table. But while we compartmentalize in the name of efficiency, the love and relationships we value so much suffer.

The good news is this bad time management habit is easy to fix. The key is to identify your priorities, and then throw a little quantity of time and a lot of quality time at them.

For the quantity, I’m talking about 30, even 15 minutes out of your day spent with this loved one—isn't that manageable? That's comparable to the amount of time you would spend running into the grocery for a gallon of milk, or sitting through a goofy sitcom.

The kicker is the quality part of the equation: no smartphones, no texting other people, no passive activities like silently watching television in the same room. There needs to be action for high quality interaction. Some ideas include cooking together, going for walks, doing something with your hands like a game, craft or home repair, or exercising together in a collaborative way (heading in separate directions when you get to the gym doesn't count!). You'll talk, you'll share and you'll give each other attention and affection.

I've seen it over and over again: just 15 or 30 minute sessions of that sort of activity can keep a relationship passionate and robust, or bring a failing relationship back to life.

As the essayist Gretchen Rubin says, "What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while." Now is the perfect time to decide what really matters to you, and to show up for that priority every day.