My friend tipped me off to a great practice last week. She and her husband schedule weekly business meetings to discuss the business of the family. They divide their lives into three sections—family, marriage, and fun—and they approach each topic separately. For family stuff, they arrange the pick up-drop off schedules for the kids, discuss finances and event calendars, and anything that pertains to the management of their family lives.
In a different weekly “meeting” they talk about their partnership. How is their relationship going? What came up during the week that they want to discuss and resolve?
On date nights, they don’t talk about any of it. No kid-talk, no money-talk, not a word about family business affairs ore relationship issues. For the first couple of date nights, they said nothing to each other. Then they began to take walks. Their strolls through the neighborhood began to unlock them from their habitual housekeeping, and remind them of the things they love to talk about. She would point out the pretty paint trim on that house on the corner. He would remember a funny moment they had painting together, and their conversation would start rolling … carrying none of the business of family into their night together.
An apple a day, a business meeting a week …
You can do this same trick for your own affairs. Schedule a weekly business meeting for yourself. Make this the time that you pay the bills and do the budget. During the week, if to-do’s come up around business, write a note and drop it in your business file. This way, when it gets to the day you’re handling business affairs, it is easy to see what is important and what is not.
Usually when things are just too hard to handle, we are trying to handle all of them at once. When you separate the business from the personal, you don’t get bogged down in runaway email chains or absorbed by conversations that distract you rather than support you. Your brain is clear to accomplish other life stuff.
Personal life does not have to disappear when family life or work schedules increase. Handle the important business affairs only one time each week, and you’ll notice the real importance in your life the rest of every day.