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Creating Time For Relationships That Matter: Part Two

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Without putting the right steps in place to manage our time, striking a work/life balance can be incredibly difficult. And if this balance is ignored, our relationships at work and at home will suffer.
In my last blog post, we explored the idea of creating more time for relationships that matter, valuing the time we have and analysing our priorities to provide an accurate overview of where we spend our time and how we can change.

However, are there other elements that we can use to support and grow out relationships? And how can we support ourselves, as well as those around us?

In this second instalment, we will focus on 3 more crucial elements that help to form a healthy relationship, from communicating with other to looking after yourself. I’ve also added some activities along the way, including how to master difficult conversations and how to reach out to others, to help you achieve this.

1. Communication
Whether it’s with a work colleague, a local community or a loved one, all relationships start with communication. As a society, we thrive off of positive encounters, committing ourselves to constructing and maintaining productive relationships using communication to bridge gaps between individuals.

However, you should never underestimate its power, especially when tackling critical conversations where opinions can vary, stakes are high and emotions run strong.
In such instances, transparency is key, as well as a willingness to listen and learn.
In the words of writer Bryant McGill – “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

Most individuals can handle day to day conversation with ease however, it takes a lot more reflection and dedication to master more emotional and critical conversations. Below you will find an activity to help further your understanding of difficult conversations, as well as how to handle them.

Activity 1: Difficult Conversations
Reflect on topics that are difficult for you or others to discuss, such as work, home life, elders, and children.

When do you feel these topics should be avoided or not avoided?
Being mindful of these topics will help you to identify when you can raise these issues and how you should approach them, making an encounter a more positive and productive one. This is a good time to brainstorm some strategies to help you tackle these conversations, thinking about the emotional connotations of a conversation, as well as the final goal or aim.

Also, how do you know these conversations are progressing well and when they are not? If you go into a conversation knowing what red flags to look out for, you will be able to push the conversation back into the right direction.
And finally, how well do you listen when communicating with another person and how can you improve? As discussed earlier, listening is a show of respect and will prove that you are open to change and/or different points of view.

2. Shared Philosophy of Life
Being able to set goals and identify priorities is crucial when working towards success. However, when setting these in place, you should also consider the collective goals of those around you, especially if they have similar objectives.

These opportunities could be as simple as helping to complete a project at work or bigger responsibilities, such as raising a family. Whatever your circumstances, teamwork is the secret to making the dream work.

According to CIF training, tasks are “completed faster and more efficiently which results in a noticeable increase in productivity’ when people work as a team.
Their article also goes on to explain that team work “builds trust and strong bonds, creating a work environment in which members feel comfortable trying new ways of doing things, asking questions and asking for or offering help when necessary.”

A shared philosophy can help bring people together and encourage communication, the perfect catalyst to a more fulfilling and successful relationship and work/life balance. Here is an activity to make sure that you are on track.

Activity 1: Support from Others
Refer back to your goals and priorities that you have set for this year.
Which goals and actions require or perhaps might even benefit from the support of others? By working within a team environment, you are more likely to learn new skills and achieve better results.
Also, what can you do if your goals differ from that of your family, boss or partner? Remember, it is important to build an environment in which every member feels comfortable expressing themselves and is able to grow in.

3. Looking after Yourself
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom.” – Aristotle
Self-care can have huge benefits, including reduced stress levels, a healthier mind and body and better relationships. Unfortunately, work will never prioritise work life balance for you and it is your job to find a system that works for you.

When setting and prioritising your goals, take a step back and make sure that you are in a good place before pushing forwards towards your dreams and aspirations. As you continue, make sure that you are setting time aside so that you can read, spend time with family, exercise, or even go on a walk at lunch.
It is impossible to give any kind of relationship your all if you are running low and pushing yourself too hard in the wrong direction. The following activity will help you to realise how much time you are allowing yourself to recharge and how time spent on self-care can benefit those around you too.

Activity 1: Investing Time
Review your 7-day week activities. What fraction of time have you allocated to ‘invest’ in yourself? If you don’t set time aside you could be at risk of burning out or neglecting important relationships.

What are a few activities that will benefit you?
How will these activities eventually benefit others, such as your family? Simply taking time out of work to support your partner or see family is a perfect opportunity for your mind to relax and for you to show your support to those you care about.

Combined, these elements set the foundations for successful relationships, encouraging meaningful communication and supporting shared values. The more you work with and listen to the people around you, the more successful you will be. Likewise, the ability to say yes or no to cater for your own health is just as important to both you and your relationships.

To finish, I’ll leave you with some wise words from Jack Welch – one of my idols.

  1. Keep your head in whatever game you are at;
  2. Have the mettle to say no to requests and demands outside of your chosen work life balance plan;
  3. Make sure that your work life balance plan does not leave you out.

How do you manage your relationships? Do you have tools or tips that you use to help balance your work/life balance?

 Written by
Shivendra Kumar
Shivendra Kumar is a highly regarded leader, known for delivering organizational transformation through innovation and process improvement. With a unique approach and inspirational leadership style that creates a culture of change in businesses, he develops organisational capability needed for both short and long term results. His blogs cover topics related to business improvement, metrics and innovation.