Balance: Set Expectations on How You Spend Your Time

Recently my friend, Rosanna, said something that caused me to examine how I set expectations with the people who are important to me on the limits of my time. She said, “There are people you’ll know for a reason, for a season, and for life.” Probably like you, I’d heard this before, but her interpretation caused me to reflect. She mentioned a friend she’s had since high school who, although they may only talk once a year on their birthdays, they immediately reconnect. Because they both understand the level of commitment to the relationship there’s never any time spent apologizing for not being in touch more often.

My business as a management consultant causes me to travel five days and nights a week, often for most of the year. Over the years I’ve been gone so much that I’ve had times when I feel as if my real life is on hold.

It sometimes seems as if when I’m travelling for work I feel guilty because I’m not at home being present for my adult children, and, when I’m at home I feel guilty spending time doing the chores, errands, and paperwork required to keep my life running smoothly, and, not spending more time with my friends. Add to that the time I don’t spend keeping in touch with my business colleagues or networking and I have sometimes managed to feel as if I’m never spending my time where I should be.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, Rosanna’s approach of making sure to set expectations with the people in your life as to when, how often, and under what circumstances you’ll be there allows those important to you, whether it’s for a reason, a season, or life, to understand what to expect and can be a release from the self-inflicted guilt of not being there more often.