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.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.

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