When Amy reached a point of exhaustion with me in 2000, we decided to create some rules and structure. At the time I was having a huge problem defining any work related boundaries – work spilled over into everything I did, consumed all available time, and then crept into any of the cracks that were left over, like a perfect gas.
I have an engineer brain so I respond well to structure. While the idea of having some rules and the corresponding structure seemed very “not romantic” at first, it turns out that it’s incredibly romantic, especially if you measure the results – which is what engineer brains really care about.
A lot of these ideas will show up in our Monday Try This: topics. They’ll include things like Life Dinner, Quarterly Vacations Off The Grid, Always Answer Your Phone When Your Beloved Calls, and No TV In The Bedroom.
As always, we look forward to your suggestions – we’ll even try them out and see how we like them. Join the conversation – give us some of your favorite rules and structure to enhance your relationship.
How many times have you said “hang on, just one more email” as your beloved was waiting on you for something?
In my world, I never ever run out of email to respond to. Ever. If I have Inbox Zero (which is how I try to manage my email), all I need to do is sit for a few minutes and wait and another email will show up. If I’m waiting, I can go check Twitter, or Facebook, or even Google+. Of course, there are lots of Youtube videos to search, plenty of funny cat pictures all over the Internet, and – hang on, I just got another email – okay I’m back.
Now, put yourself in the shoes of your beloved. You’ve just told him or her “my email is more important than you.” Of course, that’s not what you meant to say, and you probably didn’t even think that, but it’s what they heard.
This sucks. But you have total control over it.
Over time, I’m learned that whenever Amy says “okay- I’m ready to go” that means that I should immediately stand up from my desk, close my laptop, and head to the door. She used to give me a five minute warning because it took me five minutes to mobilize. Now, since it’s immediate, there’s no warning. Every now and then it takes me 30 seconds to get moving and that’s perfectly comfortable because of my newfound urgency to beat her out the door.
She’s happy because she’s not waiting for me. I’m happy because she’s happy. And most importantly, I’m signaling to her that she’s more important than my email.