31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: Connect More with Family and Friends

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Join us all month for 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010!

Rarely in life do we end up regretting the time we spent connecting with family and friends. If you’re a task-oriented person like me, though, it may sometimes get pushed to the side in favor of checking things off your to-do list.

Today, Marci at Overcoming Busy is talking about evaluating why you want to have an organized home and schedule. Do the time you spend organizing and cleaning reflect your priorities? Whether you struggle to get organized or struggle to put people first, it’s a great reminder to focus on what’s most important!

If your to-do list is full and you’re feeling pulled in too many directions, how do you make time for connecting with family and friends? Let’s look at a few ways to get started:

1. Reassess your schedule and your commitments.

This is probably an obvious step, but if you’re overcommited and struggling to find time for the people you love, take a step back and reassess your commitments. Do your kids each need to be in three activities? Do you need to work overtime every week? Is volunteering in four different ministries at church really the right thing for your family? There are so many opportunities for good things in life, but it’s important to evaluate them and make sure we’re leaving time for the best.

2. Take advantage of the moments you have.

Sometimes circumstances leave us no choice but to work hard or stay busy, which leaves us less time for those we love. How do you make sure you connect with family and friends when you’re time is limited?

:: Make eye contact. This is something I am trying to get better at with my own girls. Sometimes I’m so focused on getting the laundry done or finishing the dishes or completing a work task that I try to hold a conversation with them while doing something else, and they’re smart enough to know I’m not really focusing on them when I do that. It’s amazing how much difference taking a second to get down on their level and make eye contact makes in the rest of our day.

:: Take advantage of car rides. Because we live 30-45 minutes outside of “town”, we spend at least an hour in the car together every week, and I especially love to use that time to connect with my husband after a busy week. We talk about important things, silly things and everything in between. Sometimes, when we have a longer drive, we’ll make up icebreaker questions to ask each other, such as, “What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?” It’s a fun way to connect and make the most of our time in the car.

:: Go somewhere. During the warmer months, simply going outside where there are less things to distract me is a great way to focus on my girls without the distraction of chores and work and my to-do list. Similarly, going somewhere like a museum or the zoo is a way to get out of your everyday rut and just enjoy time together.

3. Turn off the technology.

This one deserves its own category. If you’ve fallen into the routine of constantly checking your email on your computer or iPhone, take some time to think about how that makes the people around you feel. This is a huge trap of technology — and one that I personally struggle with — and I’m trying to do better about closing my laptop during certain parts of our day to just focus on my family without the distraction of email or IM.

Technology is good. I love it, and I’m thankful for the role it plays in our lives today. But balance is key, and a question that I often think about is this: Do my children think my laptop/email/work are more important than them? Although saving all computer work for times when my girls are sleeping isn’t possible, I want to make sure my attention is focused on them when it should be so that the times when I have to work don’t make them feel less important or less loved.

4. Add it to your calendar.

When it comes to connecting with friends and extended family, sometimes the hardest part is simply getting a get together on the calendar. Make plans to spend time together, even if you’re planning a month or two in advance, to make sure that it doesn’t get put off by the busyness of life. It doesn’t matter if you plan a play date, invite a friend over for coffee or sign up for a small group — just make sure you actually schedule a time and a date so that it actually happens.

Are you a people-oriented person or a task-oriented person? What ways can you focus on connecting more with your family and friends in 2010?

The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. Find ideas, prompts and suggestions to motivate you to change in the Life & Goal Organizer.

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way

About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5, 3.5, 2 and a new baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

5 Responses to “ 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: Connect More with Family and Friends ”

  1. Great tips, Mandi! Between my laptop and my husband’s crackberry, I mean blackberry, we sometimes miss out on great family opportunities.
    [email protected]´s last blog ..Time For Family And Friends My ComLuv Profile


  2. Excellent post today girl, and oh yeah–OUCH!!! :D
    Debbie Hudson´s last blog ..**FREE** $5 Babies R Us Gift Card My ComLuv Profile


  3. Mandi, your point about the car rides is so true. I’ve told my fiance many times that I have so much fun on our car rides. It is usually when we travel back to our hometown to see our parents, which is an hour and a half away. Sometimes we chat about the craziest and most random things, sometimes we have really deep conversations, and other times it is listening to the radio and just acting crazy with the music. I really enjoy that time with him. I also think it may be attributed to the fact that we don’t have a tv or computer in front of us hindering the time spent together. A goal I have for our upcoming marriage is that we spend more time without the technology. It can be just sitting on the couch together, making dinner together, or going for a walk. Having one-on-one time together is so necessary and it may seem silly but I really do believe that many times these things actually do need to be scheduled! Great post.


  4. Amen to point #3…this is something I have been so convicted of lately! I am limiting myself to 3 email checks a day and although it’s been hard, my life is richer because of it. But the pull of the computer is so strong…I literally have to turn it off and take away the chair so I’m not pulled in.
    Jill Foley´s last blog ..#135 – My Brother (and Mozart) My ComLuv Profile


  5. Great post. I think technology can be used for good in terms of relationships (e.g. organizing bulk invitations to events, texting to organize get-togethers). I prefer to connect face-to-face but usually use technology to make these meetings happen. I do find myself wishing that my grandmother and my husband’s grandmothers could use text messages!


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