Making Time For Love

Is your schedule so hectic that romance is taking a backseat? Here’s how to solve that situation and find time to date.

By Margot Carmichael Lester

yler Barnett is a busy L.A.-based PR and marketing professional. And like many of us, he’s so busy working that it’s a challenge making time for love.

“The difficulty is determining priority,” admits Barnett, the co-founder of Barnett Ellman LLC. “I’m focused on my career more than anything else right
Make time for an after-work drink or meet up at a sushi bar.
now, which is both a physical and emotional investment. I don’t see how I can contribute equally to a relationship with that much energy being vested elsewhere. I feel as if I am literally in a relationship with my business: It’s fun, exciting, exhausting, interesting. Those feelings tend to parallel the ones I get in a serious relationship—minus the physicality of another human being, of course!”

Sound familiar? If it does, try one or more of these expert tips for finding the time to find the love of your life:

Deploy your skills
Having time for love won’t just happen. “You must create and plan for it, just like you do for business presentations, conferences and meetings,” counsels Kathleen Hall, CEO of Atlanta’s Stress Institute. “Begin by asking yourself where you can go to meet the kind of person you want to date. Volunteer for an organization you are passionate about. Discover a yoga or meditation studio. Attend a lecture series at a local university or take a class in painting, drawing or writing. This plan creates play and relaxation time woven into meeting new dating prospects. You are not just exerting effort to find a date; you are creating an area of meaning and enrichment in your life.”

Learn to say no
Instead of saying yes to work all the time, look for opportunities where you can realistically decline, says Susan Newman, a social psychologist at Rutgers University and author of The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It—and Mean It and Stop People-Pleasing Forever. “Refusing doesn’t turn you into a monster or cause the loss of a job (if you negotiate when you can say no with
“I make a point not to limit my options, but to expand them.”
your superiors); rather, it allows you to be there for those you truly want to assist. And you’ll have time left over for yourself—to date, to work out, to relax and rejuvenate, all things that make you far more appealing to potential partners.”

Don’t stop moving
You know if you go home after work, you’ll get comfy and never want to leave, right? “I make it a point to go straight from work to dinner dates at least a few days a week,” Barnett says. “It makes the day go faster, as I have that date to look forward to. It also allows me to get out of the office at a decent hour. I am not one to stand up a date, and what better motivation to leave work!”

Expand your options
“I make a point not to limit my options, but to expand them,” says Michelle DeAngelis, founder and chief executive of New York-based Joy Scout. “If I can’t swing a long, leisurely dinner date, then how about a quick drink or meet-up at a sushi bar? Or maybe a walk after he’s had dinner and my deadlines are done; then we're both more relaxed and ready for fun.”

In truth, the key is being reasonable about striking a balance. No one is suggesting you abandon work, family or other commitments. But “if you try to make everything in life a high priority, you will feel stressed and overwhelmed,” explains Christi Youd, president of American Fork, Utah-based Organize Enterprise LLC. “Use the prioritizing process to let go of pressures placed on you by others. Once you are clear on your own priorities, you can do away with time-consuming tasks that don’t really support you and what you value. This will greatly improve the quality of your life.” And open up your schedule to love!

North Carolina-based freelancer Margot Carmichael Lester found time for love by going online, where she met her man.
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