Are You Working More And Dating Less?

Sacrificing dates to spend more time at work can actually backfire, according to these authors. Here, find out why carving out time for your love life can actually help you become a more effective employee.

By Margot Carmichael Lester

ith the economy continuing to contract, more of us are working longer hours — which can really cut into the time we have for pursuing our social lives. And even if we are actively dating, it can be hard to concentrate on romance when we're worrying
I always worry that my warnings and caveats sound like escape hatches.
about finances and job stability.

Consider the plight of George Kaplan, a Chapel Hill, NC-based network engineer for a medical center. Periodically, he has to be on-call for work. "On-call sucks for dating," Kaplan laments. "It's not an on-call situation people normally think about, and so they're surprised that it really means 24/7 for an extended period of time. I always worry that my warnings and caveats sound like escape hatches."

So what are singles like him supposed to do?

Making your social life a priority can be a smart career move
"If you want to date for companionship or find a significant other, you must make time in your busy schedule," asserts Gabriela Cora, author of Leading Under Pressure: Strategies to Avoid Burnout, Increase Energy and Improve Your Well-Being. "Many say they want to find love, but their actions don't match their words. They continue to make themselves too busy — and they may not even see that someone is genuinely interested in them because they are in 'work mode.'"

Ok, sure... but how can we actually make the time we need for dating? By putting our business skills to work! We're always setting priorities at our jobs, and we need to do the same for our personal lives. This doesn't mean putting dating ahead of your job, but it does mean scheduling time for dating and personal pursuits (and committing to being as focused on our dates as we are on those work tasks).

Don't roll your eyes. Having a robust social life can actually be good for your career, according to Wendy Komac, author of I Work with Crabby Crappy People: Thriving in a Rotten Work Environment. "A social life means different things to different people, but what it doesn't mean is a shallow or insignificant life, [though] it's often viewed that way in the workplace," explains
You can't take money to bed with you at night.
Komac. "The fact is, doing social things actually can lower stress and allow us to be more productive at work."

So creating time for dating and socializing is actually a smart career move, then. "Making it part of our 'job' to be balanced so we can be more productive is not burning the candle at both ends," Komac continues. "It's 'socially nutritious' and necessary for sustaining longer work hours. Leaving the office is not difficult if you are leaving to replenish and regroup, and it's viewed as a necessity for your productivity and not an impediment."

Happy people are more effective employees
Roland Hines, a single writer living in Los Angeles, CA, agrees. "I reserve one specific day for my significant other, which allows us to reconnect together as a couple. There are a lot inexpensive playhouses and free events that we can attend all year round," says Hinds, who's chronicled his dating experience and insights in his self-help book, Are You The Right One For Me? Whose Choice Is It Anyway? "It's the quality time that's more important and effective. Spending time together helps to strengthen our relationship. And I try not to focus on the economy when we are spending that time together."

The bottom line is that you want to take care of business during the work day, and take care of yourself (and your date) during your time off, regardless of how brief that time may be.

"No matter how busy you are, date," says Iris Krasnow, author of the New York Times bestseller, Surrendering to Marriage, Surrendering to Yourself. "A successful love life is at the root of personal happiness, and a happy person does better in the workplace. Remember this: You can't take money to bed with you at night. Finding the right person takes time and commitment."

Freelancer writer Margot Carmichael Lester successfully used online dating to help her balance a busy career with finding romance. It worked!
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