Question: I recently began a new relationship and I’m so happy with the way things are going. However, the extra time spent with my boyfriend has started to cut into my school work/job. Any advice?

Dear Reader,

The start of a new relationship is cause for celebration. Usually when two people start a romantic commitment to one another it is difficult to pull them apart for the first few weeks, months or sometimes even years. With responsibilities like work and school already dominating our schedules, it can be difficult to transition to a balanced life of work and social time. Luckily, there are plenty of successful couples who learn to manage their time and I have a few suggestions to help you organize this in your own life.

Whether single or in a relationship, it is important to have a strong hold on time management. I recommend that before date night you make sure you accomplish a portion of your homework or work-related responsibilities. When you have plans to see your boyfriend, always try to accomplish one work or school related task before you meet up. This will leave you feeling more relaxed when you are with your boyfriend and less stressed out once you are alone again.

It is important to know when you do not have time to hang out. I know it is hard to resist spending time with your new boyfriend, but spending time with someone you love should never mean sacrificing your own personal goals, such as maintaining good grades or working. If you do not have time to hang out with your boyfriend, perhaps set aside a larger chunk of time the upcoming week to do something fun together. If you are truly in love, spending time together should not have a negative effect on either of your success.

Photo by: William Wrobel

Photo by: William Wrobel

Try to identify times when you are not necessarily using your time wisely. Keep track of particular instances where you are unproductive for a prolonged period of time and find alternative ways to utilize that time on future occasions. You can improve your time management by replacing activities that waste time with more productive tasks.

Another way to stay on task but spend time with your boyfriend is to plan specific study date nights. That is, if you can avoid the distraction of his presence. Perhaps you could plan to study for a few hours before kicking it on the couch or going to dinner. Beware that if you blow off your responsibilities and just hang out instead, this approach will not work for you. It is also crucial to recognize the importance of alone time. When we start a new relationship, it is easy to spend every free minute with our significant other, but there is something to be said about the benefits of absence. Sometimes love grows from missing one another. Remember that if you notice your success in areas such as work and school dwindle, then it is important to readjust your habits. I know it can be difficult to limit your hours with someone you love, but it is not worth sacrificing your individual success in order to hang out with a loved one.

With all of that being said, it is your responsibility to weigh the importance of your priorities and create a schedule that works for you. Time is tricky; it does not stop, yet there is never quite enough of it. Focus on using each minute wisely and I think you will find that there is enough time to balance your work, school and love life.

Yours,

Arline