Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Domestic Dance of Time Management

My husband and I operate very differently. I am the task master - forever planning, scheduling, and trying to squeeze the most out of any free moment. He is the procrastinator - industrious yet forgetful, and seemingly always putting things off. Yet despite my satisfaction in checking things off my list, I'm the one who is stressed, while he is calm. This is what my friend calls the domestic dance of time management. And funny enough, it seems that most couples share in this yin/yang relationship where opposites somehow attract.

Well, I may just have figured out the simple truth of this relationship conundrum. It boils down to our sense of urgency for getting things done. I live my life with a high sense of urgency, always thinking “What can I get done today?” My husband on the other hand, operates with a low sense of urgency, and carries the mindset of “What must I get done today?” A subtle yet profound difference – Can vs Must - which affects our levels of stress, and our ability to relate to one another.

Realizing this simple difference has liberated me. I now have the context for creating change without feeling guilty or pressured. I can choose to give myself a “must” day and take it easy. Or I can simply realize that what I can get done, and must get done, are not the same. Similarly, I better understand my husband’s relationship with time. So if I’m feeling overwhelmed, I now know to define what “must” get done so that he feels ready to help me without nagging or reminders. With this knowledge we may finally have bridged our time management differences.

While the battle of the sexes will wage on, I hope sharing my new awareness will help you to take one step further in creating peace in your world too.

Best of Luck,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Lesson about Anger Management

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father was very concerned for his son’s future and thought hard about how he could explain to his son why relationships are so important and controlling his temper is a key factor in this.

After much thought his father gave him a bag full of nails and told him, “Every time you lose your temper, hammer a nail into the back of the fence.” His son did not understand but knew that his father was wise so he agreed.

On the first day that the boy received his bag of nails he ended up driving about 37 nails into the fence. Each day he learned little by little to control his temper. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all.

He was very proud of himself and went to share his good news with his father. His Father was very proud of him and offered a challenge to his son. “Why don’t you pull out a nail everyday that you are able to hold your temper?”

As there were many nails in the fence it took the boy sometime to finally remove the nails from the fence. But eventually that joyous day arrived. He was so pleased with himself and he wanted to share this with his father.

His father was so proud of his son, but he wanted him to understand that holding his temper was more than just being able to add or remove nails from a fence. He took his son’s hand and showed him all the holes that were left from the nails. “As you see my son, this fence will never be the same, the fence is scarred with holes from your temper. Think of these holes as the words you have spoken in anger, the wounds you have left in people’s lives. Words really are like weapons they leave a wound, that does not heal easily. Son, your family and friends will make you smile and encourage you to succeed, they will lend an ear, share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us. Always remember the fence before you speak words of anger.”