As a twenty or thirty-something woman, you’re constantly told to bust your butt at work now. Establish yourself as a force in the career department, and you set yourself up to scale back down the line—if and when you’re ready for a family. Right?
Not so fast: According to a new study from the University of Illinois, couples that treat their relationship with as much importance as their careers are better able to resolve conflict and are less stressed than those without that balance. [Tweet this tip!]
But could giving your man the same attention you give your boss really be the secret to true success? Perhaps: "Women today are taught to believe that being strong and independent means they don't need a man to complete them. But it's just as strong and true to admit that you want a man, and to go after what you want," says Heather Huhman, a career expert and author of Attention Job Seekers: Your Job Search Is At Stake!.
The problem: It’s one thing to say you’re going to focus on your dating life or your boyfriend—it’s another thing to actually do it. Here, three ways to bump your dating life up on your “to-do” list without your career taking a hit.
1. Schedule Long Weekends Like Business Meetings
Here’s the ironic part about staying late at the office: Working like a dog could be harming your career. Why? You lose productivity when you’re cooped up at the office all the time and your quality of work suffers, Huhman explains.
Your brain needs new experiences to feel refreshed and pump out the highest quality of work. And dating—or hanging out with your significant other—counts as one of those new experiences, Huhman assures. But if the idea of a week worth of PTO stresses you out, take a few mini four-day trips throughout the year. Schedule them in advance and keep them on your calendar like you would a meeting—it’ll be time to reset with your S.O.
2. Prepare a "Vacation Plan" at Work
Remember this: Bosses respect you more if you take vacation time and use it wisely, Huhman confirms. The key is to handle your time out responsibly—if you don’t, you risk being stressed which takes attention away from your one-on-one time with him.
Your solution: Start planning a month in advance, and let your boss know as soon as your dates are finalized. If you’re going to miss meetings, reschedule or send someone in your place, says Huhman. Next, make a list of how-to-do-your-job instructions for your co-workers so they can refer to it while you’re out. And finally, decide how reachable you’re going to be while you’re away, and let people know. That way, all parties involved are in the clear about how to proceed without you, and you can relax.
3. Be Present With Your Partner
When you’re at work, you’re usually at work—and not super focused on your BF. But if you sit across from him at dinner checking work emails, you’re not giving him the attention you could. Try this trick: At the beginning of each week, look at your workload and figure out when you can hang with him. If you have to work late one night, schedule a date for the next night. The key is to plan accordingly. Being surprised and reacting to your schedule increases anxiety so you’re less able to enjoy your time with your guy, explains Christie Hartman, Ph.D., author of Changing Your Game. Take it a step further with a no-phones rule so you’re not tempted by the all-too-familiar blue glow. After all, those emails will still be there before you go to bed.
Would you take more PTO in the name of love? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine.