Posted on February 6, 2009

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This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series 7 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Are Considering Polyamory
By Miguel Saavedra at stock.XCHNG

By Miguel Saavedra at stock.XCHNG

Take a look at your average week. How many activities do you currently pack into that time? You probably have sleep, work, and commuting filling up most of your days. Hopefully you spend time to groom yourself and eat properly. You probably have time set aside for activities that you enjoy (hobbies, exercise, blogging), and if you’re in a relationship,  you also spend time with your sweetie on a regular basis.  If you have children, they probably take up what little free time you have left, and then some! 

With everything filling up your calendar, how can you possibly have time for multiple significant others?  Today we are going to answer that question by looking into a concept called time management.

 
Why do we need to manage our time?

To explain the importance of time management, let’s take a brief look at another element of your life where you deal with finite resources: money.  In examining your personal finances, you measure your inflows (income) against your outflows (expenses). If it looks like you are going to end up short, you prioritize which expenses get paid, and which ones you cut back on.    It’s no different in figuring out how to “spend” the time you have during the week.

If you don’t keep track of your schedule, you may find yourself constantly feeling busy and overwhelmed; like you don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish everything you need to.  You may also feel like you have little to no time for yourself (which sucks).  Worst case scenario is that you double book your time and have to deal with the potential emotional fallout from cancelling one of your social engagements.

 

How to set up a time management system

1. Get a time tracking/calendar system that works for you. If a paper calendar works, great. If you need computer software, great.  One suggestion – try a collaborative program, like Google Calendar, where you and your sweeties can manage your own schedules and check to seen when each of you is available.

2. Find a method to identify your different obligations on your calendar. This can be as easy as color coding.

3. Block of portions of the calendar for the following activities:

  • Sleep
  • Work
  • Grooming
  • Commuting
  • Chores
  • Child care (if you have children)
  • “Me time” – figure out those activities that you consider important to making you happy. Do you need to work out twice a week to feel satisfied? Do you need a half hour a day to read the latest news? Are there certain television shows that you really want to watch? Put them on your calendar.  Before you make time for others, you need to make sure you are spending enough time on yourself.

4.  Talk to your partner(s) about what they would consider to be “quality time” with you. Work to understand how much quality they may need in order to be happy with the relationship.  The needs will vary per individual.  Some people will want to spend a lot of time with you where they have your undivided attention. Others prefer less 1:1 time, but would appreciate staying in touch during the day via. text messages and phone calls.

5. Review, and review often:  People’s needs change due to circumstances or greater self awareness.

 

The “Date Night” strategy

One strategy that some polyfolk use in making sure each partner gets their fair share of quality time is to set up specific evenings of the week as “date nights” with that partner.   If this method works for you, use it.

However, make sure that the time you dedicate to that partner is meaningful for the both of you.  If the both of you are content with simply hanging out and watching television together, that’s great. If you want to spend that time doing something that is more mentally, physically, or sexually engaging – do that!

 

My cautionary tale

A couple of years ago, I tried this scheduling method with the person I was dating at tha time. I wanted to make sure that my boyfriend at the time felt that I was devoting enough time to him, so I set up 2 “date nights” per week where I would stay the night.  Those times would consist of us having a date, sleeping together, and me leaving in the morning when I had to go to work.

At first, things were great. Over time (as NRE fizzled out), I really didn’t feel that engaged with him during our time together.  Part of it was because we didn’t do a lot activity wise. Part of it was that one or both of us wasn’t fully engaged in that time together.

We gradually shifted it to one overnight and one evening date (where I would spend time with him after work for a few hours).  Even at that point, the time together felt more like an obligation than something that I looked forward to.  I spoke with him about this and wanted to lessen our time together to one night a week. I wanted to keep the non-overnight date night, while he wanted to drop that one in favor for me spending the night with him. We mutually decided to drop the pre-scheduled time all together.

Moral of the story:  The moment that “date nights” stop being cherished and feel like a chore to you, re-evaluate your arrangement.  You may want to consider making them less frequent or scheduled.

 

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4 Comments

  1. 06/02/2009

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  2. 06/02/2009

    Nice site. There�s some good information on here. I�ll be checking back regularly.

  3. metropoly
    08/02/2009

    Thanks :-D

  4. [...] Established a time management system [...]

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