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Planning for Good Relationships

Do you ever find that you’re too busy for the relationships that really matter to you?

So how do you get what is important done and keep the most important people in your life close?

People tend to engage in a psychological phenomenon called planning fallacy by underestimating the length of time it will take to complete a task. For example, we may think we can make it home in 23 minutes when it usually takes 30 minutes as a result of traffic. Yet, when we try to accomplish a few extra tasks before leaving (squeezing in one more phone call, copy, etc.), we end up inviting ourselves to experience more stress, risk being late, and feeling less energized when we meet up with our loved ones.

Most of us have fallen prey to the planning fallacy. But how do we fight against it?

Step 1: Be curious.

Ask yourself if you think it could take more time to accomplish this activity than you first thought. Be curious about what good comes from planning fallacy.

Consider asking, “What’s the function in the dysfunction?” In the above scenario, rushing can sometimes allow us to get more work done in a short amount of time. So it may be dysfunctional in that it causes stress and hurts our relationships, breaking down trust when we are late. But the functional behavior is accomplishing tasks in a short amount of time. Once we’ve thought through the function and dysfunction, we can make a new plan! Step 2 would be a great option.

Step 2: Allow some buffer time. Don’t schedule every single minute of your life. Allow at least 5 minutes for trains, traffic, and spilled coffee. Although we may be a little less productive, our relationships are much more important than accomplishing one or two extra small tasks. What have you done to fight the tendency to try to fit more in than you should?

Chuck & Ashley

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