Having too much to do is a common cause of stress. Relationships are driven by organization. The benefits of using these organizing principles are very real as more time with your significant other lets the relationship grow. Spending a little time developing a system that makes sense for both of you will save you all sorts of stress down the road and leave more time for the two of you to spend doing things you want to do. A couple with less waste and less stress is going to be a whole lot happier.
1. WEEKLY “TEAM” MEETING
Having a meeting each week keeps the lines of communication open. If you regard your relationship as a “team”, then you will work as one. Sit down at a table and run this more or less like a business meeting. The fact is that every relationship has some “business” to it — tasks that need to get done, upcoming projects you need to prepare for, financial concerns and so on. Spending a little time each week focusing on what needs to happen to keep your home running smoothly means that these conversations happen when they’re supposed to and don’t “sneak” up on you at the wrong time.
2. USE A JOINT CALENDAR
Having a calendar is vital for staying organized with commitments. Sharing these appointments with your partner helps prevent conflicts of scheduling, and also keeps you both reminded of things you’re doing together. Be sure to keep it in a place where you can both refer to it and update it as often as possible. Daily calendars are fine, but it may be beneficial to use a calendar that displays the full month so that upcoming events are visible in advance.
3. TRACK YOUR FINANCES
Establishing a budget and reconciling your checkbook are great ways to keep track of your finances. Today’s technology has made it even easier with automated solutions like Mint.com, QuickBooks and Quicken. Money fights are some of the most common in relationships, so devise a budget plan to make sure all financial responsibilities are covered. Having an open discussion about finances before you’re over budget or underfunded for the month will make things better for both of you.
4. STREAMLINE YOUR JOINT FINANCIAL SYSTEM
There are many ways to handle money in a relationship. However, if you agree to jointly handle money; make the system as streamlined as possible. Open a joint account that you both pay into, so you can pay bills and move money back and forth if one of you needs to pay the other for something. Each of you may keep your personal accounts, but this type of central “pool” makes bill sharing easy. You may set a deadline for the money transfer so that each is aware in enough time if the other is going to be short. Whatever your system, make moving money an easy thing — the goal is to relieve the stress about your finances.
5. USE A JOINT SHOPPING LIST
Nothing’s worse than getting home from the store and realizing that you forgot something — except, maybe having to run back to the store just to get that one thing. It is a waste of time and energy, and the odds of it happening doubles when you become a couple. Keep a shopping list somewhere you can both see and add to it, and make a final check for anything that’s not on the list before you go shopping.
6. SAVE FOR GOALS AS A COUPLE
Having savings is important and so is having goals. A savings goal is the best of both, and a great way to get organized as a couple. Planning a trip or a home improvement project? Figure out how much you need to save each month, and each contribute to a joint account. Even if you don’t have combined finances, joint savings accounts can be set up easily or you can do it the old fashioned way and just put it in a shoebox. Either way, the goal money is tucked away in a separate place where it won’t be spent.
7. DIVIDE UP THE HOUSEHOLD CHORES
Most people do not enjoy housework, but we all agree that it must be done. Splitting the load makes it more bearable rather than to leave it to “whoever” to get to it. Chances are it will never get done. Decide who is responsible for what and divide up the work in a way that gets you both involved in keeping the house clean and running smoothly. If you don’t mind cooking but hate the cleanup, you should both agree that one of you cooking means the other cleans up afterwards. It’s a simple fix that eliminates “messy house” resentment. It not only shows teamwork, but promotes couple harmony.
8. HAVE A MAIL SYSTEM
Have a system for who gets the mail each day – maybe something like “first one home gets the mail” since it works no matter how much your schedules change. Once the mail is in the house, have a designated place for it to go so both of you always know where to find it. Having a spot for mail to come into the house, and for mail that needs to go out, will keep you organized and avoid the stress of looking for a lost bill or important document.
Kimberley R. Jasper was raised in Jamaica Queens, New York and still describes herself as a true New Yorker through and through despite currently residing in Humble, Texas with her family. From horror fiction with a mystical twist to erotic thrillers, this author does it all with well-seasoned finesse.
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