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So You’ve Moved in Together and Suddenly Lost Control of Your Schedule

You’re not alone, and there’s a simple solution

Photo by Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash

When my partner and I started living together, it was amazing. After four hard years of plowing through long-distance, we finally had unlimited access to each other. We spent every free minute together and savored it. It was a glorious honeymoon phase.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, we ran into problems.

It was like a bag full of candy had been given to a couple of small kids. Without teaching them how to eat it responsibly. They will eat too much of it in one go, and ride the sugar high until they crash.

Which is exactly what we did. We did not use our time responsibly. We rode our inebriated state for a long time. Eventually the high wore off, and we started wondering where all our time was going.

All the goals and dreams we once had seemed to lay forgotten in a dusty old basement. It felt like we didn’t have time for them anymore.

Our individual lives had taken a hit too. We had stopped all hobbies that we used to do independently. We seemed to have given up on me-time. We weren’t even exercising — something that we both used to do religiously before moving in together.

Where was our time going?

In the beginning, it seemed impossible to solve this issue, because neither of us knew where all our time was going. If we didn’t know what was taking up our time, how were we supposed to know what to change and where to free up time?

Turns out, that was the first problem to solve. We needed to build an awareness of where all our time was going. We tend to remember what we did this morning or yesterday, but very few of us remember how we really spent the previous week. And it is usually not one or two days that affects our lives, but weeks and months that add up.

The first mistake is never the one that ruins you. It is the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows. Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit.

Atomic Habits, James Clear

The first step is to record how you are spending each and every hour of the day. For at least a month.

And, yes. It really is as boring as it sounds.

I’m not going to lie, it drove me crazy to do this. It felt like a colossal waste of time — the exact opposite of what we’re supposed to be feeling, right?

But we did it anyway. And the results were life-changing.

How time tracking helped us move forward

My time tracker looked something like this:

This is a snapshot of one week. We did this for months.

We did this over a few months. And we started seeing patterns. The patterns that were bringing us down.

The number of hours spent on Netflix that we used to think of as “quality time”.

The amount of time spent sleeping that we justified as much-needed rest.

The number of weekends spent at Starbucks doing nothing.

You think you know what you’re doing, but it is something else entirely to see the actual numbers on paper. It is a much-needed wake-up call.

It motivates you to make the changes that you’ve been wanting to make all these months.

What time awareness does in the long run

When you start seeing blocks of your day through this fresh perspective, it slowly becomes an automatic thing. It becomes your default framework for planning your day in the morning. In the evening, you are more aware of how your day has been (and your week, and your month!).

When you know how much you’ve been working, you are more likely to actually let yourself wind down and relax at the end of the day.

This boring ritual of recording your hours isn’t needed forever. It is only a crutch that will help you until you automatically start seeing your days this way. For us, it took a few months to stop tracking explicitly.

Your schedule is always going to keep changing as new events unfold in your life. This kind of time awareness helps in navigating each new change without behaving like a kid with a bag full of candy.

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Aditi Balaji

Aditi Balaji

Writing about relationships. feminism and books. I’m an introvert, a fantasy/sci-fi nerd, and a dog mom.

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