Too many people reserve quality time for their retirement. They say things like, “When I retire, I will spend quality time with my family and my friends. Until then, I need to work, take care of the house, stay busy, and then distract my mind with TV or the internet in my free time.” If you are losing the ability to sit down and spend real quality time with the people that you love, then I can guarantee you will regret it. Anyone who has ever worked at a nursing home, like me, can tell you that people’s biggest regrets usually have to do with their relationships. Alternatively, anyone who has ever neglected an important relationship – and then lost that relationship – can tell you that they regret it.
5 Reasons To Take The Quality Time Challenge
1. You Will Share More Quality Experiences
Life is built on experiences, and when you share experiences with other people, that’s pretty darn special! Experiences are better shared. You have someone to relate to when you reflect on experiences because they were there. Shared experiences are the moments you look back on in life and talk about with other people. They are the moments you remember because they stand out above the everyday routine moments. In short, they are special and important.
2. Learn More About The People You Love
When you are spending quality time with someone, you automatically learn more about them. They either tell you something new or you discover something about them because you are so focused on their words, actions, and behaviors. That makes quality time is the best way to understand people you love better and relate to them better.
3. Teach Them More About You
If you ever worry that someone doesn’t understand you very well, then quality time is the key to rectifying that. You can open up, share things, and help them understand you better. This will help reduce feelings of anger and distrust in the relationship, and it will help you feel more authentic around them.
4. Develop A Stronger Relationship
The more you learn about someone, the closer your relationship will be. Understanding why someone does what they do or what makes them who they are helps you interact with them better and understand how to support them better.
5. Feel Loved
Ultimately, spending quality time with others helps us feel loved. We feel less lonely and reduce the very real negative effects that come from loneliness. We feel more connected. We feel more supported. And we feel as if someone holds us high in their life, which is one of the best feelings in the world.
Remember, Timing Is Everything
Just because you are in the mood to spend quality time with someone doesn’t mean they are in the mood to spend quality time with you. We all have our own schedule and own life, and you shouldn’t expect someone to drop everything just because you want to spend time with them.
If you do try to force quality time, most people will feel obligated to drop everything and spend time with you, and that will just cause resentment and fear of future random get together’s.
Therefore, work together with people to come up with the best times for quality time. And don’t expect people to dedicate too much time to quality time or you will be disappointed.
For instance, finding a few nights a week that your whole family can shut down their electronics and play games or go out is doable. But, demanding that everyone spends Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday together playing games could be putting too much demand on your family. They may have other things in their routine/schedule that they want to do, and it’s unfair to make them feel bad about not wanting to spend quality time with you.
Always remember – quality over quantity. If your friends, family, or partner is not happy during your quality time, then it’s not really quality time.
How Much Is Enough Quality Time?
It’s funny because I can’t find a statistic on quality time with family and friends. I can, however, find a statistic on quality time with your boss/employee. Turns out 6 hours a week is the sweet spot for interacting with your employee/boss.
It seems that every relationship can benefit from different amounts of quality time. It depends on how close you are, how similar or different you are, whether you live together, and so much more.
Experts say that healthy relationships find a balance between ‘not enough’ and ‘too much’ quality time together. Whatever satisfies everyone involved is the perfect amount of time.
For example, I have a friend who lives on the other side of the country. Each year we get together for a few weeks and spend quality time together. At the end of the few weeks, we’ve had enough! With my husband, I need about an hour a day to feel connected to him. With my parents, 4-8 hours a week is enough, depending on the week.
So, test and tweak with your different relationships to find the sweet spot for each relationship.
The Quality Time Challenge: Two Weeks Of Real Quality Time
This challenge is not specific to spending quality time with one person. It’s just focused on increasing the amount of quality time you spend with your loved ones in general. It’s meant to get you into the mindset that quality time is important and the habit of making time to spend that time with loved ones. Time goes fast, and if you don’t have the right mindset or make the time, it may never happen.
First: Make a list of the people you want to spend quality time with. It could be just a few people or it could be twenty. Obviously the more people on your list, the more challenging it will be for you, but where there is a will, there’s a way. You are going to need to talk to people and try to create a quality time schedule in order to pull this off. (See download below to help you organize.) Don’t let that overwhelm you. Let it excite you! Get excited to enrich your life and see how much quality time can benefit you.
Week 1: Eating Together
Make your dinners about quality time this week. Eating together means focusing on two things: food and conversation. It’s the ultimate way to have an experience together while communicating and strengthening your bond.
If you live alone, meet your family and friends for dinner or ask them to come over. Or, if you have a friend who lives across the country, get on Skype with them and pretend like you are across the table – they may find the idea a little weird, but they will want to try it. It will definitely be an experience!
If you have seven people on your list, then that’s perfect for each day of the week! If you have more, try to find a way to bring two or more people into one dinner date. And if you only have one, see if they would be willing to participate in the challenge with you and spend all week eating dinner with you.
If one person doesn’t have the time or want to make time for you during your first week, that’s fine. Spend time with someone else. The challenge is for you to make each day about quality time, and there may be one or more people who don’t feel like spending quality time with you this week.
Week 2: Doing Something New Together
Make all your experiences with loved ones new and exciting this week. You don’t need to travel to Italy, you just need to do something new together – something that neither of you has done. New experiences are stimulating, and stimulating activities can enhance your relationship.
What can you do?
- Go to a new restaurant.
- Try karaoke.
- Visit a place in your town you’ve never visited.
- Watch a new movie.
- Play a new game.
- Go on a train trip.
- Have coffee in a new place.
- Tweak your routine.
The keyword is new. As long as you are doing something new with someone, you are doing your relationship a favor. It will be a shared moment that only you two (or three, or four, or five) have together.
Again, if you have seven people in your life, make each day about one person, if possible. If you have more than seven people, try to combine people into a new experience. And, if you have just one person, see if they will continue the challenge with you and do something new – even something small, each day.