6 Ways to Make Coworking With Your Significant Other More Manageable
Moving in with your significant other isn’t always easy. Between divvying up the chores, scoring some alone time, and dealing with each other’s foibles, cohabitating with another person (especially the person you love) requires a lot of patience and compromise. As if that isn’t challenging enough, many people are suddenly forced to put working from home tips into practice—right next to their partner.
Spending every waking (and, honestly, sleeping) moment with your S.O. sounds like a lot of quality time, but when you factor in your to-do list, string of deadlines, and inevitable work stress? Well, we finally understand what Pat Benatar meant by love is a battlefield. (As if any of us needed social distancing relationship challenges on top of coronavirus stress.)
But just because you’re cooped up with your partner in your home office for the foreseeable future doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. To help, several relationship experts shared their tips on how to make cohabiting and coworking at the same time more manageable. You don’t have to be in a relationship to learn something new from these great relationship tips. You can also apply them to sheltering in place and physical or social distancing with your roommate, best friend, or family members.
Start the day on the right foot
Once upon a time—you know, back when you didn’t work from home—it’s likely you and your significant other had a structured morning routine. You knew when you had to wake up, who needed the bathroom first, and who was responsible for making the coffee.
But as most of us are hitting the snooze button more times than we’d like to admit and clocking into work the moment we wake up, it’s possible your morning routine has been thrown out the window. Translation? Since your day is starting in chaos, it’s all too easy to wake up already annoyed at your significant other.
According to relationship expert Glennon Gordon, it’s important to start the day on a positive note. “Make it a point to begin your day with a positive intention toward your spouse or partner,” she says. “If we start off our day viewing our significant other in a positive light versus a negative one, our chances of harmonious living will increase.”
As Gordon puts it, simply acknowledging that your partner is ultimately your teammate and doing their best during this time can help you stay grounded and positive throughout the day.
Share your schedule
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’ve put your hustle on hold. Many people are still clocking in full workdays, complete with deadlines and conference calls. Very few things can derail your own productivity—or, honestly, grind your gears—like having your partner try to make small talk throughout the day while you’re meeting-hopping
Want to complete your to-do list without losing your cool? Whether you have a big conference call that requires no interruptions or are on deadline, share your schedule with your partner.
“When we ask for what we need, we give our partner a clear roadmap for how to best support us and show us love,” says Chanel Doku, relationship expert and co-founder of Healthy Minds NYC.
Another way to master the work-life balance is to establish working hours.
“Delay personal conversations until you’re outside the work window,” Doku says. “Knowing the edges of personal and professional time can help you avoid the compounding stress that comes from mixing personal irritations with work frustrations.”
Does work begin when you sit down and first open your laptop? Is the workday over when your partner officially kicks off happy hour with that bottle of Chardonnay at 6 p.m.? Creating a schedule—and sticking to it—can help you set boundaries with your relationship and your job.
Declare your independence
Nowadays, scoring some alone time feels virtually impossible. After all, you sleep in the same bed, watch TV from the same couch, and likely work from the same dining room table. Still, it’s more important than ever to dedicate some time to yourself.
“Go on walks or bike rides alone or download an app to give yourself some space to do a workout alone,” says Courtney Quinlan, founder and owner of Midwestern Matchmaking. “Go into a separate room and spend at least 30 minutes doing an activity to get your mind off of the stressors in life, work, and your partner.”
Quinlan recommends reading a book, watching your favorite TV show, or doodling in an adult coloring book. If you’re living in tight quarters, put in your headphones and listen to an audiobook or best podcast. That way, you can have some alone time without leaving your home.
Take a (virtual) break
Regardless of how much you love your significant other, it’s possible to get irritated with anyone after spending too much time with them. If working and living with your significant other is becoming too much, create some breathing space by calling a friend or family member.
“Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation, and remaining connected with your friends and family is important now more than ever,” says Kristin Anderson, an associate psychotherapist at NYC Therapy + Wellness. “Making an effort to stay in touch and communicate with people you aren’t [living] with can help relieve that stress on your relationship.”
Not only does this give you the time to recharge, but it’s also a great excuse to connect with your loved ones.
Keep the romance alive
Let’s be honest: It can be hard to keep the spark alive when you’re spending every single minute with your significant other. Who wants to turn up the romance when your partner’s obnoxiously loud chewing is driving you crazy? Still, it’s important to show your significant other some extra love.
“Do small, everyday gestures for your partner,” says Viktor Sander, a counselor at SocialPro. “Take five minutes every day to do something out of the ordinary for your partner. It could be something as simple as doing one of their normal chores for them or preparing a small dessert after dinner.”
In addition to putting a smile on your significant other’s face, these small romantic gestures will help lay the groundwork for putting your relationship first.
Communication is key
Between the never-ending news cycle, daily stresses from work, and feeling that cabin fever finally sink in, you and your significant other are dealing with a lot these days. Of course, spending day in and day out in a small space together isn’t helping, either. It’s all too easy to internalize your frustrations and blow up at the smallest hiccup or disagreement. Avoid fights and squabbles by keeping the lines of communication open.
“Couples likely express stress in different ways and at different times,” Gordon says. “Hold space for each other and vent as necessary or ask for help with solutions if that’s what you’re looking for.”
Simply start by asking how their day was or how they’re handling your newfound coworking setup. Instead of hopping to the defense, keep the conversation thoughtful, calm, and collaborative.
“By prioritizing your relationship during this heightened time of anxiety you may come out stronger and actually have your improved relationship be the silver lining of this difficult time,” she says.
Your coworking setup may not be ideal but, like most sticky situations, this too shall pass.
Courtesy of RealSimple.com