Taking a few minutes, spread out over a few days, to plan can go a long way.
One thing that contributes to a lack of work-life balance is how far away I live from a lot of the people I love. I’m sure it would be much easier to find that ever-elusive balance if I could meet one of my sisters for frozen yogurt after work, or meet my cousin for coffee before getting to the office.
Alas, I can’t do that. Over the last three years, I’ve lamented that I don’t get to see them unless we’ve planned elaborate trips that are usually once a year.
I often tell them, I wish I could just pop over and have meet you at Starbucks or have dinner with you.
Then, it came to me, why not do just that? Why does it have to be so elaborate? Why don’t I just choose a weekend, book a plane ticket, and fly to see them, even if it’s barely for 48 hours?
The answer is: Because it takes some planning. Buying a last-minute plane ticket is hugely expensive, and flying across the country does take some management. So by the time I realize fully how much I miss them and want to spend time with them, it’s too late to do something about it. And so often in our busyness, and in “the haze” we get lost in during our everyday lives, we forget to plan.
Earlier this fall, I called up my sisters and cousin and asked for a weekend we could all meet in NY (they’re all on the East Coast), planned my schedule, and bought a ticket.
And last weekend was so simple. I left work, took an Uber to the airport, got on a train, and voila— I got a bonus weekend in New York, dressed in all its holiday splendor, with some of my favorite people in the world. And it just took a little bit of effort, a few emails and phone calls, and a little bit of planning ahead. It revealed to me how much is possible, if time to plan is prioritized.
I love Christmas in New York, and in previous years I’d get to December and get the pangs of memory. Not this year, because I took just a bit of time in September to plan, and I’m so grateful.