Young Adults: Finding Time for a Love Life

Reviewed Apr 18, 2015

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Summary

Give each phase of life—family, education and career—plenty of time. 

Single young adults often struggle to find that elusive work/life balance that will allow time for a serious relationship, along with a career, financial responsibilities, hobbies, household chores and socializing. If you’re struggling to find a way to live comfortably and find love, the tips below may help you discover changes and improvements you can make in your routine—or learn to accept your priorities as they are.

Consider some illuminating statistics about today’s young people:

  • From 1970 to 2010, the estimated median age at first marriage rose 5 years for men, from 23.2 years to 28.2 years. During that same time, it rose almost 6 years for women, from 20.8 years to 26.1 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Since the 1970s, work has become a larger part of the day for employed, childless young adults aged 18 to 34. This may possibly be because of declining economic situations, report sociologists Anne Gauthier and Frank Furstenberg in a policy brief for the Network on Transitions to Adulthood.
  • More women today have entered the workforce than in decades past, perhaps focusing on developing careers first and starting families later.  

Although these data may not all be related, they’re interesting in that they seem to underscore the complications young people may experience in balancing relationships with other interests and challenges.

The problem

Many young adults feel the need to focus on work or continuing education rather than look for a serious relationship and build a life outside of work. The drive to compete in a global economy and maintain a high material living standard can result in “stuff”-rich, time-poor societies, Norwegian academic and executive Ragnhild Sohlberg explains in an interview with the Boston College Sloan Work and Family Research Network.

However, research reveals that Generation Y employees appear to place higher priorities on personal goals, such as serious relationships and family, than career goals.

Getting a (love) life

So, how does a young go-getter reconcile those 2 scenarios? Some business writers believe “work/life balance” is a mythical goal that cannot easily or realistically be achieved, and others hold that the big push for balance threatens to make America less competitive in an ultra-competitive global marketplace. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet when it comes to balancing a serious relationship with work and other interests. 

You may find that making seemingly small changes can help you balance the love of your life with the rest of your life. The trick is to find a strategy that works for you. Consider some ideas recommended by business writers who have examined the issue:

  • Remember that “balance” is not likely to be a fixed condition that you can maintain as a sort of zen state. Rather, learn how to readdress and shift priorities as circumstances change. 
  • Focus on structuring your work day more effectively. If spending time with your significant other or on a hobby is crucial, maximize your time at work so you can get home more easily. 
  • Find a company that promotes a healthy working environment, emphasizing flexible working arrangements, wellness programs, and training and development. Take advantage of those initiatives. 
  • Use a calendar religiously. Planning tasks and engagements (including social events) for your coming week can help you visualize your time. 
  • Cultivate other old-fashioned office skills—such as filing things you don’t need currently and organizing—to help you get ahead. 
  • If you can afford it, pay someone to help you with tasks that you don’t have to be personally involved in. 
  • Don’t feel obligated to take on all the tasks, projects and activities that are thrown your way. Learn to say no. 
  • Similarly, don’t feel pressured to keep in touch with everyone at all times. Limit time spent checking email, voice mail, cell phones and the Internet. Time spent with your loved one will feel more worthwhile if you’re not constantly interrupted. 
  • Listen to and cooperate with your significant other, and foster mutual respect for your respective time obligations. 
  • Turn the TV off whenever possible. Instead of tuning in, go for a walk with your loved one, read a book together about a shared interest, or just talk.  
  • Plan regular dates with your significant other, even if they just involve trying a new recipe or renting a movie. Looking forward to those dates also can help motivate you to accomplish other tasks.  

You may also choose to look at the issue from a different point of view: embracing the “imbalance” in your life and focusing on the most urgent priority at a given point, even if it means your loved ones don’t receive as much attention as you’d like all the time. Dr. Sohlberg, for one, emphasizes the importance of giving each phase of life—family, education and career—plenty of time. 

By Kristen Knight
Source: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Time by Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC. Alpha, 2002; The 50 Best Ways to Simplify Your Life by Patrick Fanning and Heather Garnos Mitchener. New Harbinger Publications Inc., 2001; American Management Association, www.amanet.org/; Fast Company.com, www.fastcompany.com/51125/how-live-unbalanced-life; Management-Issues Ltd.; Monster, http://career-advice.monster.com/; The Research Network on the Transitions to Adulthood, http://www.transitions2adulthood.com/; The Sloan Work and Family Research Network, https://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/content/sloan-network-archive; The University of Texas at Austin Orange, http://communication.utexas.edu; U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov/

Summary

Give each phase of life—family, education and career—plenty of time. 

Single young adults often struggle to find that elusive work/life balance that will allow time for a serious relationship, along with a career, financial responsibilities, hobbies, household chores and socializing. If you’re struggling to find a way to live comfortably and find love, the tips below may help you discover changes and improvements you can make in your routine—or learn to accept your priorities as they are.

Consider some illuminating statistics about today’s young people:

  • From 1970 to 2010, the estimated median age at first marriage rose 5 years for men, from 23.2 years to 28.2 years. During that same time, it rose almost 6 years for women, from 20.8 years to 26.1 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Since the 1970s, work has become a larger part of the day for employed, childless young adults aged 18 to 34. This may possibly be because of declining economic situations, report sociologists Anne Gauthier and Frank Furstenberg in a policy brief for the Network on Transitions to Adulthood.
  • More women today have entered the workforce than in decades past, perhaps focusing on developing careers first and starting families later.  

Although these data may not all be related, they’re interesting in that they seem to underscore the complications young people may experience in balancing relationships with other interests and challenges.

The problem

Many young adults feel the need to focus on work or continuing education rather than look for a serious relationship and build a life outside of work. The drive to compete in a global economy and maintain a high material living standard can result in “stuff”-rich, time-poor societies, Norwegian academic and executive Ragnhild Sohlberg explains in an interview with the Boston College Sloan Work and Family Research Network.

However, research reveals that Generation Y employees appear to place higher priorities on personal goals, such as serious relationships and family, than career goals.

Getting a (love) life

So, how does a young go-getter reconcile those 2 scenarios? Some business writers believe “work/life balance” is a mythical goal that cannot easily or realistically be achieved, and others hold that the big push for balance threatens to make America less competitive in an ultra-competitive global marketplace. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet when it comes to balancing a serious relationship with work and other interests. 

You may find that making seemingly small changes can help you balance the love of your life with the rest of your life. The trick is to find a strategy that works for you. Consider some ideas recommended by business writers who have examined the issue:

  • Remember that “balance” is not likely to be a fixed condition that you can maintain as a sort of zen state. Rather, learn how to readdress and shift priorities as circumstances change. 
  • Focus on structuring your work day more effectively. If spending time with your significant other or on a hobby is crucial, maximize your time at work so you can get home more easily. 
  • Find a company that promotes a healthy working environment, emphasizing flexible working arrangements, wellness programs, and training and development. Take advantage of those initiatives. 
  • Use a calendar religiously. Planning tasks and engagements (including social events) for your coming week can help you visualize your time. 
  • Cultivate other old-fashioned office skills—such as filing things you don’t need currently and organizing—to help you get ahead. 
  • If you can afford it, pay someone to help you with tasks that you don’t have to be personally involved in. 
  • Don’t feel obligated to take on all the tasks, projects and activities that are thrown your way. Learn to say no. 
  • Similarly, don’t feel pressured to keep in touch with everyone at all times. Limit time spent checking email, voice mail, cell phones and the Internet. Time spent with your loved one will feel more worthwhile if you’re not constantly interrupted. 
  • Listen to and cooperate with your significant other, and foster mutual respect for your respective time obligations. 
  • Turn the TV off whenever possible. Instead of tuning in, go for a walk with your loved one, read a book together about a shared interest, or just talk.  
  • Plan regular dates with your significant other, even if they just involve trying a new recipe or renting a movie. Looking forward to those dates also can help motivate you to accomplish other tasks.  

You may also choose to look at the issue from a different point of view: embracing the “imbalance” in your life and focusing on the most urgent priority at a given point, even if it means your loved ones don’t receive as much attention as you’d like all the time. Dr. Sohlberg, for one, emphasizes the importance of giving each phase of life—family, education and career—plenty of time. 

By Kristen Knight
Source: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Time by Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC. Alpha, 2002; The 50 Best Ways to Simplify Your Life by Patrick Fanning and Heather Garnos Mitchener. New Harbinger Publications Inc., 2001; American Management Association, www.amanet.org/; Fast Company.com, www.fastcompany.com/51125/how-live-unbalanced-life; Management-Issues Ltd.; Monster, http://career-advice.monster.com/; The Research Network on the Transitions to Adulthood, http://www.transitions2adulthood.com/; The Sloan Work and Family Research Network, https://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/content/sloan-network-archive; The University of Texas at Austin Orange, http://communication.utexas.edu; U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov/

Summary

Give each phase of life—family, education and career—plenty of time. 

Single young adults often struggle to find that elusive work/life balance that will allow time for a serious relationship, along with a career, financial responsibilities, hobbies, household chores and socializing. If you’re struggling to find a way to live comfortably and find love, the tips below may help you discover changes and improvements you can make in your routine—or learn to accept your priorities as they are.

Consider some illuminating statistics about today’s young people:

  • From 1970 to 2010, the estimated median age at first marriage rose 5 years for men, from 23.2 years to 28.2 years. During that same time, it rose almost 6 years for women, from 20.8 years to 26.1 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Since the 1970s, work has become a larger part of the day for employed, childless young adults aged 18 to 34. This may possibly be because of declining economic situations, report sociologists Anne Gauthier and Frank Furstenberg in a policy brief for the Network on Transitions to Adulthood.
  • More women today have entered the workforce than in decades past, perhaps focusing on developing careers first and starting families later.  

Although these data may not all be related, they’re interesting in that they seem to underscore the complications young people may experience in balancing relationships with other interests and challenges.

The problem

Many young adults feel the need to focus on work or continuing education rather than look for a serious relationship and build a life outside of work. The drive to compete in a global economy and maintain a high material living standard can result in “stuff”-rich, time-poor societies, Norwegian academic and executive Ragnhild Sohlberg explains in an interview with the Boston College Sloan Work and Family Research Network.

However, research reveals that Generation Y employees appear to place higher priorities on personal goals, such as serious relationships and family, than career goals.

Getting a (love) life

So, how does a young go-getter reconcile those 2 scenarios? Some business writers believe “work/life balance” is a mythical goal that cannot easily or realistically be achieved, and others hold that the big push for balance threatens to make America less competitive in an ultra-competitive global marketplace. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet when it comes to balancing a serious relationship with work and other interests. 

You may find that making seemingly small changes can help you balance the love of your life with the rest of your life. The trick is to find a strategy that works for you. Consider some ideas recommended by business writers who have examined the issue:

  • Remember that “balance” is not likely to be a fixed condition that you can maintain as a sort of zen state. Rather, learn how to readdress and shift priorities as circumstances change. 
  • Focus on structuring your work day more effectively. If spending time with your significant other or on a hobby is crucial, maximize your time at work so you can get home more easily. 
  • Find a company that promotes a healthy working environment, emphasizing flexible working arrangements, wellness programs, and training and development. Take advantage of those initiatives. 
  • Use a calendar religiously. Planning tasks and engagements (including social events) for your coming week can help you visualize your time. 
  • Cultivate other old-fashioned office skills—such as filing things you don’t need currently and organizing—to help you get ahead. 
  • If you can afford it, pay someone to help you with tasks that you don’t have to be personally involved in. 
  • Don’t feel obligated to take on all the tasks, projects and activities that are thrown your way. Learn to say no. 
  • Similarly, don’t feel pressured to keep in touch with everyone at all times. Limit time spent checking email, voice mail, cell phones and the Internet. Time spent with your loved one will feel more worthwhile if you’re not constantly interrupted. 
  • Listen to and cooperate with your significant other, and foster mutual respect for your respective time obligations. 
  • Turn the TV off whenever possible. Instead of tuning in, go for a walk with your loved one, read a book together about a shared interest, or just talk.  
  • Plan regular dates with your significant other, even if they just involve trying a new recipe or renting a movie. Looking forward to those dates also can help motivate you to accomplish other tasks.  

You may also choose to look at the issue from a different point of view: embracing the “imbalance” in your life and focusing on the most urgent priority at a given point, even if it means your loved ones don’t receive as much attention as you’d like all the time. Dr. Sohlberg, for one, emphasizes the importance of giving each phase of life—family, education and career—plenty of time. 

By Kristen Knight
Source: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Time by Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC. Alpha, 2002; The 50 Best Ways to Simplify Your Life by Patrick Fanning and Heather Garnos Mitchener. New Harbinger Publications Inc., 2001; American Management Association, www.amanet.org/; Fast Company.com, www.fastcompany.com/51125/how-live-unbalanced-life; Management-Issues Ltd.; Monster, http://career-advice.monster.com/; The Research Network on the Transitions to Adulthood, http://www.transitions2adulthood.com/; The Sloan Work and Family Research Network, https://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/content/sloan-network-archive; The University of Texas at Austin Orange, http://communication.utexas.edu; U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov/

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