For decades now, I’ve regularly heard about the importance of quality time. It’s usually in the context of parenting. “I don’t get to have as much time with my child as I’d like, but I make sure we have a few minutes of quality time regularly.”
I’m not looking to pick a fight, but I don’t buy that. I believe saying that is simply an attempt to alleviate the guilt we feel in not making enough time for those we love. It’s rationalization, even though we may genuinely believe it.
Think on that for a moment. I believe in the importance of quality time in building meaningful relationships. I just don’t believe it can be condensed into a few moments squeezed into our schedule where convenient. It’s the same thing as scheduling a 15-minute creative team meeting to come up with a game-changing idea or event. I’ve never seen that work.
Quality time happens through quantity of time.
You have to invest a lot of time in order for the real quality to happen in anything—especially with relationships.
The best conversations I’ve had with any of my kids didn’t happen because I planned them. They always emerged in the midst of a larger block of time doing something together. We may have been running errands or playing a game for a while, then out of nowhere comes something like, “Hey Dad, I’ve been meaning to ask you…”.
Setting The Stage For Quality Time
You can’t produce quality time—you can only make room for it.
Schedule substantial blocks of time regularly with those most important to you. Things don’t just happen—you have to intentionally allot time for what matters. Relationships require time to deepen so block out time in your calendar. It’s the reason why I encourage daily time with your spouse, mealtimes as a family, weekly special time with an individual child, weekly date night with your spouse, weekly family time.
These are some of the non-negotiables for our family. It’s why I’ve included them in my ebook, 7 Ways To Supercharge Your Family This Week. You may not have a life-altering, memorable moment every time you spend time with others in these ways. But, in the long run, consistently making time for those closest to you will produce the memorable quality time you desire.
Say “no” to lesser important things to make more time available for the truly important. I’ve written about this previously but it bears repeating often: Life is choices, not chances. To say “yes” to something often requires saying “no” to something else. It’s not a matter of right or wrong—just better.
You may need to address your work schedule. Perhaps you can cut out some TV watching—always a good place to start. Or maybe just saying “no” to doing things by yourself, like shopping, when you could take a child with you. Saying “no” to convenience may be just the thing that gets you that once-in-a-lifetime moment.
I believe in quality time. I’ve enjoyed a lot of it with everyone important to me. The myth is that you can create it in just a few moments at will. Quality time happens in the middle of a lot of time spent together. So set aside an hour or two this week to invest in someone important to you. Better yet, make it a regular event every week.
Question: What have you done in the past that set the stage for a genuinely memorable quality moment with someone important to you? Share your answer in the comments below.