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4 Ways To Use Technology To Draw Closer To Your Significant Other

4 Ways To Use Technology To Draw Closer To Your Significant Other

Anytime technology and relationships are brought up in the same sentence, it’s usually a statement denouncing our gadget obsessed generation as antisocial. While it is true that between our smart phones, tablets and computers, we are changing the way we communicate, this needn’t always be for the worse. Here are four great ways to use technology to improve your relationships, especially with your significant other.

1. Install Avocado, an app built for couples

avocado
    Avocado

    is a web and mobile app (available for Android and iOS) that was developed by two former Google employees. Avocado allows couples to privately share messages, photos, shopping lists and cute doodles. In addition, you can easily send your current location to your significant other and be automatically notified when their phone’s battery level is low.

    According to the app’s developers, “whether you’re in the same room or continents away, this couples app helps you and your boo stay connected anytime, anywhere. And just like home, it’s a private space for the two of you to share a life.”

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    Avocado password protects and encrypts your data, keeping all your shared sweet nothings safe and sound.

    2. Set up a shared budget

    budget

      In many relationships, money issues are the most common source of conflict and tension. Many of these issues are entirely avoidable if both parties communicate openly about financial decisions. One easy way to accomplish this is with a shared budget. While there are an abundance of budget options available, here are two that will likely fit most couples needs.

      The first is a simple and free solution, a Google spreadsheet. With this option, you are free to build your budget as you see fit. If you are willing to learn a little bit about basic spreadsheet formulas, you can easily automate the totaling of your line items and see exactly how much is remaining in each one of your budget categories. Your spreadsheet can be shared between you and your partner, with your changes updated in real time and stored securely in the cloud, accessible via Google Drive in both the browser and on your smart phones.

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      If a spreadsheet seems too basic for your needs and you would prefer something with more powerful budgeting features, check out YNAB, short for You Need A Budget. YNAB is a full featured desktop budgeting app which, through its cloud sync feature, allows each member of your family to add transactions to the ledger from their mobile apps. YNAB is $60 to purchase, which may seem a little steep, but, with its laundry list of advanced budgeting features, is well worth the price.

      3. Share your calendar

      calendar

        Make sure that you and your significant other are always on the same page when it comes to your schedule by setting up a shared calendar. The easiest way to do this is through Google Calendar‘s powerful sharing feature, which allows you to set up to 75 different people as collaborators, each with customizable levels of access. Simply go to the calendar that you want to share, or create a new “family” calendar and click the down arrow next to the calendar’s name and select Share This Calendar and type in the email address of whomever you would like to share it with. As simple as that, you now have a family calendar, stored in the cloud, that can be accessed from the browser and on your mobile phones.

        4. Start a couple’s blog

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        journal

          Every couple has a story to tell, why not tell yours together on a couple’s blog. Free blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger make it possible for couples to chronicle their romance, publicly or privately. Starting a blog will simultaneously bring you closer together and allow you to build a record of your time together that you can look back on fondly if the relationship progresses…. or delete in anger if things go south, but you can cross that bridge when you get to it.

           

          Technology is fantastic when it comes to improving your communication and sharing data, but don’t forget to pull your face out of your phone every once in a while and spend some low-tech quality time together with your significant other.

           

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          Featured photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via flickr.com

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          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          No!

          It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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          But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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          What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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          But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

          1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
          2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
          3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
          4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
          5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
          6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
          7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
          8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
          9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
          10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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