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Are You Ignoring the Important People?

Are You Ignoring the Important People?
    IGNORE by wannaoreo from flickr

    Do you read people’s e-mail auto-replies? They can be pretty interesting. In the last few weeks, I’ve had not one, but two friends respond to my e-mail with an auto-reply that says something to the tune of: “I’m traveling to A, or doing B, and I’m not available to answer your message right now. Please don’t be offended. I’m not even reading mail from my family!”

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    Work Will Always Be There

    In my humble opinion, this is not acceptable. What could these people possibly be doing that necessitates ignoring their family members? If it is work related, I call foul. Folks, work will always be there. When you finish this big project, another will soon appear to take its place. But family members are only with us a short time on earth. It’s a cliché, but somehow people still don’t get it: at the end of your life, will you regret not working more or not being there for your loved ones more?

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    They Should Make Your To Do List

    It’s critical that you make an effort to respond to and show interest in the people closest to you. If this means they get a spot on your to do list so that you can remind yourself to keep in touch, then so be it. If you are a productive individual, I’m sure that you allot certain times each day to answer e-mail.  Your family members and friends should be addressed at that time. Do not allow weeks to go by, or god forbid, not get back to them at all.

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    The Calendar Box Approach

    Here’s a strategy I use that you might find helpful. I have an annual calendar – you know, the kind with the boxes. In each Sunday box, I list two close friends and family members who I plan to call. I also note in the boxes if someone important calls me and I was able to connect with them. The calendar box view lets me see if it has been a month or more since I’ve talked with someone meaningful to me.

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    “I’ll Be Back Soon”

    I often hear from frazzled people: “But this is just a really busy period in my life. It’s going to be over soon. I know so-and-so will understand if I’m off the grid for a while.” This may be true, but the danger is that you will make being missing in action a habit. Your loved ones may understand, but only to a point. Eventually, they will figure out that you are prioritizing everything ahead of them, and they will be hurt and irritated. The only thing that makes long-term neglect of relationships okay is a personal tragedy, and I hope nothing like death, serious illness, or divorce happens to you all this year.

    Time-Suck is the Eye of the Beholder

    If it seems like a pain to check in with people now, just think about what it was like to live in the nineteenth century or earlier. Those people had to hand-write letters and mail each one individually! Many of them still corresponded with geographically-dispersed loved ones every day. Now, it takes five seconds to dash off a happy birthday message to someone on Facebook. It couldn’t be easier. It also couldn’t be more important.

    I know that some people are reading this post and saying, “Wow, it never crossed my mind that I’m neglecting my loved ones because I’m so crazed at work.” That doesn’t give you a free pass. Remember that the key to a good life is to focus on what matters, and put the rest second. By being strategic in how you choose to do this, you won’t mix them up.

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    Last Updated on July 3, 2020

    30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

    30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

    In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

    1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

    Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

    2. Focus on your breath

    Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

    3. Get organized and purge old items

    A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

    4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

    Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

    5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

    Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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    6. Smile more

    Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

    7. Don’t worry about the future

    As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

    8. Eat real food

    The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

    9. Choose being happy over being right

    Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

    10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

    Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

    11. Make use of filtering features on social media

    You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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    12. Get comfortable with silence

    When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

    13. Listen to understand, not to respond

    So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

    14. Put your troubles in a bubble

    Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

    15. Speak more slowly

    Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

    16. Don’t procrastinate

    Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

    17. Buy a coloring book

    Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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    18. Prioritize yourself

    You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

    19. Forgive others

    Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

    20. Check your expectations

    Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

    21. Engage in active play

    Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

    22. Stop criticizing yourself

    The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

    23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

    Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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    24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

    Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

    25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

    Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

    26. Manage your money

    Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

    27. Stop trying to control everything

    Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

    28. Practice affirmations

    Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

    29. Get up before sunrise

    Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

    30. Be yourself

    Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

    Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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