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Background: At home I spend quite some time talking with my life-partner about what we are doing, where we are going, how we are living together, what our different point of views are on the same situation, etc... being in a partnership requires a lot of communication for it to work. But both of us have a lot to do to achieve our individual goals, and I feel we should spend more time focusing on our own goals. I have a 40h job, train practically daily for triathlon, and also require some time to do nothing. I have trouble finding time for doing those things that I feel help me take the next step. Last night I stayed awake from 0:00 to 3:00 working on my project for self-employment, but I can't do that regularly. The only thing I feel that I can do less of, is spend time communicating with my life-partner, but I don't know how to decide weather the good of the group(our partnership) is worth more effort or my own priorities should come first.

Question: What is a good indicator that I'm over-communicating for the good of the group, and not acting enough on my own behalf? I'm currently only acting on feeling, but I'd like to be able to plan how my individual well being relates to the well being of the group I'm working in. I'm looking for a rational way to compare group and individual priorities.

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I think you should be very careful when interpreting any answers given to this question. There is a huge difference between 'a group of people working on a project' (you and your co-workers at work) and you and your life-partner. Too little communication at work will lead to misunderstandings and potentially to failed projects. Too little communication with your life-partner will lead to a break-up. Everybody is different and only you and your life-partner can know if you are communicating too much or not enough. – THelper Jun 3 '13 at 10:09
@THelper Hehe y, I'm aware that my example is a bit more intense, but in the end, it's about getting stuff done. Translated into office-life, this question is about balancing meetings/individual work time. But at work I don't have much say about this, so I gave my example from private life. I'm looking for a rational way to compare group and individual priorities. – Rafael Cichocki Jun 3 '13 at 10:20
At work there is no such thing as "group interests" or "individual interests". Everyone works for the company and when balancing work time only company interests matter. But this is radically different in personal relationships. I don't think there is any silver bullet for all kinds of relationships and communications. You should rather divide the question into two (one of them would probably be off-topic). – superM Jun 4 '13 at 10:49
Of course there are group interests and individual interests in a company. Only a theoretical company works as smoothly as a clockwork where all goals are connected to each other and together help build the ultimate goal of the company. You have the individual worker, a team, a department, different companies within a corporation... each entity primarily follows its own goals - since when do employees care more about the company than themselves? – Rafael Cichocki Jun 4 '13 at 13:34
up vote 1 down vote accepted

When it comes to personal relationships such as you describe, I've found it helpful to think about things in terms of quality-of-life. For instance--and bear with me through this example--who does the laundry? Is it worth it to you to spend $100.00 month to have a laundry service take care of that so you and your partner can spend a couple more hours together without eating away at your other activities? For the purposes of this reply, I'm going to use the shorthand that "spending time with" your partner equates to more communication.

It's all about balance. As @THelper notes above, only you and your partner know if you are communicating effectively and too much/little. Does your partner feel that you communicate too much? If so, then find the balance where your communication is acceptable for both parties, and you may gain some time for yourself. Too little? Maybe you shave ten minutes off the triathalon training every day and spend it with your partner. Maybe you establish a meditation routine where you AND your partner take the time for stillness and quiet...and that stillness may lead to more intense, direct, honest, and more "efficient" communication.

Many people feel the realtionships end up in compromise. I've found that I rarely need to compromise, if I communicate honestly and openly, determining what our respective goals and needs are. Usually there's a way to mesh everything together, and I'm very good at figuring that out. With your quest for a rational way to compare individual and group priorities, I suspect you're similar in that regard.

The challenge you face is the balance between emotion (your partner) and logic (a rational way to compare). The reality is that once there is another person in your life that you have decided to make a priority, it ceases to be project management and becomes all about negotiation. It's no longer a hard skill of scheduling, but becomes about the soft skills of

I've project managed my entire life, scheduling things to the minute and have been very productive. My current partner is not so structured. I've decided the the relationship is important in my life, I've decided that it adds to my quality of life, so I structure my OWN goals around and within that context. Yes, I've compromised on some of my goals. Some of my personal projects and dreams are languishing on a back burner. But, that's a choice that I've made given a.) the priority in my life to which I've given my partner, and b.) the improved quality of life brought about by making that particular choice.

Considering the question that way may be a helpful way to frame personal and group goals.

Good luck!

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Thank you for the inspiring post - helps me believe in a solution :) We definitely don't have a communication problem, and this isn't only about me. Together, my partner and I do things neither of us would do alone - it's as if we were "different" people. On our own, we both have diverging interests - and both of us are finding, that we don't do enough to hone those individual parts of ourselves. We're quite awed by being together(living together since 1 year). But there aren't really two "me"s, and sometimes I feel we'd be better off developing individually for our common good. – Rafael Cichocki Jun 4 '13 at 13:53
There is a solution, it's all about co-creating it with intention. Communicating about your respective needs and interests is the first step, which it sounds like you've got well underway. Please consider accepting my answer if you found it helpful. :) – dwwilson66 Jun 6 '13 at 12:23
I think the difficulty I'm facing is allocating limited time to two different goals. I guess the proper thing to do, would be to specify what we want as a partnership, and what we want as individuals. Then remove items from the list, until we have a set that can be completed in our schedule. If we find we can't find such a doable set, then we have to rethink our goals. – Rafael Cichocki Jun 6 '13 at 14:09
That's exactly how I'd do it. I prioritize partnership over personal goals. If my personal goals support the goals of the partnership, awesome. If not, we negotiate, keeping QUALITY OF LIFE in mind. My biggest problem is balance. I may provide an excellent income to allow us to travel together, but if the relationship suffers because I work 80 hours a week to do so, maybe that's not the best choice and for the sake of the relationship. We may choose to work less and take a big vacation every THIRD year. – dwwilson66 Jun 6 '13 at 17:51

You give more time to that which is important to you. And you decide what is important to you, not anyone else.

When it comes to communication, there is no such thing as over communication. Instead, you look into the quality of communication you have with your partner.

Both of you must try to align your individual goals with your common goals. That way, there will be less tension between your enriching your relationship and achieving individual goals. You ought to find out how you can help each other.

I also suggest that you find better strategies of achieving common goals and individual goals so that you can multiply the results and reduce the time needed to do so.

Remember, there are always simple answers and better ways to our questions. Look for the simple answers (outside of the obvious answers) and do them better.

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