By Gail Stone.
I believe one vehicle to success is hearing what successful people and leaders have to say. They do not have to be famous. I’ve been known to say that once you become a “leader of yourself,” you have the ability to lead others. The following quote is not from a famous woman. She is a long-time colleague of mine and a leader in the hospitality industry, owning and operating her own restaurant.
“When it’s important, you want to block out the time.”
– K. Sullivan
Read Honey’s story on the complexities of female friendships and why they’re worth it.
The Value and Meaning of Quality Time
Years ago, these words first rang true to me (and still do). Ms. Sullivan explained why, with her enormously busy schedule as the owner of a popular restaurant on New Year’s Eve, she blocked out time to take me to lunch. It was at a time when I was in need and I was very touched and grateful. Though we had worked together in our industry for over 25 years, I don’t think we ever had a personal or meaningful conversation until that afternoon.
As a result of this experience and her quote, I have embarked upon a mission to make people more aware of the value of quality time. Generally, it is only possible when you block out the time, because engaged people, like us, are busy! If a friend hasn’t reached out lately, leaving you feeling slighted, don’t take it personally, it’s always best to take the high road and make the first move!
So what does quality time refer to? Spending quality time means you are giving your undivided attention to someone, they are your only focus! A half-hour of time spent truly devoted to another person (or handful of people) is worth more than hours of meaningless or shallow interactions.
The Importance of Spending Quality Time
It’s particularly important to block out quality time with the people who matter most in your life. Recently, my niece and her husband of 15 years came to visit Chicago and we had planned for about a month to set aside time to spend together. We did this when she visited about five years ago and it was the first time in almost 40 years we had set aside time for one another. But in just one hour of quality time, my niece, her son and I all became so close and we have been able to maintain that for the last few years. It really is truly special. This is the true meaning of quality time!
Now, this time around, because I was able to give my undivided attention, I was able to get to know the wonderful man that is her husband. I’m so grateful for that opportunity! This all happened because we prioritized “blocking out the time.”
Benefits of Quality Time With Family
As you are visiting this wonderful site, I want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of spending quality time with your grandchildren. They are our future, and time is precious — please don’t miss those opportunities! One-on-one time with your grandchildren, giving them your undivided attention, could be the most valuable time you ever spend.
Being a “grand aunt,” not a grandmother, I embody this philosophy for myself as well. Last year I made a commitment to block out the time for my grand nieces and nephews and spend quality time. I generally just see them at family gatherings with a quick hug and on to the next. I wanted to get to know them better, create a deeper bond and lasting memories. And you know what’s so exciting? In the process, not only do we have a great time, we also learn from each other. That is another value of quality time. Family reunions and gatherings are wonderful, but it’s that one-on-one time that really allows you to get to know a person.
As a teacher for over 50 years, I’m going to give you two assignments. One is to think of a time in your life when you blocked out time to get to know someone better, and it made a huge difference in that relationship. The second is to think of the meaningful people in your life and choose someone – or even a pair/couple – for whom you want to block out quality time for and get to know better. A quiet meal tends to serve well for these engagements and time spent together.
Think You Don’t Have Time for Quality Time?
A perfect example of this happened to me a few years ago. I put together a University of Michigan sorority reunion. A “sister” asked if she could stay with me. I would have preferred to be alone as I had a lot of responsibility that weekend and wasn’t feeling well, but I would never have told her “no.” It was great! We stayed up late two nights in a row giggling in bed like college days. It was the first time in 50 years that I had taken the time to get to know this very special woman! It was a wonderful experience to share such quality time with her, and as a result, we remain dear friends to this day!
Please keep this concept of blocking out quality time with you throughout your lives. It will serve you well, and have a positive impact in your life and in the lives of others. Block out quality time to be with someone you’ve cared about, but never really knew who they are or what they’re all about. You’ll become quite enlightened about a very special person. Each of us has value – something special and unique. People just have to spend some quality time to get to know us!
Who are you going to block out quality time for now!?
Honey’s Thoughts on Quality Time With Your Partner
How wonderful to read over this story from my dear friend, Gail. She is the reason that I met my Ultimate Concierge! Over the years I’ve written on the subject of quality time spent with your partner. As a matter of fact, I did a series of sex and this post on the importance of communication with your partner speaks to the fact that quality time is a love language. How do you view spending quality time in a romantic relationship? Having high-quality moments on a date night enjoying each other’s company?
When you make the effort to put each other first and show true interest in your partner’s life, you’ll see that your relationship blossoms compared to when you just go through the motions.
For more tips on maintaining a close relationship with your partner, read Honey on Sex: Birds Do It… Bees Do It, Let’s Stay in Love, and this important post rounding out my series on sex, How to Move Forward When You’re No Longer Having Sex.
What if you’re in a long-distance relationship? If that’s the case, you may have to work harder than ever to keep the passion alive, but it can be done, darlings! First of all, be sure that when you are able to speak, be in on the phone or over a video call, that you prioritize deep conversations, and not just, “What did you do today?” Spend a few hours a week with distraction-free time and focus on your partner exclusively. When the distance gets tough, talk to your partner and draw on your emotional connection. Find ways to build memories even from a far spending quality time together.
Now do you understand the meaning of quality time? What’s your number one obstacle when it comes to quality time? Please share in the comments, I’d love to help you!