Here are the three best steps to find more time and energy for intimacy in your busy schedule

Do you find yourself spinning many plates? You work, parent, do housework… perhaps you’re also the coach for your child’s sports team.

Your parents are getting older and you find yourself needing to touch base with them more often. Life gets busy, especially the more responsibilities you take on as an adult.

It’s all very rewarding but, at the end of the day, you’re exhausted; maybe you’ve spent the day full of imaginary play, reading books, doing homework, refereeing fights.

Or you’ve rushed out the door to drop-offs and a day of deadlines, meetings and emails only to rush out the door again for pick-ups and to what feels like clocking on to your second shift at home.

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Whatever your family situation is, often it’s the intimacy in the relationship that gets pushed down the list of priorities.

In her book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Lauren Vanderkam challenges the notion that in this day and age, we are busier than ever before. Her advice is to reallocate your time according to priorities and have time for what’s important to you.

Here are the three best steps to find more time and energy for intimacy in your busy schedule:

1. Be honest

If you find yourself often saying, “We just don’t have time to talk,” then you need to honestly challenge this thought. Remember there are 168 hours in a week, if 50 of those are spent at work and 56 hours are for sleep (eight hours a night). Then you have 62 hours left to play with.

Give your life and your diary a good audit, are you really spending as much time doing things you say you are? Are you spending the commute home aimlessly scrolling through social media where you could be listening to an audiobook or podcast?

At the end of the day, when the kids are in bed, does your partner watch sport while you’re in bed watching reality TV on your iPad?

This is where you could spend time together, slow the conversation down. Discuss what’s going on in your world. Twenty minutes of good quality conversation is better than 20 minutes sitting together, distracted by something else.

READ MORE: 6 Secrets behind relationships that last forever

2. Determine your priorities

There are always going to be emergencies or accidents, more so when little people are around but do you find yourself constantly pulled away from what’s important by things that are urgent but less important? Or even things that are less urgent and not important?

Whatever your family situation is, often it’s the intimacy in the relationship that gets pushed down the list of priorities

It’s time to sit down with your partner and discuss what your priorities are in life. You might be surprised that your relationship doesn’t currently fall into one of the top spots. The success of the family relies on the happiness of the couple. Making time to attend to your relationship is important for the overall happiness of the family.

If you can do three things each day that can contribute to filling the relationship cup, then you’ll find a more fulfilling connection. Standing in the queue at a grocery store? Why not use the time to text your partner something you admire about them.

3. Plan ahead

Once you have reallocated and prioritised your diary to fit in more couple-time, it seems like the obvious next step to plan the when and the what. However, many couples don’t make the commitment to follow though. They will vaguely agree to have a date night and when the time arrives, they will opt to go out for dinner.

While this is always a nice treat, there isn’t much variety in the planning. Variety is important to keep things interesting and the spark alive.

Getting your diary out and researching interesting attractions, restaurants, bars and festivals that are happening in your local area can generate excitement for the up and coming time together.

Once you start to put these three steps into place, combined with the task of creating a diary of fun and original activities to do together, you will feel a sense of effectiveness, that you’re starting to take control of your time. The ease of taking time to connect while standing in line, or after the kids have gone to bed, creates a new sense of energy in your relationship and for your partner.

Taking the opportunity to rearrange your diary to prioritise your relationship will have an invigorating effect on the way you see your relationship and the rest of your life as you become more mindful of what you’re allocating most of your time to.

READ MORE: 5 Important rules for date night

Julia Norland is a relationship therapist and founder of Whole Heart Relationships. She specializes in helping couples with young children prioritize