Most would agree that relationships are important and for the majority of people it seems like “time flies” –yet too often we fail to make the connection between these two statements. Well-intentioned people plan to get together with friends and family or to strengthen ties with colleagues but months often go by without an encounter.

I’ve found a super-simple technique that helps me prevent these gaps: we schedule our next rendezvous before we depart from the current one. That’s it: every time we pick the next time.

I have monthly calls with a colleague, quarterly lunches with former staff, and monthly-ish lunches with friends that all are on the calendar for “next”. Without the advance planning, time would zip by as it always does and I know we would fail to talk with each other as frequently as we do now.

I also use recurring events as triggers to make in-person connections. A local service organization does occasional “burger nights” where another couple and I always dine together. With siblings living in four states, we’ve also found a groove that certain holidays trigger gatherings at different homes so we essentially know when we’ll assemble again. Different friends come to visit in conjunction with annual events near me, and I hope my niece’s visit becomes the first thing she does when school is out every year.

Rely on your calendar — rather than your good intentions — to help your relationships thrive.

Fourth of July is at my place!


I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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