Pencil in Your Partner

Enough already.

Who

Jason Hancock (jqh@h-s.com), 31, managing partner at the Seattle office of Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., an executive-search firm

Enough's Enough

How do you make time for your spouse when you're consumed by work? "I've always managed expectations at work, but I wasn't giving similar care and focus to my marriage. I regularly canceled personal plans to squeeze in another meeting."

Red Flag

Cognitive dissonance. "My wife told me that I was spending too much time at work. Meanwhile, I thought I wasn't spending enough time at work."

Coping Mechanism

Hancock makes room in his schedule for quality time with his wife (read: date) and thinks of his relationship as a bank account. "When we're away from each other, we're taking from the account. When we're spending time together, we're giving to it." Debit or credit? The goal should be obvious. "A lot of people probably think of a relationship as a bank account," he adds, hopefully.

Hancock's dates with his wife are casual — usually an evening out to dinner. Old-economy translation? They talk. Hancock comes to the "meeting" armed with a pen, ready to jot down notes on his napkin. It's a productive exchange (especially when he remembers to bring the napkin home). Hancock likes the informal structure: It's enough planning to bring them together, he says, but not enough to make the arrangement too disturbingly efficient.

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