DEAR HARRIETTE: Many people have advised me to take up some hobbies to regain my motivation. A few years ago I abhorred reading, but recently I have discovered a love for it.
I usually read during the summer when I don’t have other obligations. When I get into a book, it’s hard for me to focus on anything else or fall asleep until I finish it. It’s not really productive when I have to do my homework.
I don’t want to stop reading because it’s a much better use of my time than spending time on social media, watching TV, or taking too long naps. However, I need to manage my time better so that I don’t get so fascinated by my books.
How do you suggest I manage my reading time in tandem with my schoolwork?
– Management of time
DEAR TIME MANAGEMENT: Reading is a much better use of your time than some alternative activities, so pat yourself on the back for that.
Use technology to help you. Set a timer on your phone to notify you when reading time is up. Give yourself an hour to read, followed by quiet time. In order to calm your mind and prepare yourself for sleep, you need to stop all forms of stimulation.
Reading can be extremely engaging. It’s known as a way to transport readers to new places and new experiences – not to put them to sleep or make them do their homework. So limit your reading time and focus on your tasks when the alarm sounds.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents are still married, but watching their marriage made me apprehensive about my future.
My father, although present in my life and that of my sister, often relied on my mother to assume the majority of household and parental responsibilities. Not only that, but my mother was also the breadwinner throughout my parents’ relationship. This dynamic created tension and imbalance in their relationship.
Witnessing this made me reluctant to consider marriage. I’m afraid of repeating the same pattern in my future relationships. I don’t want to end up shouldering most of the responsibilities, like I saw my mother do.
As a woman, I worry that this could limit my personal and professional development, and I am hesitant to commit to a relationship that might follow a similar path.
How can I navigate these reservations about marriage that arise from my observations of my parents’ relationship dynamics?
– I don’t want to repeat
DEAR, I DO NOT WANT TO REPEAT: Consider going to therapy to understand your family dynamics and learn how to proceed in an untangled way. With mindful practice, you may be able to avoid some of the traps your parents fell into.
You can also be conscious and intentional about how you choose a partner and the roles you agree to take on.
Things may change over time, but the more you agree in the beginning, the more likely you are to design a life that features what you most desire.
Harriette Cole is a lifestyle stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative aimed at helping people access and achieve their dreams. You can send questions to Askharriette@harriettecole.com or to Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.