So You Want to Date a Chef: Planning Your Time

Planning your time is incredibly important. This statement almost seems redundant, but by quickly surveying a few friends, I know that it is not the norm for a lot of folks. If you have any hopes of seeing your Chef, you both need to be comfortable with planning your time together. Though we are busy people with fluctuating schedules, for the most part I know where G is spending large chunks of his time on any given day, and vice versa.

For any young professional trying to get the bearings, finding free time can be a struggle. When I’m not putting in my hours at my day job, I am the sole resource for my photography business, and a proud horse owner. Though my photography business has taken a backseat to my full-time job, my horseback riding takes up most of my “free” time. I’m spending roughly 15 to 20 hours a week on riding alone. I also make an effort to stay social and meet up with friends on the occasional weeknight. Needles to say, my agenda is always full.

Planning Prerequisites

  1. Open communication
  2. Habitual use and access to shared calendars
  3. A designated calendar administrator

I’m a planning freak. I use colour coordination like it’s my job, so creating shared calendars in any program is actually an enjoyable task for me. When we first met, G and I used a shared Google calendar in order to plan our time together. Now that we are both iPhone users, we have a simpler way of coordinating schedules. I live on my laptop at work; it comes with me to every meeting and conference, so it was simple enough for me to be the designated calendar administrator while we used Google Calendar.

We are both on our phones frequently throughout the day, so the switch to iCal was a painless process. Though I’m still typically inputting more calendars and events, G has the same level of access to input his information. I’m not the type of person who can hear “I’ll be busy on November 15th” and have that information store itself somewhere accessible in my brain. I need visual reminders and an archive of this kind of important information, or else it is lost forever.

A huge benefit of planning your time is that you are actively managing expectations, both of yourself and your partner. Generally speaking, you don’t need to focus as much time “planning” on days and nights that you and your Chef are both working. That being said, it’s important for G to know that I’m meeting a friend for drinks at 8pm on Monday. Should the resto close early, and he’s out of there by 9, it won’t be pleasant for him to arrive to an empty house. If he has information on my whereabouts, he can make plans with a friend, he can put in overtime at work, he can experiment in the kitchen, or he can watch Monday Night Football guilt-free! The point is, he didn’t rush home to meet me and have his hopes deflated like a sad balloon animal.

An important event for anyone working in any industry to schedule is “time off.” I don’t mean taking extra vacation days or playing hooky (though these are all fun ideas). Figure out how many commitments you can make to other people (family gatherings, nights at the bar, concerts, birthday parties, local events, travel) before you feel totally spent. Then block off some time together. This is a great way to justify taking a rain check with friends or passing on the family field trip to the zoo, and ensure that you get some quality time spent with your loved one.

I know some people prefer to keep some intrigue to their relationships, or simply aren’t at a point where they want to disclose that much information. On a personal note, neither of us are the types of people who need space or mystery surrounding our schedules. We don’t find it exciting to not know where the other person is. I personally don’t feel suffocated or infringed upon to identify my whereabouts each day. If identifying where you are and when you’ll be finished being there is not for you, then collaborating with your partner on planning your time probably isn’t either. Some people see it as a loss of certain freedoms, and others may live the kind of lifestyle that is perpetually on the fly. There’s nothing wrong with any of these choices, but they probably aren’t conducive to the kind of openness and forethought that our system requires.

For the past three weeks I have had incredibly busy weekends, and though I have enjoyed every single item on my agenda, it does take a toll on your body and spirit to miss out on a full day of rest, relaxation, and give yourself a chance to recharge. I’m not even advocating the spa: simply book off some time where you make no plans with friends, you are sure there are no familial commitments to be fulfilled, and take some time (preferably together) to veg on the couch, sleep in until noon, live out your day full-tilt, or have the height of your excitement be a trip to the book store. Sometimes when we spend time together, in the presence of other people, it feels like I haven’t seen G at all during the festivities. Mingling and catching up and making new memories with people may have something to do with that. G’s birthday party was a perfect example – playing host to a room full of amazing friends meant that G and I were never together, though we were in the same room celebrating the same thing.

Giggling away in front of our homemade photo boot at G’s birthday party in October.

The reality of our situation is that we always have full, and fulfilling, days. Sometimes this is a curse, and we wish at the end of a long day “off” that we had had more time to sleep in, or cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie. Some days we long for a simplicity that our life typically doesn’t allow. After a particularly busy weekend (which is lovely and fulfilling and brings me joy) I’ll find myself wishing for one extra day, one more morning, a few more hours. I don’t think this longing for more time is reserved for folks in the food industry. A sad secret is that I do find myself wishing we could book off time and go to the cottage – a simple weekend getaway destination. But that’s just not in the cards.

It’s important to note how often you need to have one-on-one face time with your Chef. Once you understand how often you need this to happen (and how reasonable that level of need is) you can start to plan accordingly. By coordinating your time together, and taking ownership of your schedules, hopefully you can achieve a smoother, happier, and fuller relationship with your Chef.


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