There are few things in life more satisfying as spring cleaning. Purging belongings, digitizing media collections and unearthing your crisper drawer take time and effort, but the end results can boost both productivity and happiness. (Marie Kondo has built an empire on this idea.)
While it may not be as scary as your long-neglected garage, dating can still get pretty messy.
Don’t worry! Spring cleaning can also be applied to your dating life. Sometimes you need to carefully sift through everything to decide what’s worth keeping, what needs to be shelved and what needs to be burned in a colossal trash fire.
“I’ve had clients bring up the question of how to approach dating in an efficient and effective manner,” says Clare Kumar, a productivity and organization coach and an expert at the art of streamlining.
Having applied her knowledge as a professional organizer and declutterer to the world of online dating, Kumar offers up some insights that will help any online dater save time, effort and serious frustration.
Here are some of Clare Kumar’s tips on how to best spring-clean your dating life:
Get clear on who you’re looking for
Is it important to you that your future partner is vegan or vegetarian? Are you looking for someone who will be supportive of your faith and open to raising potential future children in those traditions? Do you need to be with someone who can keep up with you on your morning runs? If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Articulate the attributes you’re looking for, and write your profile to support the selection of such an individual. When you help those who are not a good fit opt out, you’ll both save a lot of time.
Choose a dating site that works for you
Different sites and apps attract different clienteles. Focus your efforts on one or two and get really comfortable with how they work. A little research goes a long way. If you’re juggling a few sites at a time, be prepared to make some mistakes. For example, if you swipe “up” on Bumble, you’ll see more photos and information about your person of intrigue. If you swipe “up” on Tinder, you’ve just super-liked someone. Yikes! Not the end of the world, but no need to cringe your way through the process. Getting to know the features of a website or app can save you time and spare you from embarrassment. (Want to ditch annoying dating sites altogether? Hire yourself a matchmaker!)
Tighten the funnel
If the site or app allows for it, raise the bar for those who wish to communicate with you. “Hey, what’s up?” can get old pretty fast. Certain websites such as Plenty of Fish allow you to filter out messages that don’t hit a minimum word count. You can also filter out profiles that don’t include photos. Don’t feel obligated to respond to any and all inquiries out of guilt or politeness — only respond to messages where you sense the potential for connection.
Meet sooner, not later
Nothing gives you a better idea of what someone is truly like than meeting them in person. The quicker you can move from messaging/texting/calling to an in-person meetup, the faster you’ll be able to make an informed decision.
Stay close to home
Whenever possible, select a venue for your first dates that is reasonably close to your neighbourhood. The more convenient the location, the easier it will be for you to manage your time and energy.
Kiss notifications goodbye
Turn off notifications for all dating apps and websites. They break your focus and your productivity throughout the day. Dip into dating sites only when it’s convenient for you. And if you find you’re spending more time swiping or browsing online than you’d like, set some strict time limits — for example, thirty minutes a day. Like anything else — diet, exercise — dating has got to fit your lifestyle to be sustainable.
This article by Friend of a Friend Matchmaking’s Sofi Papamarko originally appeared in The Toronto Star.