Balancing Priorities

25 10 2009

According to Webster, a priority is “something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives.”  When it comes to balancing priorities, we must first identify what our values are so we may order our priorities correctly.

This requires a bit of work, but -please- take a few extra minutes and do this with me. Grab your journal or even a scratch piece of paper and write these things out.  This is for you (and for me, too -I’m doing it along with you) and a mental list simply won’t cut it.  If you want to balance priorities in your life, you’ve got to put some effort into to.  Starting now.

Important: marked by or indicative of significant worth or consequence : valuable in content or relationship

Here’s our first assignment:  List the top 10 things that are important in your life.  (ie: goals, people, jobs, values, etc.) What is of greatest value to you?

What did you come up with? Were you surprised by your answers?  I always am.  Here’s my list; the first three are tops, but the rest are in no particular order.

-Family (husband, children)

-Relationship with God

-Fulfilling my purpose in Christ

-Being responsible with what I’ve been given

-Fun

-Creating

-Good physical health/exercise

-Rest -time for myself

-Relationships -extended family and friends

-Creating a peaceful environment and homelife, nurturing

Looking at your list, does your daily life reflect these things? If you’re like me (and I’m betting most of you are) you’ll already see there’s a contradiction between our values and how we ration our time.  Yep, I can already see several things that I need to rearrange in my life.  On to the next step.

Step 2: Pick the top 5 most important items in your list and write down how you can begin to integrate them into your daily life in order to bring greater balance and satisfaction to you. You might pick one or two that stand out on your list as things you’ve been meaning to work on, such as physical wellness or rebuilding relationships.

Relationship with God Daily quiet time, get in a community-based bible study for fellowship and accountability.

Family Stop working when Brian gets home until Wilder goes down to bed.  Focus on my family during that time.  Make nice dinners we can enjoy as a family and/or couple.

Fulfilling my purpose in Christ Prayerfully consider directions with Uncommon Women, seek guidance from godly women, focus on being the best mom and wife I can be.

-Relationships (cringe) Write more letters and start remembering people’s birthdays and special occasions.

Rest Create a sabbath, a time of rest.  Spend time each day surrendering to Christ and working on it as an attitude.  Focus each day on my little girl growing inside me, praying for her and connecting.  I need to rest so I can have the energy and focus for the other wonderful people and things in my life.

Oh, I feel better already!  Do you?  Hm… for those of you who said, “No” consider this:  What is blocking you from making these things top priorities? What is keeping you from truly LIVING what is important to you?

Think about that.  WRITE IT DOWN.  Really communicate with yourself and write out what’s going on.  Too many activities, not enough time? It’s time to start simplifying in order  to increase your quality of life, and the quality of life for your family.  Hey, I’m in that same boat, ladies, and I understand the struggle.  Having a 2 year old, anticipating a new little one, starting up new businesses and organizations, running a household, literally working from dawn to practically dawn -it’s tough!  And it’s so easy to lose focus on what is truly important to you.

Sometimes we aren’t living our top priorities because we’re trapped in fear, not believing that we can do or be more or afraid of what others will think.  DO NOT let fear stop you from living you passions or your dreams. Yes, we need to be wise and cautious, not jumping into things without thinking, but we need to live the lives we’ve been created to lead -and those are lives of victory, great fulfillment, and abundant joy.

Order your life to fit your priorities, don’t let The Urgent make those decisions for you.  My dear friend and mentor, Gina Murrow, coached me on The Tyranny of the Urgent versus The Important.  Just hearing that concept changes how you think, doesn’t it?

I have started keeping a mid-sized white board by my computer that I update daily.  I have a list of The Important and The Urgent, as well as a list of to-dos for the week.  I check things off, I write new things down – it’s a way for me to keep perspective on my day.  When I get sidetracked by something on the computer that fritters away my time, I am learning to stop and get back on course.  I’m also learning to say “no” to email addiction.  You know what I’m talking about -that impulse to check email every 10 minutes so you can stay on top of the latest communication.  It all comes down to being purposeful and intentional with our time. I am choosing to stop my work to spend time with Wilder while he’s playing so I don’t miss out on those precious moments.  I am choosing to allot several minutes to electronic communication and conquering my to-do list during nap time instead of browsing folks and companies on Twitter (oh, so tempting…) I am choosing to plan dinner ahead of time so I can provide a peaceful and enjoyable evening for my husband after his 14 hour work days.

Live your priorities, not The Urgent. We live in a day of urgency, which gives no rest, no peace, no deeper fulfillment and we must choose to stop. Take control of how your life is lived and reflect on these verses with me.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13

That means the strength to stop.  The strength to take care of yourself.  The strength to live your priorities, not the world’s expectation of you.

Peace be with you as you begin to live in greater fullness.

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One response

26 10 2009
Tildet Schoenbrot

Brilliant post! Setting our priorities and eliminating the unnecessary enable us to create effective goals.

http://growingwithtruth.com/blog/110/strategies-to-create-effective-goals/

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