THE ELUSIVE WORK/LIFE BALANCE IS OFTEN FOUND IN OUR PRIORITIES
Years ago I was climbing the corporate ladder and getting pulled from both ends. I had a young family, demanding job, trying to finish school at night, serve in church, stay healthy and fit, and find time for my other interests and hobbies. Whew! I am ashamed to say some of those years are a blur. I was not so much living as I was sprinting. Running to get it all in, a little here and a little there. I don't care who you are, you won't achieve personal excellence if you try to do it all with equal levels of energy and commitment.
This is why life gets out of balance. Our priorities get misaligned with our values.
I felt I was not giving priority to the things I valued most. There was a responsibility to all of it, but each did not require equal time, attention and priority. A mentor at the time suggested I assign a single name to each of my values and then prioritize them accordingly. Then when something called for my time or attention I would have an objective filter to sift it through and decide what I was going to commit to do. So I gave a name to each of the things I valued and ordered them from the highest priorities to lowest. For me it has remained the same today.
My list looks like this:
- Faith (devotion and service)
- Family (my wife, children, parents, and others)
- Fitness (health and nutrition)
- Finances (work and career)
- Fun (outside interests, entertainment, guitar)
A very basic example might be deciding between an extra hour to either workout (Fitness) or have lunch with my wife (Family). According to my priorities, Family is higher and I'd got to lunch! (And enjoy that hour much more!) Later I might replace a TV movie (Fun) with a workout (Fitness). In real life it is not nearly so black and white as this, but you get the idea. By having the quick reference for my values and priorities I have avoided a lot of heartache and regret down the road.
How might his work for you? Let me know in the comments below...