Priorities Over Balance - 5 Daily Actions to Keep Your Priorities in Check
A few nights ago I was scrunched up on the couch with tears running down my face. I was so overwhelmed. And quite honestly, this had become a regular occurrence. Once or twice a month I would start to feel like the walls were closing in on me, panic filled me as I beat myself up for not being able to balance all of my responsibilities in my life. My poor, patient husband Eric sat next to me just looking on with as concerned of a look on his face he could muster as he waited for my rant to be over. This is was something he had become quite familiar with.
When I finally took a breath and looked at him expectantly for the answer that would finally solve the never ending battle with "balance" that I seemed to constantly be fighting, he simply asked if he could ask me a question. Uh oh. This was new. I wiped my nose and bobbed my head up and down in response. He got up and came back with a pen and paper. What was this?
He looked me dead in the eyes and asked, "What is the number one thing that is most important to you?" I was hesitant because I wondered where this was headed. But I simply said, "My family. You and the boys. And not just the people you are but deep, lasting relationships with you. My people. Us as a unit of four. Through whatever comes. That is the most important thing to me without a doubt." He wrote it on the list. And then he asked what was next on my list of important things. We went on until we had the five most important things listed out as my most important priorities in that order. Here is my list:
- My family
- My purpose - helping others - feeling like I matter - serving God
- My friendships
- Time to enjoy life - enjoy the simple things like exercising, reading, watching movies
- Financially independent - being able to financially support the first four things on my list
And then he gave me permission to focus on these things in this very order. Without hesitation he told me that until I focus on the things that mean the most to me first in my daily actions, I would always feel off balanced and unsteady. I would continue to feel overwhelmed. That man is smart. Oh so smart. And handsome too.
As a wife, mom, and entrepreneur the whole balance thing is pretty unattainable. But the priorities thing, we all can get a handle on that. We actually decide what will take priority in any given moment. Here are some things I am doing to make sure that my priorities stay in focus and that I give all of these five areas of my life the attention they need, but in the correct manner.
1. Start my day in prayer
Starting my day chatting with God is the absolute best way to keep my priorities in line with what God wants in my life. When I focus on Him first, everything else aligns.
2. Exercise in the morning
I am my best for my family and in my business when I feel energized, clear headed, and confident in myself. Exercise increases my productivity and gets my endorphins going. I am more awake and ready to tackle my day by giving myself that extra boost before I start my day. It also helps me sleep better, I follow my healthy eating plan better when I start my day with exercise, and I feel super confident with a spring in my step.
3. Stick to a schedule
Every Sunday evening I sit down with my favorite Life Planner by Erin Condren and plan out my upcoming week. I plug in all kid activities, my Eric's work schedule, a day or night date for the two of us, my workout and running schedule, and plan out family dinners. I schedule in times to go grocery shopping and meal prep as well. One of my favorite times with my boys is when I am in the kitchen cooking and they stop in and chat with me. They are growing up so quickly that I don't want to miss any of these moments. I am not a huge fan of cooking, but I am learning to enjoy it and make it a priority because it is a time for my family to come together. So this is a must in my weekly schedule. I then plug in my scheduled work times. I make my business a daily priority Monday - Thursday, protecting this time from appointments and coffee dates with my girlfriends. I save Friday as my day for errands, appointments, and coffee/lunch dates.
4. Outsource what you can
There is nothing I really dislike more than scrubbing toilets. But they have to be cleaned, consistently I am afraid. For the small amount that I can pay someone to come in and clean my house in a couple of hours time for the twelve hours it would take me kicking and screaming, I say it is a win/win. I look at this time saved and my sanity as a positive for not only my family, but my business as well. If I am feeling overwhelmed with everything that is on my plate, I can skip a few Starbucks drive throughs and pay someone to help a momma out. Also, I get to support another woman in her business and foster that relationship and that I love!
5. Make time for you
Until I brainstormed my list of five top priorities with my husband I had never really given myself permission to make myself and what I love a priority. I would do the things I love such as reading and watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix but I always felt guilty, like I was taking away from the things that I needed to be doing. The guilt took away from the recharging that my spirt needed. And then I would find myself depressed and binging on even more Netflix to hide from the feelings I was having. A vicious cycle to say the least. Now I give myself this time each day but end it when it is time to move on to something else, such as business or sleep.