We often talk about setting priorities as a way to achieve work-life balance. A healthy approach to setting priorities and following through on them can help us achieve this balance. If we neglect certain areas of our lives when we are setting our priorities we can find ourselves out of balance very quickly. It’s important that we take into account all the aspects of our lives that are important to us when we are setting priorities. Here are 6 suggestions for areas to include in your list of priorities. They’re in no particular order, and it’s up to you to decide for yourself if these areas fall into a certain priority order for you.
Setting Priorities for Career
When it comes to the big picture of what we want out of life, career is usually in the #1 or #2 slot on our list of priorities. This makes a lot of sense because most of us will have to work for a living to pay our bills and we are all looking for a degree of fulfillment from our occupation. Recognizing that career is a place where spend a good deal of our waking hours, it only makes sense to include it in our list of priorities. Where we often come into conflict is where to place our professional life in relation to our other priorities. Consciously deciding how career fits into the rest of our priorities can help us make decisions each day about how to arrange our priorities.
Family and Friends
For most people this is the other priority that takes either the #1 or #2 spot depending on where that person places career in their priorities. The people that we enjoy spending time with are what makes life truly worth living and neglecting them or our need for that nourishment of human interaction can throw us out of balance over time. Setting priorities that include the people who are most important to us can actually make it easier to achieve our other priorities with the support of others. One really easy way to tell if we are out of balance in this area is if we are spending almost all of our time by ourselves or solely with people from work, school or one of our hobbies to the detriment of our other relationships. Maintaining contact with a good mix of people from the different areas of our life helps us keep balance and perspective.
Investing in ourselves is an important aspect of leadership development. If we want to advance and grow as leaders we can’t let our skills and abilities remain stagnant, we always need to be learning. Education doesn’t have to be formal. We don’t all need to enroll in an MBA program to become better leaders or entrepreneurs. Education can come from seminars, workshops or just spending time talking with people who are knowledgeable about the areas we feel we need to learn about. There are an incredible amount of free resources online that we can take advantage of to further our knowledge as long as we invest the time.
Health and Fitness
Our health and fitness is often neglected for other priorities, but taking care of ourselves provides the foundation for being able to achieve our other important life goals. Making sure that we are eating right, exercising, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep are all important to make ourselves strong and healthy enough to have the energy to devote to achieving our other priorities. One of the great things about making our health and fitness a priority is that we can do this by spending time with our family and friends. Preparing meals together is a great way to get a variety of health foods into our lives. Working out together, hiking, biking or playing sports as a group also helps to build strong bonds with the other important people in our lives as well as meeting our own personal fitness needs.
While many people make their beliefs about their place in the universe and their role in it central to their lives, some neglect this aspect of life as they deal with more day-to-day concerns. No matter what your beliefs about a higher power, it is important make time to connect with yourself and what you believe. Even if we don’t have all the answers in life, taking time to explore our purpose and the way we live our lives each day to achieve that purpose can help us to interact better with others in the world and show some compassion and empathy when we face a difficult situation
Recreation and Hobbies
All work and no play…you know the rest. It’s important for us to have a recreational outlet that we enjoy in order to keep from getting burned out. Much like our health and fitness, this an aspect that we often neglect when things get busy in the other areas of our life. Also like health and fitness, we can further our priorities for friends and family by taking part in recreational activities together. No matter what activities or hobbies we enjoy, we need remember them when we are setting priorities and make time for them in our calendar to maintain that healthy balance.
Keeping these six aspects of life in mind when we are setting priorities can go a long way towards keeping a healthy balance between the areas of our lives and help us reduce stress, tension and conflict. By consciously writing down how all of these priorities fit into our lives we have a much better chance of ensuring that we don’t neglect any of them. Openly sharing our priorities with the important people in our lives helps us all understand each other better and deal with conflicts among priorities in a mature and healthy way.
Tell us in the comments what other aspects of life you include in your priorities.
Photo Credit: By Earl McGehee (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons