Setting priorities can seem like an impossible task when everything on your list is of importance. While everything may seem to be at the top your list, setting priorities with work and life balance in mind is rewarding and creates happiness. Find Balance – Create Joy.
By defining your tasks and writing them out, you will be able to complete tasks in the proper order, leaving time for things in your life that might not have a deadline, but do have a significant impact on your relationships or personal well-being.
If you just make a to-do list, you are likely to not account for urgency and importance, meaning you are working through things, but not in the most efficient manner or with a reasonable expectation of time to complete. An easy way to think of this is if you have two things on your list, clean the house and finish your work project with a tomorrow deadline. If you clean your house first, you are finishing something of importance on your list, but you are not completing the task that requires more urgency. Another example would be a client meeting or patient appointment immediately followed by your child’s soccer game. You plan to meet with the client or patient, then head over to your child’s game. If the meeting goes long, you are likely to miss the game. Scheduling in a time buffer will ensure you make your child’s game. Both get completed and create overall balance and peace in your personal and professional life.
Another helpful way to set your priorities is to use a monthly calendar. If you struggle making time for yourself or social activities, a calendar set with events at the beginning of the month can help keep you in balance. If your month has 31 days, pick 3 days for social activities and 4 days for family activities and cross out your weekends. Schedule in a 2-hour time slot for social activities and 4-hour time slots for family nights. These days might change, or you might have to work on the weekends occasionally, but you are allocating time in your month for these things, meaning the work you schedule in will be done with these time slots in mind. If you just have the days you work on your calendar, you are more likely to forget about taking time for yourself until something pops up you didn’t account for.
Little things on your monthly calendar can also remind you to take time for yourself. Taking a lunch break may seem obvious, but when working for yourself or somewhere that taking a lunch is on your free time, makes it more difficult to step away from work. Taking 15-30 minutes will allow you to walk around, replenish your body, and reset your mind. Often when you feel like you are too busy for simple things like a lunch break, it is when you need it the most.
Learning to say ‘no’ can also be one of the most effective yet hardest qualities to implement into your life. Saying yes brings opportunity, but saying yes to everything can lead to more stress and more responsibility that you are not being compensated for. Compensation is not defined solely by dollars but also by the joy that yes provides. As we spoke about urgency and importance when defining priorities, there will be some things that fall into neither of these categories. If it is neither urgent or important, it probably isn’t something that your time should be allocated towards. Saying no to these things may be difficult in the beginning, but over time you will realize it creates more time for the matters that do fall into the categories.
With practice, using priority setting to reach your goals and create balance in your life will leave you joyful and refreshed. Start mapping out the large things, then grow to use priority setting for the small things too. While life can be chaotic, finding personal balance can make it a little less stressful! Find Balance – Create Joy