Priority: something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives.
What is your priority? What is your number one? Is it God, family, spouse, work, or something else. What is your number two and three priority? Why are these so important to you? When you think of them, how do you feel?
Now, consider this… what does your calendar say is your priority? Do your activities and appointments reflect your #one and #two?
Identifying and assessing your priorities is an important exercise in coordinating an intentional, well-balanced life. When your priorities and activities do not align, you lose the sense of self and find yourself more in a grind and less in a place of joy. Your energy outflows need to be replenished by the energy inflow of priority living. For example, if one of your top priorities is spending time with your spouse in a meaningful, connective way, yet your schedule does not reflect purposeful time together, how will you “find time” or “squeeze in” a dinner or date?
Life is fast and furious- the intentional time on the calendar beckons a deeper meaning and experience based on what is most important to your values. As with your spouse, you can choose to enjoy each other in a no-rush time of your selection, doing the activities you enjoy and building a stronger marriage and bond. Without the purposeful time, one or both of you can feel like an afterthought, losing love energy while forming resentful attitudes. The feelings of being underappreciated can potentially swell as you each adhere to the demands of life. Alternatively, when you make your spouse a priority, they know it, and so does you, which provides energy into your relationship. The realization of importance if felt and fuels a tighter bond.
If what feeds your soul is not making it onto your calendar, it is time to reevaluate your scheduling technique. Often, we think of a schedule as the work schedule and the home schedule, when in fact you are a whole person. By taking a broad view of the calendar you can gain perspective and lead a more intentional life-based on the priorities that you select.
Sometimes, people feel as though that keeping a calendar steals their freedom, they like to fly by the seat of their pants or make decisions as they come. However, the act of keeping a calendar can actually lead to more freedom as you are leading your life and choices in the direction of your intention. There is less procrastination, more accomplishment, and more time for the important things. You wonder less about where the day went simply because it went where you directed.
Here are a few key practices when working towards a more prioritized and purpose-filled life.
- Identify your priorities. Think about all facets: family, spirit, fun, education, work, health. Choose one or two from each category, then choose your top 3.
- After you have selected your top 3, look at your future month (preferably) and mark in specific time designated towards that priority. If your spouse is a priority, designate date night or a weekend getaway, if it is time with your children, mark their ball games or schedule a weekly game night, if God is a priority- get him on the calendar too. Add church or daily devotional time into your schedule. Give the important items first dibs on your time.
- Learn to say “no” to the things that are not adding value to the main ideas of your life, or if they steal energy from your top priorities. No energy vampires allowed! I actually find this to be the hardest of the 3 steps, but it is critical for aligning your life.
I hope these little steps make a big difference for you! I know that they did for me. The most important thing to remember while you are writing your story of life is to keep your main ideas aligned and practicing these efforts on a regular basis, you will make progress.