Balance in Life

Michael Hyatt has a post How Do You Balance Work with the Rest of Your Life?

This is a question many of us struggle with. We want to do it all and have it all. But Mike wisely reminds us that we can’t do it all, so we have to set priorities. He gives his priorities, “and they are arranged in a specific order:
1. God
2. Self
3. Family
4. Work
5. Church
6. Everything Else”

I like this list, though I’ve always found it difficult to put myself #2. However, several years ago after I had a stroke at the hands of a chiropractor, I had to learn the importance of taking care of myself. If I had not spent months completely focused on my recovery, I would not have been able to return to work, church, and everything else. And my family (my husband) would have had to continue to take care of me because for some time I couldn’t do anything for myself. Although I still have “deficits,” as the doctors call the residual effects of the stroke, I have been functional and independent for years. But I have to continue to remind myself to take care of myself or I can’t continue doing the things I do.

As much as I love working from home, one of the disadvantages is that I’m always near “the office” (which is in a separate building but only a few steps outside the back door). And my clients know they can reach me anytime (because of my medical condition, I seldom leave the house except to go to church). I’ve told them all now that I’m not available on Sundays; as I explained in my post Rebooting and the Fourth Commandment, I’m determined to honor the Sabbath.

I’ve been focusing on making sure I take breaks to go into the house to spend time with my husband. He’s retired and has had some health problems in recent years, and I want to spend as much time with him as I can.

Just as one of the disadvantages of my home office is that I’m always close to work, one of the advantages is that I’m always close to home. So I don’t have to wait til the end of the workday to spend time with my husband – I can make a number of short visits throughout the workday. And when I’m having a bad day physically, I can take a nap if I need to.

I’ve always been a night owl, and I usually feel better at night and can be more productive. So one of the ways I take care of myself is to work from late afternoon until the early morning and sleep in the mornings. My clients know not to call me in the mornings, but they also know I’ll adjust my schedule if needed for their rush projects. And I do a better job for them when I’m working at my best instead of trying to force myself into “normal” work hours.

Sometimes church takes priority over work, but I am learning to say I can’t do something that will interfere with client work. I maintain the church Web site, edit the newsletter, moderate the prayer chain, manage the membership records, compile the weekly bulletins, and do just about any writing, administrative, or computer work that is needed. Right now, I’m spending more time on church activities as we are preparing for Holy Week with several special services, but after Easter my workload for church will decrease.

There may be variations in the order of the other priorities, but God always has to come first. Like Michael Hyatt, I pray periodically throughout the day. My main devotional time comes before I go to bed, which for me is early morning. I read a chapter of the Bible, spend time in intercessory prayer for the people on my prayer list, and read from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest and either Evening Prayer or Family Prayer. During Lent (and Advent), I do additional readings.

How do you maintain balance in your life? What are your priorities?

[tags]life balance, priorities[/tags]

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