If you’ve been a leader for any amount of time, you know that your time is a critical asset. People are reaching out, trying to get you to solve a problem, and then there are your family and friends. There’s always something happening.
Work-life balance seems unattainable. It’s this mythic beast that roams around that you just cannot tame.
Or so it feels…
You can tame the work-life balance beast. It’s not a unicorn. It’s something that can and must, be done.
The challenge of balancing work, family, and faith is a real one. You want to do your best at your workplace. You want to do the best job raising your family and caring for your spouse. And, I hope, you want to be a good member of your local church.
But this adds to the stress of your already hectic life.
How do you balance everything well? How do you decide how much time to devote to your work, family, or church?
These are some of the things I will discuss in this article. You’ll walk away with a better idea of how to balance things so your life doesn’t crash like a bunch of spinning plates.
4 Tips On Setting Priorities
This is the tricky part of leadership… and life. You have to decide what your priorities are. Are you going to prioritize family, work, or faith? Can you prioritize all of them?
The truth is you can’t have everything in your life be a priority. You will have to choose what item in your life comes before the other. At times, these priorities will change.
However, you can still follow a few tips to set priorities throughout any season of your life. Here are 4 tips on setting priorities.
1. Understand the most important aspects of your life:
What’s important to you? Do you want more wealth, fame, and health? Or do you want to spend more time with your children and spouse? What about the time at church? How much do you want to serve?
Figure out these things first.
Work is important. It’s often expected that you spend 40 or more hours working a week. You’ve now got a baseline for that aspect of your work. Let’s say you are spending on average 45 hours a week in the office. This leaves 123 hours in your week.
We also have to account for sleep. Knock off 8 hours a day. You’re down to 67 hours that you get to decide where they’re spent.
I’d first recommend you factor in family priorities. What sports are your kids playing? Plan on spending some of your free time there, with them. Plan regular date nights with your spouse. Maybe you go out to a movie and have dinner once a week. That’s great.
I’d also recommend you figure out how much time you want to spend in the church or doing faith-based activities. At the very least, I’d recommend you spend a portion of your Sunday in the church. Your obligations to your faith don’t end there. Look for ways to serve in the church. You might volunteer to be a youth leader, clean the church, or take care of the lawn.
Knowing how much time you have (168 hours a week) and where you need to spend the time helps you set your priorities.
2. Put your priorities in your calendar:
We let our priorities be shuffled around because we fail to put our priorities on our calendars. Start to use your calendar more often.
I love the ease of a digital calendar. I can open the Calendar app, put in the event, and click save on my Samsung phone. The bonus is that I can set reminders on my phone. These reminders alert me to upcoming events. Or you may love the feel and look of old-school paper calendars. Use those if they help you!
Putting your priorities in your calendar helps you to see your day, week, month, or even your year. Don’t neglect the power of a calendar.
3. Ask for input from your family:
Our work-life balance gets out of whack because we don’t recognize how much we’ve added to our schedules. We also don’t realize how little time we spend with those we love.
This can be a tough one to do but ask your spouse, children, and friends how much time they’d like to spend with you. You may be surprised that they want a lot more of you than you’re giving. You may also be surprised that they don’t need as much financial support as you think they do. What they really want is more time with you.
If you discover this to be the case, you can look at new career opportunities, ask for fewer responsibilities, or set boundaries for your time.
4. Learn to say no:
You don’t have to say yes to every opportunity that presents itself. Or maybe you say yes for a limited amount of time.
I recently came off the board of my church. I loved my time there but knew that I needed to say no to a second term.
This helped me free up my mindspace and time on the calendar. I’ve also learned to say no to other opportunities, such as a couple of podcast interviews, requests for calls, and more.
You don’t have to say yes to everything. You get to decide how your time is spent. Spend it wisely so you can have more balance.
Balancing Work, Family, And Faith
Balancing work, family, and faith is a tricky thing. We’ll never get it right 100% of the time, but getting it right 50%, 75%, or even 80% of the time is better than what we’re getting right now.
Use the tips above to find more balance in the areas of your life that matters. Not only will you benefit, but those important people in your life will also benefit from your actions.