Assuming that most people reading this post have more than one facet to their lives, I feel its commonplace to say that it can be difficult to set our priorities accordingly.
As a dad, the real question for me is not whether I need to prioritize but rather what should my priorities look like? Having been through a barrage of professional training courses and seminars that discuss priority setting, I am always interested in what people deem a priority.
For instance, I found a cross-linked article on the National Fatherhood Initiative site that was part of their work/family programming. The article, written by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD, originated from Web MD and it focused on five tips to a better work/life balance.
Okay, it’s not a revolutionary approach I admit, but it is the simplistic nature of the first step that really got me thinking. Mathis contends that we must start by figuring out what really matters to us in life. How many dads out there have actually sat down and thought about what really matters most to us? What are the elements of my life that are the non-negotiable’s? Not only this, but what should my non-negotiable’s be?
In the article, Mathis encourages people to perform an exercise where they ask themselves, “If there was one thing that my life could focus on and one thing only, what would that be”? She then instructs her clients to do the same thing until they have their top five priorities. Given this exercise, what would your top five be? Without ordering your priorities in a way that would garner the most respect, what would your list look like?
The challenge then becomes deciding whether or not you agree with the sequence. You may find that your golf game really shouldn’t be infringing on your family time or that your career goals may need redesigned in order to accommodate your commitments at church.
For each father there is a time and a place when we come face to face with the nature of our character. Although we may not be defined by what we do, we certainly display the priorities of our heart by how we spend our time.