If you ever feel like you need more balance in your life, you could be on the lighter end of the “chaos continuum” where your life seems to be a little off kilter…
… or you could be on the other end of the continuum because you are in a season of your life where you simply have to give an enormous amount of time and attention to one particular situation (people taking care of an ailing family member would be a good example)…
… or you are somewhere in the middle.
Whatever the specifics happen to be for you and your circumstances, one common thread among most people who feel “out of balance”: a vague, lingering guilt.
Guilt that I am working too much and not spending a suitable amount of time with family
Guilt that I am not working enough to make enough money for current and/or future family needs
Guilt that I am not being a good friend
Guilt about commitments I have made but have not yet kept
[We can do this all day. I have no idea what your guilt list might include. The above are my top four guilt party invitations that I am constantly tempted to show up for. I am trusting you can relate…]
It is my belief that whenever we feel a loss of a little or a lot of control of life’s rudder, and we are being nagged by the guilt that so often accompanies the sense of chaos, it is simply because we are not doing what we know we ought to be doing with our time and attention. And this not knowing can be a real problem, especially when we feel like circumstances are being imposed upon us.
The solution to all this seems simple, but it is applied by so few people that it appears to be more of a secret. Here’s the secret: Two things:
1) Do your best to know your priorities, and
2) Do your best to allocate the majority of your time and energy in such a way so as to reflect those priorities in descending order from most to least important. Always apportion more of your time and energy toward the top priority than the second item. And so on.
If, so far, you are thinking to yourself “this all goes without saying,” stay with me. We are building the case for a simple way to never feel guilty about what you are doing and to always know you are “on track” … even when you are not in total control of the circumstances life is hurling your way. Okay?
Oh, and one last thing about priorities: I know it sounds simplistic to say that we must know our priorities and to spend our time and energy on those things. The problem is that most of us say we know that knowing priorities is important, but that “knowing” isn’t evident in our schedule or in our life choices. Why?
We will try to answer that next.
See you in Part 3…