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Category: Priorities
Book Announcement — Balanced Living

I’m excited to announce the release of my latest book!

Passport to Priorities:

Your Road Map to Balanced Living

Are you a working woman who feels overwhelmed by your responsibilities?

Professional women are working more and more hours resulting in less leisure time.  When you add to this the responsibilities of managing a home, raising children, or caring for elderly parents, life can become overwhelming.

Passport to Priorities is for harried working women who want to regain control of their life.  The principles presented will help bring more balance, peace and fulfillment into your life.

Learn how to:

  • Assess the balance in your life
  • Take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually
  • Identify and focus on your most important priorities
  • Set limits and say “no” to the unimportant

Reformed workaholic, Kathleen Barton, draws on her own experience to help working women live their life according to their purpose, values, and priorities.  She shares the journeys of other working women like you who have struggled with balancing work and their personal lives.  Through countless interviews, Barton reveals their stories, struggles and successes.

Passport to Priorities provides a clear and simple road map for achieving work-life balance.  Barton reveals the three keys to balance that will bring peace, focus and fulfillment.  Packed with strategies, tips and tools – including a self-assessment and action plan – this relevant and practical book will help you take action to regain control of your life!

“Passport to Priorities is an engaging read, but the main reason it really stands out is the fact that it’s real. Not only does it deal with specific and practical ways to get a handle on the balance dilemma; it does so in the context of the whole person.”

~ A. Roger Merrill, co-author First Things First, Life Matters and Talent Unleashed

To order online, visit my Products page.
 
Favorite Quotes on Priorities

In order to live a balanced and fulfilling life, we need to be very clear on our priorities.  Here are some of my favorite quotes on priorities.  Review them and reflect on your priorities.  If one of these quotes really speaks to you, then post it in a place where you can see it every day as a reminder.

“Action expresses priorities.”     ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The life you have left is a gift.  Cherish it.  Enjoy it now, to the fullest.  Do what matters, now.”     ~ Leo Babauta

“The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life.”     ~ David F. Jakielo

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”     ~ Stephen R. Covey

“Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.”     ~ Dallin H. Oaks

“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it.  Establish your priorities and go to work.”     ~ H. L. Hunt

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”     ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Having children really changes your priorities.”     ~ Cindy Crawford

“Good things happen when you get your priorities straight.”     ~ Scott Caan

“The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.”

~ Brandon Sanderson

What is your favorite quote on priorities?  Please share with other readers.

 
When You’re Overloaded at Work

Do you have more to do on the job than you can possibly get done?  Is your heavy workload causing you to feel stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted?  If you don’t address the issue, then your long work hours can lead to burnout.  Burnout can be detrimental to your job and your physical and emotional health.

If you find that your workload has increased beyond your capacity, then it’s time to meet with your boss to address the issue.  Here are key points to cover in your meeting.

  • Assure your Boss of your Commitment to Work – Explain to your boss that your work is important.  You’re feeling overloaded with work, and you want to continue to be productive and perform at a high level rather than burn out.
  • Clarify Job Expectations and Priorities – The first step is to make sure you’re clear on your job expectations and priorities.  Make a list of your most important work projects.  Review this list with your manager, and together prioritize your work priorities.  You’ll need to focus most of your time and attention on these priorities.
  • Cut out any Non-Value-Added Activities – Review your job description.  Make a note of any tasks you perform that are not part of your job description.  Your boss may not even be aware of the extra duties you’ve been saddled with.  Then determine if there are any tasks that can be eliminated.  Maybe you’re expected to write a weekly report, but you know that no one ever reads the report.  If it’s not adding value, then get rid of it.

If, after implementing these changes, you find that your workload still requires countless hours a week to complete, then schedule another meeting with your manager to explore other options, such as hiring an assistant or intern, or balancing the workload by assigning it to someone else.

By addressing your heavy workload, you’ll be able to meet your work commitments and deadlines without burning out!

 
5 Ways to Put Yourself First

As busy working women, we oftentimes put ourselves last.  We were brought up to be nurturers and caregivers, so this is what we do best.  However, sometimes we are so focused on meeting the needs of others, that we don’t take good care of ourselves – especially when it comes to getting enough rest or exercise.

The airlines realize the importance of taking care of oneself.  At the beginning of each flight, they go through a safety spiel in which they tell us to put on an oxygen mask in the unlikely event of an emergency.   Then they go on to say, “If you are traveling with a small child, then put your mask on first and then assist your child”.  The point is that we need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others.

Taking good care of yourself is critical to your emotional and physical health.  If you’re not used to putting yourself first, how can you do so?  Here are five tips.

1.  Put yourself on the priority list. When you write your “to do” list, be sure to put yourself on the list.  Write down something you can do just for yourself.  Maybe it’s going for a short walk, listening to music, or reading a book.

2.  Schedule it in your calendar. Not only put yourself on the list, but also schedule time on your calendar to do the things you want to do – like shopping or taking a Zumba class.  Treat it like a meeting, so you can protect your “me” time.

3.  Do it early. Things can get in the way of your personal time, so schedule it early before the complications of the day sidetrack you.

4.  Find a partner. Whether it’s having a workout partner, meeting a friend for coffee, or attending a class, you’re more likely to make it happen if you’re accountable to someone else.

5.  Go on a mini-retreat. Every once in awhile we need more extended time to ourselves.  Take time out once every few months to spend a day at the beach, in the mountains, at a day spa — or wherever will rejuvenate you.

By practicing these tips, you’ll be able to be the best you can be in your various roles – as a wife, mother, friend, and worker.

 
Urgency vs. Importance: Prioritizing your Work

Are you making the most of your time at work?  Many employees struggle because they don’t know their priorities.  Everything seems important, so they end up “spinning their wheels”, being busy but not necessarily productive.  At the end of the day they feel beaten up by the daily urgencies.

How can you best prioritize your activities?  Here’s a tool that will help you to prioritize how you spend your time based upon importance and urgency.

Prioritization Matrix

Urgent               Not Urgent

A

Top Priority

B

Productivity

C

Needless

Interruptions

D

Waste of Time

Quadrant A – Important and Urgent

These are tasks which MUST be done, such as deadline-driven projects, reports, and meetings, crises, and problems that must be immediately addressed.  Examples are the system goes down or you get a call from school saying that your child broke his arm on the playground.  Therefore, these things are a top priority.

Quadrant B – Important but not Urgent

These are activities such as planning, preparation, prevention, recreation and relationship-building.  Examples include strategic planning, preparing for an important presentation, or needed recreation.  These activities improve your productivity.  The result is better health, improved performance, better relationships, and more balance.

Quadrant C – Urgent but not Important

These activities include other people’s minor issues, unnecessary reports, and unimportant meetings, phone calls, and mail.  They are often characterized by needless interruptions.

Quadrant D – Not Urgent and Not Important

These activities include busywork, phone calls and mail from solicitors, and excessive TV watching or Internet surfing.  These are often a waste of time.

Here’s how you can use this tool to manage your time.

Quadrant A – Since it’s both urgent and important, you need to address it immediately.

Quadrant C – Try to manage or minimize these needless interruptions.

Quadrant D – Since these are neither important nor urgent, avoid these activities altogether.

Quadrant B – You want to spend more time in this quadrant, which will boost your productivity and improve your balance.  So block out time on your calendar for these activities.

Consider how much time you’re spending in each of these quadrants.  In order to make the best use of your time, try to spend less time in Quadrants C & D, since they aren’t important, and spend more time in Quadrant B.  If you do, you’ll realize great gains in your productivity.