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
Have you ever said, “I want to have it all”? That’s human nature. We want to have a meaningful life – a career, family, friends, and financial freedom. As a young adult, I wanted to do it all and have it all. Being goal-oriented and ambitious, I was anxious to achieve my goals and dreams. I wanted to have it all now! The problem is, we can’t do it all and have it all – at least not all at once. However, we can have it all over a lifetime. That’s an important distinction.
Years ago, a wise woman introduced me to the concept of life stages, which really helped me put life into perspective. At certain stages of our life, certain things are more important than others. And our priorities change over time. For example, as a young adult, I was focused on earning a college degree, and then establishing a career. As single adults, we oftentimes have more time to devote to our career. We’re anxious to prove ourselves in the work world.
Once children come along, everything changes. As new mothers, we find that our time is not our own. Our life revolves around our infant who is totally dependent upon us. When we have young children, they become our focus. Many women put their career on the back burner during this time. They’re willing to invest more in their kids than in their career. Trudy Triner scaled back to part-time work after her son was born. She did consulting work from home two days a week. “That was the right thing for me to do,” says Trudy. “I’ve never regretted it for one second.” As their children grow older, many women put more energy into work and advancing their careers. Finally, once women retire, they have more time to enjoy grandkids, travel, and get more involved in church or community activities.
To apply the concept of life stages: 1) outline your life stages, 2) determine your priorities at each stage, and 3) plan accordingly. As a young woman, I knew I wanted to go into business for myself, but the timing wasn’t right. I had two young children, and didn’t have the time or energy to invest in starting a business. Embracing the concept of life stages helped me be patient enough to start my business when the timing was right. Currently, I dream of being more involved in ministry at my church. However, I know once I retire, I’ll have a lot more time to focus on ministry. By applying the concept of life stages, you CAN have it all – over a lifetime!
Have you ever had one of those days? You’re feeling scattered, and pulled in a lot of different directions. You’re constantly dealing with issues. At the end of the day you feel worn out, drained, and completely sapped of energy.
Those days can be avoided by keeping a spiritual focus. The spiritual realm is where we find our sense of purpose and meaning in life. For the majority of us, that’s found through God, given 70% of Americans believe in God. How do you keep God at the center of your life?
The key for me is spending quiet time with the Lord each morning. I take about 20 minutes to pray, meditate on God’s Word, and reflect on my life. I also focus on what I’m grateful for, since everything we have comes from God. This gives me perspective, and helps me start the day off on the right foot. That doesn’t mean that everything will necessarily go smoother, however, I’m better equipped to deal with life’s daily challenges. I find that the days I end up feeling beaten up, are the days in which I skipped my quiet time, because I didn’t think I could afford to spend the time. How wrong I was!
I also ask God for guidance and direction throughout the day. This is the difficult part, since sometimes I get so busy during the day that I forget about God. However, when I’m faced with important decisions, then I ask what God would have me do. Daily, we face decisions as to how to spend our time. When we make decisions based upon our values and priorities, we’ll feel at peace and have greater balance in our life.
I think of the analogy of a pinwheel. When you spin a pinwheel, the pin holds the wheel together. The Lord is the pin in the wheel. When we get busy, God holds our life together. If there were no pin, then we’d be scattered everywhere, flying off in lots of different directions. Our life would be chaos! But with the Lord at the center, he gives us focus, which results in better balance. If you center your life on the Lord, and live according to Godly values and priorities, you’ll experience grater peace, harmony and balance.
Ashley has a demanding career and two young children. Between work and family, she has no time for anything else. She rarely sees friends and ends up putting herself last. Sound familiar? With limited time, many women feel frustrated with conflicting priorities. For many of us, there’s a disconnect between what we value and how we spend our time. For example:
- We value time with our children, but we have to work long hours and also travel on the job.
- We enjoy spending time with our spouse, but our weekends are filled with household chores, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. instead of quality time with our spouse.
- We value good health, but we can’t find time to exercise. We eat meals on the go which are unhealthy, and then end up feeling tired or sick.
After weeks, months and even years of not being able to live like we want, we give up and accept that this is the way it’s going to be. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t have to be at the mercy of your job and other people. Instead of feeling angry and resentful, make up your mind to change what you have and what you do. You can make changes.
Start by making a list of what you value in life (family? friends? health? career? charitable service? leisure time? etc.). Then track your time and record how many hours you spend each week devoted to each item on your list. In order to focus more time on your values and priorities, schedule time on your calendar for these things – such as reading to your kids, spending time with your spouse or friends, exercising, etc. Then follow through and devote the time.
If you’re able to successfully realign your time and activity with your values, you’ll gain valuable benefits. You’ll understand the true tradeoff between time and money, have deeper relationships with your spouse and children, and have more “free time” to spend as you like.
For more information on balancing work and life, listen to the audio “The Balancing Act: Managing Work and Life“.
I love quotes and often use them in my presentations. Here are some of my favorite quotes on work-life balance. Some of them are quite profound. They get you to think about priorities, choices, boundaries, and the importance of taking time for yourself. Sometimes a quote will impact you in a way that really helps. As you read them, think about your own challenges in balancing work and the rest of your life. See if there’s one quote that really resonates with you. Then write it on a 3×5 card and put it in a place where you’ll see it often. This can serve as a daily reminder.
Here are the quotes:
“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” – Betsy Jacobson
“Work, love and play are the great balance wheels of man’s being.” - Orison Swett Marden
“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” - Barbara de Angelis
“We have overstretched our personal boundaries and forgotten that true happiness comes from living an authentic life fueled with a sense of purpose and balance.” - Dr. Kathleen Hall
“I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.” - Oprah Winfrey
“A well developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” - William Arthur Ward
“The Gift of Balance in Your Life – May you find the balance of life, time for work but also time for play. Too much of one thing ends up creating stress that no one needs in their life.” - Catherine Pulsifer
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” - Charles Buxton
Please share your favorite quote with other readers.