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
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.
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!
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“.
Because of the many demands on our lives, many of us do not spend time on the things that are most important to us. Take a look at what your life centers around. What are you driven by? Where do you spend your time?
For some, it’s family or friends. Although family is important, it is possible to become imbalanced. Some people, women in particular, tend to the needs of others at their own expense. Many of us have been socialized to be caregivers and nurturers. We become so focused on others, that we forget our own needs, especially when it comes to getting enough rest or exercise. One of my past clients told me, “Between work & family, I put myself last. Some days I get so busy, I don’t take time to eat. Now that I’m middle-aged, I need to be concerned about my health too.”
When we’re so focused on our marriage or our family to the exclusion of all else, then if we divorce or a spouse dies, we are devastated. We can lose the one thing that we hold most dear. Our life feels like it’s crashing in on us.
For some, their center is their work. Some people stake everything on their career. They invest time and energy into their careers at the expense of other areas. Then if they lose their job, they are devastated, because their self-worth is tied up in their job.
I was an example of career imbalance. Years ago, I was married, working full-time at a high-tech firm, and going to school. My goal was to earn my MBA to further my career. I spent all my time working, studying and going to school. I’d get up at 6:00 a.m., go to work, work at least ten hours, come home, cook dinner, clean up, and then ‘hit the books’ until about 11:00 o’clock at night when I would fall into bed exhausted. As a result I had no time for anything else. I had no time for my husband much less myself.
My hectic schedule was affecting my marriage. My husband finally put his foot down. He said, “This is not my idea of a marriage. You’re so busy, we never see each other. Something has got to change, or this isn’t going to work.” That’s when it hit me. I realized that my priorities were out of whack. I was so caught up in the ‘rat race’. I was so intent on pursuing my career, that I had totally lost sight of what was truly important to me.
What about you? Is your work so all-consuming that you’re ignoring other important areas of your life? Are you living your life according to your priorities? A good way to test this is to look at your calendar for the past week. How did you spend your time? Then compare it with your most important priorities. Do they align? If you’re like most people, the answer is “no”. If so, then you need to make some changes in your life.
My wake-up call occurred more than 20 years ago. That was the start of my life balance journey. I made changes in order to focus on my values and priorities. By living your life according to your purpose, values, and priorities, you’ll experience greater peace and fulfillment.
To learn more about living a balanced life, listen to the audio “The Balancing Act: Managing Work and Life”.