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Find time by prioritizing

Often times when I speak with people, whether in a business, social, or personal relationship, it seems that much of their trouble is around priorities.  Many people are trying to do too many things.  Others are frustrated with the way their life has taken over their happiness and sort of sucked it up and out of their life.

Let’s talk about a few things that you could have conflict over.  Somebody has to work (unless you are independently wealthy) – for the sack of this blog, let’s say it’s you.  Okay so we have work, family time, personal (alone) time, chores, fun.  Under chores you could have cleaning, yard work, homework (if you are a student), bill paying.  Under fun the possibilities are endless.  I’ll just throw out volunteering, playing sports, going dancing, out to eat, movies, etc.

In reality, there are only 24 hours in a day and you should be sleeping for at least six of them (up to nine).  We’ll use that old standby of eight hours sleep.  That leaves you 16 hours to do things.  Oh yeah, I didn’t add time for grooming, you know we all need to shower and some people take waay longer than others to get ready for the day.  That could take anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours, depending on your personality – grin.

We now have 15 hours left in our day.  Take out work.  I know many people who typically work ten hours, some more and some less. Even though I think ten is really more the “norm” these days, I’ll stick with the average eight hour day.  Let’s throw in an hour of travel time to & from work as well.

Six hours left, approximately.  Now you have some decisions to make.  If you are single it may be a bit easier for you to prioritize.  Although, you certainly could easily over commit because you have so many different things you like to do.  For those of you with families, your family wants to spend time with you.  You could spend time on chores, getting dinner, supervising homework.  Maybe you’ve brought work home. It’s possible it’s your night to serving at church, or you’re in a hurry to get out the door with your child to coach their sports team.  You We all seem to find ways to fill our time and stay busy.

I will say this about children… they need your time.  Studies show that even as little as 15 minutes a week of dedicated time to your child, doing what your child wants to do, can go a long way towards keeping that child from being a “troubled” child.  If your child wants to play video games and you make them go out and play toss & catch during the 15 minutes you are spending with them, that is not “their” time.  If they want to kick a soccer ball & you insist on baking cookies – sorry that doesn’t count.  At least 15 minutes a week of dedicated time with your child.  If you have more than one child, that’s 15 minutes with each child.  Thirty minutes is even better.  Many studies have also shown that the majority of homes with a “troubled” child tend to have an absent father.  That doesn’t necessarily mean divorce or separation, you can live in the same house and be an absent father.  Do you leave before they are up, get home after they go to bed, have no interaction (or very little) with your children?  Dad, you are an absent father.  Gentlemen, be there for your kids.  If you are divorced, make sure you are seeing your children.  They need a father figure in their life.  Okay, I’ll get down off my soapbox now, sorry I got a little carried away.

Back to priorities.  What are we down to?  Six?  Yes, approximately six hours left in your day with some things that really need to get done.  If you are looking at your day and wondering how you will ever get it all completed, or stressing out running here and there, it may be time to re-evaluate.  Remember there are only so many hours in a day and you may not be able to do it all.  You may want to make a list of the things you have to do and decide which ones are the most important to you.  Go ahead and number them.  Then figure out how much time it takes to accomplish each one.  How many hours?  Over six?  Something’s gotta go.  Logically, it would be the bottom item on your list.  Oh, but you just can’t eliminate THAT!  Ah, well then you don’t have the priorities in the right order.  Look at them again, knowing that something has to go.  Reorder them so that the item you CAN give up is on the bottom.  Look at little more doable now?  Okay, there ya go.  You have set your priorities.

Have a wonderful weekend.

*For information about Pam’s workshop, Make Time Work for You, contact her at

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