Priority Management and Life Balance

Most people believe that somehow, if they can just find the right system, they can get everything done. I think this is a myth bordering on an outright lie. You can’t do it all. Time is a limited resource. This is just something you have to understand and accept.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Spanishalex, Image #3043850

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Spanishalex

In my experience, the key to work/life balance begins by getting crystal clear on your priorities. I have six, and they are arranged in a specific order:

  1. God
  2. Self
  3. Family
  4. Work
  5. Church
  6. Everything Else

If you are a Christian, God obviously comes first. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). He is the ultimate priority. Until He is first, everything else will seem out of kilter.

On a practical level, I read the Bible first thing in the morning. I want to get a divine perspective on things. I also pray in the morning on my commute to work. In addition, I pray before meals, and various points throughout the day, and right before I go to bed. It’s rarely formal. Most often, it’s just an ongoing conversation.

Perhaps surprising to some people, I come next. That’s right, me. I don’t think this is because I am selfish or ego-centric. It’s because I can’t take care of anyone else unless I take care of myself. If you fly much, you have probably heard the flight attendant say, “In case of an emergency … put the oxygen mask on yourself first before attempting to help others.” This is how I look at life. I have to attend to myself first in order to help others.

If I don’t look after my own health and become sick, I am not much use to my family or my employees. This is why I run and try to eat nutritionally sound food. If I don’t get sufficient rest, I get grumpy. No one wants to be around me. This is why I try to sleep a solid seven hours every night.

Plus, I want to model how to take care of myself, so that my children will take care of themselves. Some people put themselves at the bottom of their priorities, but I think this is nothing more than a false—and dangerous—piety. We are in a much better position to serve others when our basic needs are met.

My family comes next. Frankly, this was very difficult when the girls were little. I had a hard time balancing my work and my life. Sadly, this priority sometimes got shoved to the bottom of the list. Fortunately, this was usually temporary. But I constantly had to fight to keep from neglecting my family. When I got too far astray, Gail would gently reel me in.

Today, things are much easier. Right now, we only have two daughters living at home. One of those leaves for school this weekend. I usually come home at about the same time every night. Usually, I leave the office at 6:00. Gail and I eat together almost every night. Our daughters—or one of the daughters not living at home—will usually join us three to four nights a week.

We try to make meal time special. Not to wax too theological, but we see meals as sacramental (small “s”) and a reminder of God’s kingdom. It’s not just a “pit stop” or a refueling opportunity. Instead, we see it as an opportunity to commune with one another and reconnect with the people we love most.

Since the girls were very little, I have always asked, “What is the best thing that happened to you today?” We still continue that tradition today. I like how it focuses everyone on the positive events of the day.

Sometimes the girls would say (with a big frown or even a few tears), “Nothing good happened today.” My wife, Gail, would always say, “I understand, but if you had to say one thing, what was the best thing of all the bad things?” We have had some wonderful and amazing conversations based on this simple question. As a result, dinner always lasts for at least thirty minutes—sometimes an hour or more.

Weekends are a little different. Gail and I try to go out on Friday night. Sometimes we go out alone, sometimes with friends. This is our “date night.” A good friend once told me, “The most important gift you can give your children is to love their mother.” How true—especially in an age when broken homes are increasingly the norm.

On Saturday mornings, we sometimes walk down to the bakery two blocks from our house and have a late breakfast. If the kids are up, they join us. Occasionally, one of my married daughters and grandchildren join us. We don’t have a fixed routine for the rest of Saturday. We just kind of let it happen. (I like it that way!) On Sunday we go to church and have lunch together with the whole family or as many of them as we can corral.

By the way, with regard to “projects around the house,” I follow Clint Eastwood’s advice in the Dirty Harry movies: “A man has to know his limitations.” I am the most mechanically-challenged person I know. I know the difference between a hammer and a screwdriver. After that, it gets fuzzy.

So, I don’t do a lot of household repairs. I usually ask one of my sons-in-law, hire someone, or—if I wait long enough—let Gail do it. Seriously, having grown up with four older brothers, she is very good at this stuff. But, alas, your situation may be different. I know this can be a family activity. It was in Gail’s family. She got to spend a lot of time with her dad by helping him around the house.

After family, my next priority is work. I think it is really important that this come after God, self, and family. I have seen too many people sacrifice the other three on the altar of work. Usually when that happens, their work life crumbles, too. Work can be a rewarding experience if you keep it from becoming an idol. However, if you don’t put it in its place, it can suck the life out of you. No one ever said at the end of their life, “Man, I only wish I had spent more time at the office.”

I only work about fifty-five hours a week. I usually work eight to nine hours during normal work hours. Then I work another hour or so on e-mail after dinner. I also work for a few hours on Sunday evening as I prepare for the upcoming week. Occasionally, I will work more than this, but rarely less. If I try to work too much more than this, I find it becomes counter-productive. In fact, at some point, I believe there is an inverse relationship between time at work and productivity. It’s kind of like golf—you play the best when your grip is relaxed.

After work comes church. I teach an adult Sunday school class. This is my ministry. In addition, I also serve as a deacon. Gail and I have been at the same church for twenty-five years, so our relationships are long and deep. I believe man was created for worship. If we don’t worship God, we generally end up worshiping something else. Church is a great way to start the week on the right foot.

After that comes everything else. The truth is that I rarely get past the first five priorities. These pretty much make up my life. The bottom line is that you don’t need to get everything done. You only need to get the right things done and leave the rest with God. You’re only human and you can only do so much.

Question: Is life balance a struggle for you? How do you manage your priorities? Is your life balanced?
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  • http://www.rickwomack.com Rick

    I think balance is elusive and over-sold as something to be sought after. In my life, family and ministry (which is my work), I find it healthier to look at from the perspective of 'seasons.' There are seasons when I travel a lot-there are seasons when I'm home a lot. There are season when I'm home and really able to help out with things like Dr. appointments, etc-then there are seasons when I need to extensively study and prepare for upcoming speaking engagements. So, to assign "x" number of hours to any one particular item and keep it that way consistently is simply unattainable.

    We too have a family meal-time ritual we call "Hi-Lo" where we go around the table and talk about the "Hi" point of the day and the "Lo" point of the day. It's really helped my wife and I understand the struggles the children face, know better how to pray and provided some great laughs!

    Thanks for sharing Michael!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I think the "seasons" idea is good, so long as it doesn't become permanent. I periodically go out of balance intentionally, but then I strive—with Gail's help—to get back into better balance.

  • http://www.tsdi.wordpress.com mooney

    Wow, great stuff. I have 2 and 3 flipped. Maybe that’s where some of my frustration comes from when I don’t get projects done that I need completed for my own sanity. Thanks again.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      It's easy to do. I think Christians really struggle with this. Jesus said, "deny yourself," so we often put ourselves last. But I don't think this is what He meant. Granted, putting yourself second can't be an excuse for selfishness. But I think of it more as a stewardship issue. God gave me ME as a gift that I need to take care of, so that I can be useful to others.

  • Megan Miller

    As a new mom and wife (I just got married and inherited 2 children!) this is a constant challenge for me. I appreciate you modeling this and encouraging me to make my spiritual life and self-care top priorities. It’s easy to let work and family to come first. I have a feeling this takes a lot of practice. Thanks for the roadmap!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      It does take a lot of practice. As my oldest daughter, you have certainly witnessed my own successes and failures in this area. It takes vigilance to make it all work. I am constantly learning!

  • http://heathersunseri.blogspot.com Heather Sunseri

    Nicely put, Michael. I love how wonderful it feels when you know you've got your priorities in the right order.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Me, too!

  • Amy

    This is all good advice. My struggle is that as a professional project manager, I find myself thinking that if I just make X dependent on Y that I can get it all done and done well. And, of course, I've combined that with the attempt to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect volunteer, etc etc. What IS perfect, anyway? For those of us who were raised to believe we could do it all, it's still a challenge to reconcile our career aspirations with the ever-present societal judgment that goes along with being the female primary breadwinner who works outside the home and <gasp> did the research to find a wonderful, education-focused but nurturing daycare in which to entrust her child 3 days a week (grandma gets the other 2). While I do have some philosophical differences with you, your points are spot-on and my new challenge is to accept that I "can only do so much" – as long as my family is happy and healthy, anything else is gravy. Now if only I can get my emotional mind to agree with my rational mind… ;) Thanks for this post! (And I think I feel one of my own coming on…although I'll likely skip it to play with my boy.)

  • Steve Cooper

    Great advice. Now, if I can exercise my leadership skills within that agenda, maybe I can get the rest of the family and the people at work to adopt similar routines. Sweet!

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JasonWert JasonWert

    This is some great advice. Thank you. I have myself much further down that list and I think it's because I struggled with ego problems in my younger years. I find myself overcompensating and even feel guilty when I take "me" time.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      This is a common issue. Maybe my post can give you "permission" to take care of yourself. I think you will find that you are a much better caretaker with others when you do so.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beckywarkentin Becky Warkentin

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us fellow travellers. I'm a bookseller up in Abbotsford, B.C. and have just signed up to read your blogs. Love what you say about the inverse effect of too much time spent at work. I have sometimes thought of the bookstore as a lion and me as the lion tamer (just an apprentice still). If I'm not very careful and clever, the lion will eat me!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      This was a really difficult lesson to learn. It is counter-intuitive.

  • http://pathfromtheheadtotheheart.wordpress.com Chrystie

    Such a great post! I so needed to hear this. I struggle with taking care of myself before others too. I, too, recently married an inherited a son. Because he is with us part time, I don't like to take time away from him when he is with us. When he isn't with us, I feel like I need to give that time to my husband. I end up depleted and stressed out with nothing to give. Balance, to me, seems to be much like a working document – being edited and shifted around as needed. Great post!

  • Joey

    What's interesting to me are the things that are not on your priority list – community leader, sports coach, school volunteer. These things take a lot of my time and often end up being higher priorities than the things that are more important to me. I wonder if you faced these challenges.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Understand that my priorities shift from time to time. Nevertheless, all those things would come after the priorities I listed above.

  • http://www.theponderpatch.blogspot.com Dyton

    Good stuff, Michael. I appreciate your thoughts on this. I was asked recently to write an article for Circuit Rider magazine in which I address the issue of self-care and use the same metaphor of putting on your own oxygen mask first

    http://www.umph.org/pdfs/circuitrider/U101IWYA.pd

    Thanks again…and keep up the great work

  • http://www.dailyreflectionsforsingleparents.blogspot.com/ Scoti Domeij

    While in the throes of single parenting, balance equaled how many plates I could spin on emaciated financial and emotional poles. I worked 2-3 jobs to support my son and struggled, never getting everything done at home. Working 55 hours a week would have seemed like a vacation. I had to eliminate and concentrate. I’d set the alarm for 3 am so I could study my Bible, but even then, open eyes and Bible equal kid magnet. I never felt like there was time for me, but would have never have survived without El Chay, the God of My Life, (Psalm 42:8).

    Now that my launched sons are productive adults and I’m an empty nester, I feel guilt looking back and thinking, “I wish I’d prioritized better…done more.” Today I enjoy “me” time —pursing the passions God embedded in my heart’s spiritual DNA.

    Your words that I found most encouraging are, “Most people believe that somehow, if they can just find the right system, they can get everything done. I think this is a myth bordering on an outright lie. You can’t do it all. Time is a limited resource. This is just something you have to understand and accept. You only need to get the right things done and leave the rest with God. You’re only human and you can only do so much.”

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

      We believers in Christ have a secret weapon if we remember to use it. Romans 8:28 tells that God causes all things to work for our good, so here's what I do. Whenever I feel tempted to beat up on myself, I simply ask God to work it out for my good and the good of everyone involved. This gives me the power to let go of things I can't change, and it does bring me the peace that passes all understanding.

  • http://www.facebook.com/janie.seltzer Janie Seltzer

    Thanks for exposing the big lie, Mike. We cannot do it all~~but we can do what is specifically ours to do~~if we listen, listen, listen to the voice of God~~indeed our first priority. Everything important flows from there and He will astonish us with what He can do through us when He is in the lead!

  • http://www.billwhitt.com/blog Bill Whitt

    I love that you pointed out the "inverse relationship between time at work and productivity" that begins after about 45 hours/week. A lot of bosses don't get this, and because of this, they're getting much less productivity from their employees (and killing morale) than they could otherwise. Life is a marathon, not a sprint!

    As for putting God at #1, I read once that God shouldn't be on the list. He should be IN the list (in every item that's on the list). In other words, I ask, "How can I glorify God in my work, family, etc.?" I thought that was an interesting take on it. It's a way to make sure God is not an item that's checked off the list, but that he's on your radar all day.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      That's a great thought about putting God IN all things. I'm afraid for me, however, that I need the reminder of putting Him first.

  • Colleen Coble

    I struggle with #2 especially this year. My husband's father declined with Alzheimer's and now his mother has fallen 2x in 3 weeks and I'm the main caretaker. I should be exercising. I should be taking time to do something fun, but right now, it's not happening. I'll try to do better, honest!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I think you have to allow for these seasons and not feel guilty. You are doing what you need to do!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

      Hi, Colleen, is there anyone–maybe from your family or your church–who can give you a regular break? As a caregiver, you do have to be a little bit "selfish" for your own sanity. Like Michael said, if you get sick, you won't be of use to anyone. As far as exercise goes, just try to work in little bouts of movement–pace while you're talking on the phone or climb stairs more frequently. Above all things, as Michael says, do not feel guilty–that's counterproductive.

  • Mark Russell

    This is a great post. I’d like to hear your thoughts on annual management ie spiritual retreats, vacation, etc. Also what about health? Exercise?

  • http://twitter.com/draw9 @draw9

    Really great post. I so agree with you in each point, especially putting God first…..He really makes the challenges in life so much more bearable!!!

  • http://byhisgracejenny-burr.blogspot.com/ Jenny B

    I appreciated reading this post and I like how you explaimed the reason behind putting yourself before your family. It makes sense.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    I carry a picture in my spiritual wallet–I'm sitting on a couch snuggled between my Papa Father and my big brother, Jesus Christ. No matter what I am doing or where I am at, I live my life on that couch.

  • http://twitter.com/ErnieFlowers @ErnieFlowers

    Focus more on prayer before you get in the car. There is something about consistent prayer time with the Lord in the morning not driving prayer time, it is different.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      No doubt. I have tried that. Unfortunately, it doesn't work as well for me.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

        To each their own!

  • http://twitter.com/AngBreidenbach @AngBreidenbach

    Having been the flight attendant who told parents to put their O2 mask on first, I used that as an example in my non-fiction book in the chapter of Self-Care. It goes against your instinct, but if we picture the result, suddenly we understand we need to retrain ourselves in order NOT to fail when it really matters.

    I'm working on changing some of my priorities to build my own career. The hard part isn't in the change, it's in maintaining the change against those who don't like change. Hmm, another topic :-)

  • Veronica Jones-Brown

    Good article. Thanks.

  • http://flowerdust.net anne jackson

    I was talking with someone about this today and I really liked her approach. Instead of having a "tier" effect of "priorities" she thinks of who she is more in a "wheel" with spokes. In a hierarchy, things often compete with each other but in a round, something is in the center (Christ) which all else branches from. It's not a compartmentalized way of living but each spoke fuels another, with the hub being well oiled. I am not doing her explanation justice but it was an interesting way to look at "balance." :)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      That is actually a great metaphor. I need to give it some more thought, but it has a lot of possibilities.

  • highterrainj

    I only see four since there is no such thing as god

    # Self
    # Family
    # Work
    # Everything Else

  • Roger Griffith

    Thanks for being transparent about your priorities and time management.

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com Michael Levitt

    Thank you for posting this article. I pray it helps all of us refocus our priorities into the right order.

  • http://blomerus.org Marysol

    Thank you for this post! We need the wisdom and insight of those who have done it for longer. Much appreciated!!

  • http://www.lynettesowell.com Lynette Sowell

    Thanks for letting us see how you keep your life balanced. When we think about it, a tightwire walker always has to make adjustments to stay on that rope. No luxury of slacking off, because gravity will take over eventually.

    I heard someone say that when we say yes to something, we are always saying "no" to something else. This has really helped me to think, "What am I saying yes to right now? Is there something else I'm saying no to that is really more important?"

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I think keeping "yes/no" in mind is very important. Thanks for the reminder!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JeffHolton Jeffrey Holton

    First of all, great post! I learned some new things and was reminded of some important things reading it.

    Two things in here jumped out.

    One, I'm hesitant to swallow the opening sentence blindly. There is the school of thought that suggests something else, and I'm not sure where I stand. Perhaps it's an overapplication of God not allowing us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but I've been told by more than one person that if I'm not finishing what I have to do in the time I have to do it, I'm either doing more than I'm supposed to do, or I'm misusing my time.

    On a personal level, that latter phrase always hits me in the gut and reminds me of my responsibility. I'm worried that if I applied your opening line, I'd actually use it as an excuse for laziness. The former has more to do with destiny, of course, and as such is difficult to measure.

    Secondly, I want to thank you for a very simple and elegant explanation for why self comes second. During my formative years, I definitely bought into the "Jesus first, others second, yourself last" mentality. In fact, I'd say it was the cornerstone principle of my existence for 10 to 15 years. It's taken me quite a few years to unlearn that, and I'm still working on it. The damage that it's done is that I confuse selflessness with goodness, and I'm far less effective than my potential. I created codependence artificially, deciding that working on the needs of others was a great way to distract myself from working on my own overwhelming flaws.

    Interestingly, it was on a plane flight, while reading the in-seat cartoon instructions, that I had the same epiphany that you used there as a metaphor.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Great comments, Jeff. I certainly see what you mean about the first sentence. I'll have to think on that some more.

  • Lee

    SELF

    “If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.” Ayn Rand

    Ayn Rand preached a philosophy of rational objectivism … that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest. This is the first priority of many folks today … the pursuit of happiness which can only result from collecting … money and stuff … big houses … big cars … and lots of technological marvels.

    OTHERS

    “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” Albert Pike

    I suggest that your first priority should be to give yourself away every day. Doing as much GOOD as possible not only makes you feel good, but returns more back over the long run.

    “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” Martin Luther King Jr.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I don't disagree that giving yourself away is the ultimate end-game. However, I don't believe it is the place to start. I believe you have to take care of yourself first in order to have something to give away. This is obviously a balancing act. I am certainly not condoning selfishness or narcissism. I am simply advocating that we have to recharge our own batteries in order to be able to jump-start others.

  • Hans Schiefelbein

    Very well written, Michael. It's hard to put yourself before family, and I know many will "push back" on this idea. I agree with a lot of it, my struggle is that I need to know when I'm being selfish and when I need to move on and take care of family.

  • http://www.runnerslounge.com Amy

    Well said Michael!

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  • Ritz

    Great post!

    What about if you are single, is it the same priorities?

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  • Lori

    My husband encouraged me to read this today – wow – as a newly married couple and owner of my company, I really want to set similar priorities starting now and early in our life together. Thank you for sharing such wisdom.

  • Chew Keng Sheng

    Great post, well written, Mike. I agree with you particularly on the point of taking care of one own self first before taking of others and work.

    I find many of your sharing to be warm, personal and engaging, while at the same time, contains nuggets of wisdom that can be easily adapted into my own circumstances.

    Would you actually have considered compiling your short inspirational messages into a book?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your kind and encouraging words. I am actually working on a couple of books now, including one on life balance.

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  • http://carlestercrumpler.com Carlester

    I'm speechless! Well, not quite. This is truly humbling as I don't know how many countless paths I've traveled that have led to poor priority management and life unbalance. Michael – thanks for helping to put things into perspective.
    My recent post &quot;When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for…&quot;

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jgallagher1 John Gallagher

    Michael, This post has challenged me recently. I look forward to investing time at the BC Experience this year getting crystal clear on my priorities. My life plan vision and purpose statements need updated based upon my journey AND I need to heed your advice on the realization that I can't do everything…For example, I have simlar accounts as you do AND I have accounts for extended family and friends. I tend to beat myself up pretty good when I fall short on these 2 accounts AND, thus, it affects my other accounts as well as I give energy to this beating… I look forward to the focused time for this and the time with my wife in Oregon as well to manage that account!!

  • Anonymous

    You’ve offered a great example of a balanced lifestyle. I’m struggling to find balance, but determined that such a recipe exists. I adamantly agree with your priorities. I try to take at least 5 minutes every morning for “quiet time” including a devotional (currently working on Oswald Chambers. Last year it was Jesus Calling). At different times in my life I’ve allowed Work & Church (or Community) to supersede Family in my list (although we’ve definitely maintained dinner as ~sacrosanct). And all of these have often risen above Self. I’m working to remember the importance of Self (you’ve captured the essence here – I really like the “airplane safety” image).

  • http://www.embracepositivepassion.com Georgiana

    I definitely agree that balance is key to enjoying life to the fullest. Between work and play there needs to be an equilibrium in order to give 100% in everything we commit too. Time alone with God, family bonding time and “me” time all need to be incorporated alongside our daily work agenda. Without these balancing factors we would indeed burn out and be useless to both our business and personal lives.

  • Anonymous

    This is how I view our spiritual journeys as well, Anne. We Americans are culturally taught to be  linear and hierarchical in our thinking (something that is changing in many organizations in the 21st century). I believe it is why we have so little stomach for people who do things differently than we do and are so eager to read about “5 easy steps” to do anything and everything. That said, I believe we are called to something different as Christians.

    If Christ is at the center rather than at the end, our paths toward Jesus and transformation toward ever-increasing holiness can look very different depending upon where we begin on the circumference of this metaphorical circle. Rather than walking shoulder to shoulder in the same direction toward Jesus, we have the potential to take completely different, even 180 degree opposite routes and still be walking toward Jesus at the center. I suspect that this is why the men and women we are introduced to in the Bible are both rich and poor, building churches in cities or on the road, traditional or innovative, etc. Rather than see that members of the Body of Christ might be drawn to center…to Jesus…in different ways, we’ve taken to arguing and advocating for our path over those of our brothers and sisters in Christ. I am glad that many of the heroes of our faith were not led to follow a hierarchy like the one described in this post. The stories of many of the prophets, apostles, evangelists and sacrificial servants of God would have been much different if they had. Yet, I am open to the notion that God is using this message at this time for His glory in a way. It is my prayer, however, that people who read this will use it to prompt prayerful discernment about God’s will for their lives rather than a quick-fix how-to. 

  • Kathleen

    Very helpful and insightful. When your work is ministry, and God should be permeating all of that, I think things get blurry. It is easy to equate always being available for meetings at 8 pm at night when church members can meet with you, with serving God. It is, and it isn’t. It’s easy to be a workaholic and say you are doing it for God’s glory, and even mean it. But somewhere that nagging voice in your head (I call it the Holy Spirit) let’s you know that you are crossing a line and cheating yourself and your family, and sometimes even God.

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  • http://www.ourdealstoyourmeals.com Missy

    I definitely have a hard time balancing things.
    My problem is that I get too much going in each category instead of balancing them all. and most of the time they are things I WANT to do, I just do not have enough hours in the day to do them all. 

    I’m curious if you think it is easier for you being of the male gender to be able to prioritize and say no to things as opposed to me, being in the female gender. Everyone knows that women like to and are better at multi-tasking. I am sure that makes a difference. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I honestly don’t think gender has anything to do with this particular issue. Thanks.

  • Shelley Sides

    Wow. The “self” at #2 threw me for a loop, but you know, there is wisdom there!!! So I shall pray and consider moving “self” from about #16 to #2. This may be big. Thank you for this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It will be big for you. And you will be so much more useful to everyone else, including God.

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

    For your priorities to work, it’s crucial to identify your personal boundaries, and stick to them.  When you allow others to interfere with your boundaries, it will cause you imbalance in your life.

    Thanks for this post!

    Blessings 

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  • http://twitter.com/kprichardson84 Kent Richardson

    Excellent post and great practical insight. I remember my mom would always say at dinner, “Tell me something about your day that will make me say ‘Wow!'” I love the idea of making dinner and meals a time of communing with the family. 

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

    My hunch is that many of us spend too much time on # 6 Everything Else.

  • Chris

    As usual, your post is über timely.

    It’s amazing the levels is plays out on. And of course, its necessary to assign priorities within these 6 priorities. After I finish the Michael Hyatt Life Plan with my wife, I’ll hit this next!

    Thanks

  • Hickeyalisha

    I Love your page it is always filled with wisdom. I always taking something from what you share!!! :)

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  • Lance

    I appreciate and agree with your list Michael. However I think your current family dynamic doesn’t represent what a lot of us live in day in and day out. I’d love your thoughts on how to maintain these priorities in today’s family setup. Single / step parents, who work several jobs, across a variety of shifts, are always connected to a device, travel weekly, etc

  • Brenda

    I’ve worked hard to make things balanced. It’s included leaving a profession I loved to go back to school full time so I can have more options for part time employment for this stage of life. God has been faithful, but it takes commitment and realistic choices to live balanced. It’s worth it.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003218683776 Laura Kirkland

    Excellent article Michael, thank you!

  • http://www.onlinesecurity123.com/ Scott Lewis

    Thanks to Pat Flynn for sharing your site! It is great to know that others struggle with the same things. Do you have a numbers of hours that is “normal” for those working their online business and a regular j.o.b? Thanks so much!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great! Glad we connected.

      I’m afraid I don’t have those statistics.

      • http://www.onlinesecurity123.com/ Scott Lewis

        No problem…. Thanks so much!

  • jess

    Michael, I am curious why you put work on top of church? We are not able to attend cell group regularly because work commitments which require us to work late at certain months of the year. Hence, we were told that we cant atend cell group since we are not putting cell on top of work.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      For me, I am really thinking about my ministry. That has to flow out of my success at home and work.