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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

First Things First..How our priorities help us simplify

On my quest to simplify my life I found that starting with a solid list of personal priorities has helped me make not only small decisions but major decisions on how I spend my time. My priorities look like this.

1. Personal relationship with Jesus
2. My Husband
3. My Children, Grandchildren and Mother

4. My Friends
5. Serving Others via Project Ed Bear (children with cancer) or where I feel God leading me to serve.
6. Time for Myself to write, photograph and scrapbook

I will use the last two months as examples on how this list has helped me.I have made one list into the top three and the bottom three. The first three things on the list come before anything and anyone else...then the next three..then anything that is not on the list is given time as I feel led by God.

I dedicate two days a week to spend with my grandsons. I make sure that that time is set aside and I have personal one on one time with them so that we can bond and have quality time together. I make this a priority. I do not schedule other things on the days that I have committed to them. Even if I would like to spend time with a friend (bottom three)..I will not schedule that time on a day that I should be spending time with my grandsons (top three). I have missed going to tea and other activities because I kept my priorities in order.

Now at first this was a problem because I was never giving myself permission to have time for me..I am learning how to schedule that time into the week just like other events I have scheduled.

I found that the last part of 2008 (September through December) was a blurr to me because I was so involved in Project Ed Bear (a non profit for children with cancer that my son Ede and I founded 15 years ago) that I had let my other priorities slip and that time for myself had fallen completely off the list. It ended up in burn out, fatigue and resentment. I am praying and working on balancing even the areas of my life that are on my priority list.The is why I divided the list into top three and bottom three.

The first part of this year has offered me several opportunities to align myself with God's will and look at where He would have me spend my time. My husband was hospitalized in January and my mother was hospitalized in February. We have had a miscarriage(our son and daughter in law), a new pregnancy that has resulted in bed rest for my daughter, our three year old grandson is living with us for 24 days (between the 8 days in February and the 16 days in March)while his parents are out of town or country.My husband and I were out of town for 10 days on business and a little pleasure. I have struggled with the stress because I have not made first things first..If I make my relationship with Jesus first by spending time in His Word and Prayer..then the result is His Peace that surpasses ALL Understanding.

How does this list help me to simplify? When something new comes into my life..(example someone ask me to take on a project or join a committee or even something fun like a writing convention and a weekend crop) I look at my priority list..if the request or invitation does not line up with my priorities in my life at this time..It is easy for me to decline...If it is something that is a fun thing that would fall under the category of Time for Myself on my priority list, I look at the list, my circumstances today and make my decision based on the information I have at the time.

We have but just begun to hit on this very important topic of priorities. I am excited to hear from you and would love you to share how priorities help you define what is important in your life. Please share with me how you feel about defining your priorities and anything else that you would like to share about defining your life.

All who post will be entered into three blog giveaways on March 15th (to be announced by the end of the week)..Can't wait to see what you have to share!


  1. Oh boy. My priorities are all kinds of screwy at the moment.

    I really like what you did with yours though. :D Great layout of it.

    For me. I think it would go a little differently.
    Without thinking too much about it.
    Today right now this instant my list would look something like

    me time
    future thinking

    Yeh. I told you they were a little messy. Haha.
    Soon enough. I will get them situated. :D

    Although I am stressed right now, I feel that its hard to make the right choices for me. I think you kind of know whats going on with me at the moment... so I will not go into detail.
    But these decisions I am trying to make are REALLY hard!!! BLAH.

  2. You know, my LIFE priorities should be exactly the same as yours....but lately I've been putting my relationship with Christ on the back burner. (Isn't that always how it goes? How sad.)

    I've recently made a new "cleaning" priority list, which isn't the same, but is still very helpful! It looks like this:
    Pick up downstairs
    Bathrooms (ugh)
    "Detail" work, like baseboards and walls
    Notice "mopping" isn't on the list. Our apartment has carpet on every walking surface! I've been following the FlyLady and doing 15 mins of cleaning at a time has helped me get SO much done!

  3. I still have trouble feeling VERY selfish with my new prioritis !!!! However, I've learned the hard way---they HAVE to be like this for me to be of any help to anyone else. This was evident yesterday when I was able to help a women in extreme pain....because I had taken care of ME first! SO, here goes:

    1) my relationship with God
    2) my mental & physical health (I'm NOT a
    "machine" anymore)
    3) family
    4) friends
    5) time for me---SLOW ever part of me down--
    hot baths, dressing SLOWLY with some
    thought to it, hair, makeup
    6) serving others

    I have the list, now---I need to make some "life changes". Believe me---it's uncomfortable after years of putting everyone elses' needs & wants ahead of my time, my health, my desires etc. But---now---I have no choice!

    Good idea, Susan! You always seem to know whenere I need to be accountable. XO!!