4 Strategies to Examine Your Life and Work Priorities

At times, I get exhausted chasing all of my writing ideas and plans.

I’m tempted to give up when I look at my “to do” list. But after examining the lessons I learned about rearranging furniture, I realized I needed to reposition a few things in my writing life, too.

This process included examining my priorities, resolving some internal and external conflicts, developing a strategy, and asking for help.

1.  Examine your priorities. Right now, I’m overwhelmed with many of the projects I face. So, I decided to visit my priorities again in all of my writing, blogging, and speaking commitments.

I also know that I need to be willing to make changes. Last week’s priority may not even be in the top ten on my “to do” list today. But often it takes a conflict or a stumble to get my attention.

2. Resolve internal and external conflicts. I often take on more commitments than I can handle. Do you? And this causes me humiliation and embarrassment as I’m faced with making choices that others won’t understand.

For instance, a few weeks ago, I traveled out of town to speak at two separate events, leaving only one day to prepare for my next event. Although I had prepared most of my materials, I became overwhelmed as I sorted through the last minute details.

Then, the day after I returned home, I drove a couple of hours to spend a few days at my daughter’s home. She needed a little moral support, preparing to send her four young children back to school and tackling some household projects.

When I returned home again, not only did I need some rest, I needed to sort a few things in my own house, including my writing life.

3.  Develop a strategy. I asked myself, What should I do to meet my writing needs right now? 

I knew I needed to develop a new strategy. Writing down all of my commitments helped me examine them, so I could get a more objective view of my writing decisions.

So, as I reviewed my calendar and my “to do” list, I also asked myself some hard questions. Why did I commit to this endeavor? Am I passionate about this?

Often, I can’t see my own life objectively until I examine it on paper. And sometimes, that process doesn’t even work. So, that’s when I call in the troops.

4.  Recruit a friend for help. I’m grateful for a few family members and writing friends who will be honest with me when I ask for their input about my schedule.

Sometimes the looks on their faces say it all, “What were you thinking?”

At other times, they encourage me, “Don’t give up! You can do this thing!”

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Eccl. 4:12 NIV)

If you’re overwhelmed in your life—whether you’re a writer or not—don’t give up!

I encourage you to examine your priorities, resolve those internal and external conflicts, develop a strategy, and maybe even call in the troops for some help.

What strategies have helped you as you examine your life and work priorities?

4 Replies to “4 Strategies to Examine Your Life and Work Priorities”

  1. Hi Karen,

    Fabulous post. One huge thing I got serious about years ago was being more proactive about my time. As soon as I learned to tactfully say “no, thanks” without feeling guilty, my stress-o-meter went down several notches. Self-care, as well as increased writing time, are so important for me. When we have families, as well as outside obligations, it’s a bit of a balancing act, but it can be done.

    1. Saying “no” without feeling guilt has always been a battle for me, too. But it helps me to remember that saying “yes” always means saying “no” to something else. Thanks for your comment, Cynthia!

  2. This is a great article and I can certainly relate. My problem is that I try to juggle too many things at one time instead of concentrating on the one I really love–writing! It seems this week I’ve read a few things that make me think I need to drop some work I’m doing. So, I’m glad your email came to me now, as it has helped that thought! I wish you well and thanks, Karen.

    1. Gippy, I certainly can relate to trying to juggle to many things at once. My tagline for my blog has been “Telling the Stories That Matter Most,” but that has been one of the most difficult things for me to do. It’s always something!

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