Balancing Priorities

, 2009-06-02

This one isn't a technical post, but it's entirely appropriate to those of us in the IT field. Today was a stark reminder about priorities and what they should be. Those who follow me on Twitter probably saw that I tweeted about a tragedy that affected one of the families in my church. In a nutshell, the unexpected did happen and someone did pass on fairly young. There's a lot of folks taking it pretty hard, my family included. One of the things I tweeted was the following:

A reminder that life can end unexpectedly. Live life to the fullest today and prepare fully for eternity now. There may not be a tomorrow.

If you aren't a person of faith, then the preparation for eternity part is taken care of, so far as you're concerned, but it is still important to live life to the fullest. That doesn't mean be foolish and careless and reckless. But it does mean looking at priorities and thinking about what's truly important. If something is important to you, it should get the proper amount of time, attention, and care based on its priority. For me, my priorities basically follow the pattern:

  1. My faith / ministry.
  2. My family.
  3. My friends.
  4. My job / professional reputation.
  5. My hobbies and recreational activities.

Sometimes these things go together. For instance, I love to play boardgames. So do my boys. And that's something we do together. But if I have to give time and effort, I will do so based on the previous list. Now there are always times where times will be slightly out of balance. For instance, if I have to work extra hours to complete a project, then it gets done. But over the last few years I've experienced that when you rob one priority to give time to a lesser priority, no one is happy and nothing gets done as well as it should.

As an IT professional the job / professional reputation is easiest to spend the most time on. If you like your craft (and I do), working with technology can be fascinatng and it can be easy to immerse, to the detriment of the other priorities. I've done it and regretted it after the fact. In the last two or three years I've worked very hard to correct that. I know others in the same boat who have done likewise. And the more we get our time and effort and care to match our priorities, the happier we are.

With that, I'll get off my soapbox. But if you haven't thought about what's really important to you, now might be the time to do so along with some self-evaluation to how your time and efforts match up with those priorities. I have found that regularly reassessing my time and effort has helped a lot in making sure I am giving the right emphasis where it needs to be. And I'm very glad to have started that practice in my own life.






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