prioritiesFor Teachers:  Part 1 of Balancing School, Home, and Health – Setting Peaceful Priorities

Most of us, at one time or another, have determined what we consider to be our priorities in life–the people and activities that are most important to us.   Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, recommends that we schedule these priorities first. For peace of mind, however, I have found that when scheduling priorities, it’s important to allow for flexibility and the experience of “flow.”

Here’s what I mean:  The most important relationships in life are my relationships with God, my husband, children, extended family, colleagues at work, and personal friends.  Some of the activities I consider essential to my well-being include prayer,  time spent nourishing my relationships, , adequate sleep, exercise, cooking, writing, reading, dance, crafts, ministry, and teaching–not necessarily in that order.  During the school year it is impossible to fit all of these considerations into each week.  What to do?

I don’t force them to fit! Instead I allow for flexibility and the experience of “flow” by literally penciling in time for people and activities on my planner, knowing that it’s okay to move things around.

1) Flexibility allows me to adjust to the ever-changing circumstances of life without losing our peace of mind.

2) “Flow” allow me to continue an activity if I am “in the groove”–the experience of flow– and on the pathway to completion or wholeness in any given situation.  For example, today I will be sewing a bridesmaid dress for my daughter’s wedding.  I’ve set aside an hour to work on it this morning.  However, if I make enough progress to near completion of the project, I’m going to stick with it until it’s finished.  Yes, another activity I had scheduled might need to be moved, but allowing for the experience of “flow” keeps me from the frustration of cutting the time short when  I am so close to the satisfaction of finishing.

Allowing for flexibility and flow when scheduling priorities provides a deep sense of balance and progress toward meeting our life goals, without the feeling of loss of control that results from more rigid scheduling.  Rather than feeling overwhelmed and stress, we find the fun in being able to pick from a full menu of activities and to enjoy the twists and turns of a spirited, healthy lifestyle!

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