Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prioritizing What's Actually Important

I've been thinking a lot about two different things and determining how they fit together so that they aren't diametrically opposed - family and career. I do not yet have kids, but I very definitely have a family. My main family now consists of me and my husband. My larger family with my parents and siblings and B's parents and siblings. Our extended families that go out even further. And my friends are another circle around that ring of extended family. My family is extremely important to me, because they are the most important people to me. 

But so is my career. Ever since I was younger, I've been working towards a goal of being able to support my family in the event that it was on me to do so. I've talked a lot with my mom about this, and how she always stressed the importance of knowing that you can provide for yourself and your family whenever you need to. And I absolutely love that I have succeeded in that goal (though I'll be honest and say it sometimes stresses the hell out of me. More on that in another post though). But it often feels like it's hard to keep your family a priority when you're also trying to do everything you can to further your career and do the best job at work you can. 

And yes, I know that this gets even harder once you add kids to the mix, which I'm hoping won't be too far into the future.

But I read a post from Callie at The Wannabe Athlete the other day (who I love - she's such an amazing inspiration as a working mom to me!), which really motivated me to think more clearly about my priorities and how I'm really spending my time. And in seeing how she framed her priorities, it gave me a new way of thinking in particular about how to make career and family work together. 

Callie's priorities are:


Here's the list of how my priorities look like after borrowing blatantly stealing from Callie:

Family - my family is everything, immediate family, parents and siblings, extended family and friends
Future - focusing on my future to create the best outcome for my family (which right now means focusing on my career)
Fitness/Balance - in order to have the future I want, I have to take care of myself, both physically and mentally (which is where balance comes in)
Finance - my finances must be in order, both so I can prepare for whatever will come in the future and so I can maintain a balanced perspective (this is such a huge source of stress for me, no matter how much or little income is coming in at any given time)
Travel/Adventure - because what is a future without knowing our world and having adventures?

My friends are of course incredibly important to me, but as I mentioned above, I consider them to be one more circle in my family priority. And my family will always be priority number one for me. 

But in thinking about my career in terms of what I'm prioritizing for my future, it makes it easier for me to see how it works in tandem with making my family a priority, rather than the two priorities working against each other. Everything that I do for my future career-wise is ultimately for the good of my family. I want to ensure that my family is provided for, but I also want to make sure that I'm in the best position possible to be flexible once my family includes children.

Fitness and Balance are included on my list of priorities because as I have gotten older I have learned just how close the connection is between my mental health and my physical health. When I feel good physically I'm a much happier and even tempered person. All of my irritabilities pop up ten-fold when I'm in pain or feel out of control with respect to my body.

Finance will always be a priority of mine because of how much it stresses me out. No matter what our income level is at any given time, I am stressed about our finances. I do much better when we have concrete goals in place and are actively making strides to reach those goals, and prioritizing this means that I make the time to plan.

Travel and Adventure are also priorities of mine because of how much I love to travel. For me, I want to see the world. I want to know that there are new adventures that we can take all the time, whether we're actively planning one or not. And I want to focus my travels not just on the world at large, but also on my own community here at home. Adventures can be had just down the street as easily as they can halfway across the world. I knew that as a child, and I'm trying to rediscover that as an adult.

What about you? Have you had to re-think how you made time and space for your priorities in order to have them work together instead of against each other? How did you do that?


  1. I really like the idea of prioritizing it out on "paper" like this.

  2. Love this! Definitely made me think about making my own list. Thanks for sharing.


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