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Time 2: Priorities

Question:

How do you set priorities in your life?

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Transcript of Video:

In this five-week series we Brothers are inviting you to participate with us in a conversation around time. Time is a gift from God, but very often we experience it as something that brings stress and an anxiety into our life. We don’t feel we have enough time or we’re trying to fit everything into the time that we have and we find ourselves pushed by time and pulled by time.

So we’d like to look in this series at ways of reordering our time, of rethinking how we engage with time, and we’re going to do that under five categories. In the first week we’ll just talk about stopping. There are certain times when we’re called to stop what we’re doing, to rest or to reflect. We’ll also talk about prayer. How does prayer fit into our lives, and where do we find the time to pray and stay connected with God? We want to talk about work, because many of us have a disordered relationship to time and work, and work drives us and consumes our time in ways that we experience as unhealthy and unwholesome. We want to talk about play, because very few of us take time to play, and play is actually very important in – has an important role to play in the balance of our life. Then we want to talk about taking time to love, taking time to listen to others, time to be with others, time to live into the fullness of our relationships.

So we hope that you’ll join us and that you’ll think with us on these topics and that you’ll consider the place of time in your own life.
-Br. David Vryhof

231 thoughts on “Time 2: Priorities

  1. At this particular point in my life I find myself in STOP mode (teetering between work & retirement) and assessing my purpose for being here and wanting / needing to make the most of the remaining time of my life. Trying to redefine life’s priorities by allowing them to define themselves.

    • I might have written this post myself, so closely does it reflect my situation. I also am on the brink of retirement, but am hesitant, afraid of how I will manage my unstructured time. Will I use it wisely, or fritter it away? Soon eternity will be upon me, so I want to be at peace with time.

      • As a newly retired person, I am struggling with how to structure my time. When I first retired, the first two months were taken up by the tasks involved in relocating to a different state to be close to family. Then there was the work involved in setting up a new household and learning my way around my new community, finding a new faith community, etc. Now, as I settle into my new home and community, the lists of task to complete are few and far between. I’m finding that I am faced with the prospect of developing the discipline to create my own structure so that I am not frittering time away but focusing on all of the things I always said I wanted to do: meditation, Tai Chi, reading, community service, etc. It’s a lot harder to do this than I thought it would be!!

    • I too see myself in what this participant is saying. I spend way too much time working, trying to fit into my life’s schedule time for devotion, my volunteer work, family, and myself seems more difficult as I near retirement and my next life chapter. This series couldn’t have come at a better time.

    • As a retired person, my priorities have changed. Maintaining my health is a priority. My ministry is focused on activities I am able to do. I make it a point to spend time doing fun things.

    • I find myself flummoxed by this question. It seems there are quite a few layers to how I choose what I am going to do with my life – overall and day by day, even moment by moment. It will be an interesting study.

    • We have been retired for 11+ years(8 months in FL, 4 months in lakers region of NH). Our time is living as fully as possible with theater, book clubs, gardening, biking, & most importantly, dancing & yoga. Our 2 Episcopal churches serve as bookends to our spiritual life. We continue to be both on & involved w/our HOA Board-all on reduced circumstances. God is good.

    • Those things that are important in my life like a daily quiet time, exercise, starting my day with a glass of freshly squeezed lemon water are non negotiable. But I tend to procrastinate other areas of my life and then find these things mount up and I am like a chicken without a head trying to get it all done at once.

    • I’ve been retired for 6 years. At first I had grandchildren living nearby si I was busy. Then we moved to another city and I was busy. I found a new church but am not involved like I was in my old church. Grandchildren moved too. I’ve been a bit lost the past couple of years. I’m taking a theological course once a week (lots of homework). I spend mornings in devotions and prayer. I volunteer with community care making phone calls and visiting a shut in. Doctor appointments and housework fill my days.

  2. My priorities are currently set by my daily health requirements, since becoming ill some years ago. Also by necessities of others such as feeding my cats-lol! Praying is a priority in the morning and often other times during the day/eve. ..but those times may fall away for rest instead. Bills are a biggie…make sure they get paid! Make art to sell to pay the bills….those are priorities. Play? Not much of that, though I wish there was more time and energy to play…miss that! Church is a priority…more like a food group…need it on many levels. Friends…must chat…another necessity…..these things keep me going, connected…and I value most, so they’ve become my priorities.

  3. I have just found myself out of work, so I am currently reassessing my prospects and as Lent has just begun, it seems the appropriate to stop and think about time and place in my life.

      • It is so interesting to read everyone’s posts because it seems that we all struggle with prioritizing our time. That makes me feel better because I definitely have trouble with this. My first priority in the morning is my devotion and prayer time and after that is exercise, work, time with my dog, friends and family. My problem is feeling guilty if I don’t make time for those other priorities. I also feel that my time with God gets my day on the right track.

    • I am out of work right now as well. It feels great to have so much time but also not “right”. I feel guilty to not be working. Good luck in your discernment and job search!

      • Being retired I have little that I have to do beyond maintaining the basics of food, sleep, keeping warm..oops that reminds me of my wife she comes pretty high on the priority list but is not “high maintenance” I have been working hard at it and have finally established a daily prayer and a daily period of fun – wood carving. Special events take care of themselves. There is always time left over at the end of the day for TV or a book.

    • Lynda, I can totally relate to your situation. I am recently unemployed as well and finding my way through disorder of extra time given to me. I am at the age where I am too old to start a new career and too young to retire. This is a good time to reflect and pray about what is next for me.

  4. When I don’t order my time, I find it orders me. Even though there are some things I make priorities, it is so easy for them to slip. I find what I don’t seem to make a priority are rest and play…because it feels there is never enough time.

    • Yes! This is true for me, and I’ve proved it from both directions! May your day today be blessed by the knowledge that God is with you in time.

    • Yes, I agree, however one thing I have incorporated in my life is enjoying God on the treadmill or bicycle. Because I am overweight and am trying to be fit for my journey and I do work full-time I decided a long time ago that I can’t give up either one – my time with God and my exercising – in the morning so I do pray before I get out of bed and perhaps some more prayer depending on the time I wake up but I have a full hour I can have a conversation with God while working out. I look forward to the time when I can separate the time “just for God” but when you think about it I am working out “just for God” so can be a healthy and joyful minister to God’s people.

      • I like your combination of working out and time with God. I have a lovely silent (magnetic resistance) recumbent bike that has been neglected. I can imagine using it while listening to devotional readings, or spending time in prayer. Now all I need is to DO IT!

  5. My priorities are often set by circumstances rather than intention. I need to pay more attention to intention as a way to more fully experience, value and appreciate each day as a gift of time.

    • Well said….as a priest I feel as if I spend my days reacting to events instead of responding to call….trying to get that to stay in balance is a never ending task!

  6. Currently working full time and going to school to complete my RN degree so time is a priority.
    I have found that my day goes better if I take the time in the morning to do my daily bible readings before exiting into the world.

  7. I set priorities based on my relationships…my family comes first, then on time deadlines, and finally around my dedicated play time.

  8. Unfortunately, often the priorities are the urgent things in front of me, the fires I need to put out. I would like to reorganize my priorities based on values, what is important to me–my relationship with God, family, friends, being a positive and loving presence in the world. Perhaps there will be fewer fires then!

  9. Time sets my priorities. I do not intentionally ration my time properly. That’s why I appreciate Lent so much – it serves to order my time and prioritize my relationship with God.

  10. To boil it down to it’s simplest form, to me, there are three: God, self, others. I put the order this way for without God, the other two can’t exist. We have to be mindful to take care of ourselves for without that, we can’t take care of others or ourselves as well. The last two are a balancing act and one that is constantly shifting according to presented conditions.

    • Thank you Richard. I echo your comments. God first…without this I am off on the other two areas. Yes, the trick for me is the balance between doing for myself and doing for others. When I go too far over to one side or the other it brings problems. Yes, constantly shifting – similar to automatic pilot on a plane…..it doesn’t keep the plane on a steady course…it constantly adjusts when the plane has moved off course. God bless!

  11. Too often, urgency determines my priorities: What do I need to get done first? What’s next on the list? This means that the really important things – extended times for prayer and reflection, time for and with family, visiting people who aren’t in crisis but need attention – often get neglected. There is very little “quality time.” Your series is helping me to look this straight in the eye and make changes in how I spend my time. Thank you!

  12. Meditation early in the morning is a regular practice. I recently discovered the dailyoffice.org and this has given me an opportunity to pray online in real time with others. This includes daily morning prayer on Mondays through Fridays and Evensong on Friday night. This has been a real blessing!

  13. God is first, family second, work third, rest and play probably come after that. I don’t have much problem keeping God first (even though I don’t always give that relationship enough time), but often work as taken precedence over family…and certainly over rest and play. All this is somewhat easier in retirement. When I was a diocesan bishop, I once made a list of my top ten priorities, posted them on my computer screen and that of my assistant’s. When requests for my time and attention came in, if they did not align with those priorities, our answer was “No!”

  14. My priorities are most often set by my calendar, the things that must get done, and the people I must help; I usually come last. Every once and a while I will put myself first, and it feels good. I love to walk in prayer, and cherish the time when I’m able to do this. I am slowly practicing taking time away from the busy day; maybe 2 minutes to stretch or 5 minutes to reflect. I’m hoping as I do this lenten study and one from my diocese, that the time I take to reflect the words and throughts from the studies will become habit, and that I will continue the habit.

  15. My priorities are so often by others. Such as work or other organizations which then places my family last. They sometimes get the leftovers. While I realize that I find it hard to move them up the list for my time. I think it may be that I take them for granted or assume they will understand. Priorities are always a challenge.

    • This is my situation as well but has proved to be unhealthy. I am hoping this series will help me to get a handle on this and help me to set the priorities instead of always reacting to what comes up.

  16. Initially, I try to determine what happens if I don’t do something.How important is a task I need to do? Is this a must do or like to do? Then I prioritize using an ABC method where A are the most important items, B the next and C the least priority.

  17. Priorities are set by the calendar, but also by urgency of needs as I am a pastor of congregational care. I also try to place people over things and make time for personal self-care, but it is difficult. I often feel like triage in an emergency room, constantly discerning what needs my present attention and what can wait. This week, this seemed stressful.

  18. I prioritize by putting important events that I want to participate in. I also have a grocery list on the fridge. I also have a “to do” list on the wall near the cork board. I like to prioritize going to church and spending time with family and friends.

  19. I set priorities by what I schedule to accomplish next. What is the next thing to do? That becomes the priority. By setting the schedule or by allowing / not allowing others to set my schedule.

  20. I do not set priorities in my life. I stress when I haven’t accomplished what I should have because I knew I should be never got around to it. I feel if I can’t set my priorities for other things in my I’m not setting priorities for God either. I attend church & think of God. Ask him briefly to help someone I know who needs him but don’t set the time apart to actually sit & pray & talk to him without doing anything else.

    • I try to let God direct my priorities, praying always, as best I can, for direction, guidance, and strength to do what is needed. Through the years I’ve found those priorities to be God, family, and others, and they are often one and the same. I am trying to bring healthy self care into my life. Often there is too much Martha in my life. Being present and in the moment are very important for me.

  21. I have a little mantra called PWISS that stands for Physical, Work, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Social. I try to be sure I do something relatively significant in each category each week. I find it easy to set priorities. The hard part is that I put too many things on the list.

  22. Good question, as I ponder this I wonder if I have been setting priorities to the best advantage to myself. i have always started the day with a “to do” with the first thing to be done that which i felt the most important and going thru the list Now with retirement I still find myself continuing this same practice. However, I do try to add more time for myself, not always successfully. It has become a habit that is so hard to break and yet I find myself on many days with a long list without finding my name on it. I know this needs to change wtih one exception, remain starting the day with prayer. Just need to stop more during the day…

  23. I set priorities based on the needs of my Family first. Then Church, and social activities. I have learned that if the calendar is getting to crazy and I am feeling overwhelmed its time to make me a priority, which always involves staying home with my Family and making sure I spend time at Church. I make a lot lists so that I can get things done in a timely manner and have time for the important things in life. Happy Lent!!!

  24. Within each phase of my habitual daily schedule, priorities are set differently…early morning the priority is reflection, prayer and planning for the day ahead..most of the morning and afternoon, priority is set by the needs of clients and other work needs, the evening meal time priority is family and the rest of the day usually work and play compete…

  25. Occasionally I’m faced with two “good things” at the same time. After some prayer time, often one of them disappears from my calendar. If not, first, I ask what is God’s priority? The other is probably just mine. I’ve been helped in setting personal priorities by developing a rule of life through SSJE. My other priorities are: my health (cured of breast cancer 9 years ago), my relationships with others (friends; no family), and sharing God’s kingdom through music, theater, writing, and photography. I also am a healing prayer minister and praying for others is always a top priority for me to serve God and others.

  26. I am often influenced by my high commitment to achievement and remind myself to be mindful (reminding leads to mindfulness!), so I will be driven more by the peace that comes from doing good work, relating with others including my family, and doing the things I like to do rather than being driven by a sense of achieving. It is a delicate balance. I call on my relationship with the Creator often in both deliberate ways through prayer and focus and many times unintentionally when the Creator springs in to help me take a breath and be present in my time.

  27. As I approach imminent retirement, I worry about how to set my priorities without the daily organizing element of my job. I am open to new experiences, so right now I’m going to be more regular in my Bible reading and be receptive to new opportunities God sends me for my personal ministry.

  28. I think that I have traditionally put family first (at least medical and financial crises), then work, then prayer. After all, God will understand if I don’t have the time for prayer, won’t he? As I move into retirement, I am trying to find time for prayer each and every day.

  29. I was in a position to take a sabattical from work and in that space, that time of letting go God called me in a way that I was unable to ‘not do anything about it’. Since then, I am much more at peace with time but remain far too driven at times …. formation is changing me though 🙂

  30. Just a thought . . . I guess I don’t share the feeling many have that time is an enemy. I feel it is the demands and expectations of our culture and the way we accept and buy into those demands. I have certainly been subject to those demands, and I don’t use the word lightly. It’s like making the world king and doing what the king says.

    • Good points. Time is not the problem when a disordered relationship with time arises. Time is both gift and tool, not a taskmaster or enemy. If we blame time instead of looking at how to change that relationship with time, we might actually be blocking ourselves from finding the solution we need. I am thankful our SSJE brothers are sharing this with us. Focusing on this now is, if you will pardon me, very timely.

  31. I find that if I start the day with physical exercise, followed by a meditation time, I can stay healthy in body and spirit. The rest of the day my mind has a tendency to take over and direct my other activities whether they are work, creative writing, cooking or cleaning. My goal is to stay firmly planted right where I am throughout the day. Much easier said than done for me!

  32. Now I try to ask the Lord what he wants me to do-not just for the next months or years, but each day, sometimes by hour. The less control I have, the more open I find I am to what is around me and to those places where I can make a difference. Yesterday was a perfect example of a day that got turned on its head, but was clearly a good day in that I could love my family in a time of need. Nothing was life or death-just simple frustration and discombobulation, but an extra set of hands was welcome. I see there are others here who are on the brink of retirement. About 19 months ago I did retire from one job, but sought another after a major move from an area where I had lived for 45 years. What I’ve found is that I want to spend my time in service and enrichment and continue to try to trust that what I have saved will be enough. It is an issue for all of us, but we feel it more as we age. So letting the Lord set priorities is grounding my own desire to trust in the Lord. That scripture about the lilies of the field is one I recall often. Blessings and thanks for this opportunity to listen and share.

  33. I’ve been “semi-retired” for almost 2 years and have had more choices about my time than at any other time in my life. It is a great blessing, but I sometimes have to remind myself of that, as it can make me feel anxious: am I wasting time, frittering it away? What have I accomplished, etc.

    I think I set my priorities according to what activities might have the most impact for good, for the kingdom, especially in the light of what I have some gifting for, and/or what “brings me to life”. I try to be conscious of who God is bringing in my life and to be present in the “present”.

  34. Even though I’m retired, I still feel that other people set many of my priorities. I want to reclaim more of my time to do things that are important to me.

  35. As a retired person, setting priorities is a task which responds to situations, rather than goal oriented. This is the lazy person’s way: retirement is not a retiring but a re-trying. I say this as something I’ve come to understand. Haven’t yet put it into action, though

  36. Being retrire my wife and I have very busy schedules with commitments to various events and organizations. Two weeks a month were are in Redding, CA and two weeks we are in Weaverville, Trinity County, CA. This requires us to pack up food and our personal items to travel back and forth. It requires a calender to keep track of our appointments. Sometimes, we have to split our time with one of doing one thing and the other doing something else. In the end, we fullfill our obligations.

  37. I’ve never been much on keeping a schedule. I should. I find that I set my priorities by what it is I am worried about at the moment. Whether it’s work, bills, family situations, time in prayer. I seem to be one track minded and what has my attention at the moment gets prioritize, normally how to fix or accomplish a task.

  38. Each day is a new day. The day starts in prayer and meditation. As the caretaker of my companion most of the day centers around when he first gets up. The day gets organized for his feeding and meds. This means I can not really prioritize until that. time. Plans for me must be fluid. With God’s help I get through each day

    • I can identify, as caregiver for my companion. His needs follow no schedule, so I like your word “fluid.” Makes me think of a series of tsunamis – our medical crises of the last five years. My structure is swept out to sea. I guess I’m learning to surf using wreckage. What’s torn from my hands by a wave, I may find again. If not, I’m freed up to see what isn’t lost: the beauty of the wave itself, the sun, the translucent green-blue, the awareness that we’re breathing, we’re together on earth at the same time, for now.

      • When I was helping my mom and dad through cancer treatments (same time, different results), I remember feeling as you just described. Now my life is back to “normal,” but I’m not “taking time” to just appreciate; your thoughts have made me do exactly that. Thank you.

  39. I don’t know how to set priorities in many situations and often wait for a deadline to make me do so. Or perhaps it is that I refuse to set priorities. Remember the school yard teaser— would you prioritize saving you mother or your father from the burning house? A “priority” feels like a choice in disguise. On what grounds do I prioritize A over B? I am a Nine on the Enneagram and this is a core character dilemma. Never thought to pray for help with this —until now. Thanks be. (Happy to be contacted by other Nines.)

      • The enneagram is a system for understanding one’s personality and human differences. It was used by the Jesuits for spiritual direction for many years and then started to mainstream. Recommend starting with Helen Palmer’s framing and approach. Also love Richard Rohr. Riso is too clinical for me.Felt more understood by the enneagram than many therapists. It is my main discernment resource. Also illuminated and transformed source of chronic marital strains.
        “http://www.enneagram.com/enneagram.html” a good place to start.

  40. Wow – Establishing a healthy relationship with time has eluded me throughout my life.. Looking back, I see I needed help as a young school boy, college student, a business executive, and now as an entrepreneur, I don’t plan my time, I procrastinate and avoid mundane tasks until they are infernos raging before me. When asked about missed deadlines and broken promises I seem to instinctively lie – too embarrassed and ashamed for honesty.

    Time for me is like a horrid octopus, grasping and tormenting me in its tentacles, It is my daily enemy. When I’ve tried to approach time more constructively, it seems to last only a few days and the cycle of shame starts all over again.

    Wow indeed …. I never expected to tap into such painful honesty in answering this simple question, but grief over the massive potential and opportunities I’ve missed in this one lifetime just reached up and grabbed me by the throat.

    • May you be strengthened for the battle with the octopus, and if it stops for a second what would happen if you asked it to speak to you? God be with you.

    • I applaud your honesty and your willingness to share without sparing yourself. When we can do that it is an encouraging step in the right direction. That kind of ruthless honesty is the door through which you can move into being more the person you want to be.

    • Thank you for your honesty. I believe your experience with time is a perfect example for us to reflect and understand why time is a precious gift from God.

  41. One of the first things that I do each morning is to look at my calendar. Depending on what’s set, I then go about filling in the blank space w/ what I think “must” get done that day. I feel that, too often, I begin w/ a focus on doing; what’s a priority is simply what hasn’t gotten accomplished already, perhaps a holdover from the previous day, and a striving to be productive. I’m glad for the reminder here to rethink “priority.”

  42. Unfortunately work is a major priority because it’s how my family survives & provides the means to play. Also having a chronic illness that causes major fatigue issues has made me prioritize rest & sleep to help heal my body & to make it possible for me to work. Outside of my work hours I try to prioritize time with my family. Having a very different work schedule as my husband & then a busy teenager, we have prioritized Wed night as Family Fun Night & Sundays as togetherness day.

  43. My priorities are changing as my three children have almost grown, and we are moving toward an ’empty nest’ in the next year or so. I find that I have more space and time to be looking for God’s presence, and it carries me to more time at my church – leading a bible study for the first time. I’m saying yes to things I wouldn’t have said yes to when our home life was more full.

    This morning – in my reading the bible in a year (The Bible Challenge), I was struck by Philippians 2:12-13 where Paul talks about working out our own salvation, that it is God who is at work in us – moving us toward His good will and pleasure. Working out my own salvation looks different now than it did 20 years ago. I pray that I set my priorities to seek out God’s plan for my own salvation now that my daily tasks are shifting.

  44. I am 52 years old and I am working on setting my priorities according to my new Christian life. How do I prioritize prayer time, bible study time, health time, wife and kids time, work focus time, church congregation time, regular life time chores: home, car, paying bills, etc. Finally do I quit work to go into ministry? I am praying to God to show me the way.

    • The answer will come. Until then, realize that the world has to have many people with many talents working together to meet all the needs, in effect, ministering to each other through the use of their physical, intellectual, and emotional talents. For example, I see the men who come each week to remove our household trash as ministering to us, even if they might not see it that way! Although viewed as rather a humble job by society, these men make my life easier, cleaner, and healthier by their faithful appearance each week. I respect the job they do, and I thank God for them. 🙂 The job itself matters less than our focus and whether we see our contribution, too, as ministry.

  45. I’ve been retired for 8 years after a busy career as an educator. Suddenly I had more time than I had ever had and it still takes time to prioritize how to use that time. Some days I have more to do than I can fit into a day and other times I sit in my home wondering what to do with my time. It does begin and end with prayer.

  46. As one who lives in a loving relationship, I often find that priorities need to be set together. This, of course, involves compromise and while I don’t necessarily enjoy every priority that we make together, I understand that it is important for us as a couple to carry on together. (I know that my spouse will often feel the same way when it’s my priorities that are established.) So long as these decisions and compromises are, at bottom, founded on a loving relationship, I am happy to live with them.

  47. I find myself prioritizing writing and reflection these days but I am going through a personal health crisis that has rendered me unable to work these last few weeks. I am hoping to reprioritize my time in a way that balances other needs in my life particularly being present to my family relationships as I find myself sometimes drifting.

    • I’ve got my body screaming at me to wake up, reassess, and work on how I set my priorities, too. It’s not easy, but in the end I think it is what one man yesterday referred to as “an unwelcome gift.” Here’s to coming out of our Lenten reflections healthier than we went in!

  48. I try to set my priorities prayerful. I start each day with Morning Prayer and then plan my daily activities. My family comes first and then my responsibilities as a vocational deacon and a member of a disbursed religious community. I try to also leave time for some rest and reading each afternoon because another important priority is taking care of myself.

  49. I find that my priorities are based almost exclusively on what current fire needs putting out and very little on conscious choice.

  50. I think I set priorities in my life, not by myself, but with my husband and family. My prayer has always been to be doing what it is that God would have me do. Part of that for me and for my husband – in this time in our lives – is to make sure we are available to my family and his family.
    We both have aging parents. Sometimes my time is prioritized by my job – working in the church year brings certain priorities in itself – high feast days – holy week – etc. Because they are a priority in my work, they become a priority for me personally.

    But I think it comes down to – at the age we are – to a desire to prioritize differently than we have in the past: to not let the river just float us along as if we couldn’t swim against it. Now it’s more planning for the future, and in that planning, making priorities of what is most important, then next, then next.

  51. I feel as though my priorities are often set for me…work, family responsibilities particularly. The schedule seems to dictate. When I have choices, I am finding I need to ask if I am doing too much, and decide what things actually NEED to be done, which ones can be done by someone else and which ones will actually be healthy..activities that “feed” me rather than “drain” me. I am learning to say no based on some of this. I am finding I have less energy than I used to, and if I get too tired, I am really not present for my family or my work, and at risk for making poor decisions about my health, such as eating and exercise habits.

  52. I think I’m pretty good at setting priorities, but they aren’t always in the order they appear to be. While my first priority is to my husband, and my second to work – both teaching and home – and third is to play, it sounds like I leave out God. What I find is that I start my day with a conversation with God, and it continues in the quiet spaces of the day until I sleep. And play most often involves a very active conversation with God. It has worked for me, but that doesn’t mean it is best and should not be re-examined.

  53. As a mother, I think my schedule is set around my children. They must be fed, off to school, picked up, taken to lessons and practice and scouts, fed again, put to bed. But within that daily frame, I try to model my priorities of God, family, self-care, and community-service – trying to teach my boys how to balance it all.

  54. My ministry as a priest to a parish community has been my first priority for many years. More recently I have become aware that caring for my son and husband has to be as much of a priority as the work I am called to. I have started to choose to be at home more than before. I also realize that I must take time for myself if I am to be of any good to anyone else. I need to laugh, play, take time for piano playing, which is a great passion of mine.
    I sometimes do things out of guilt. I am trying to ignore that voice and instead choose to do things out of love alone.

    • Thank you for your comment, Sandy. As a recently ordained priest, I find myself working incessantly; far more than in my 30 year first career. Those issues of perfectionism and people-pleasing have reared their ugly heads. I find myself prioritizing around those needs. It seems I had far more (made more) time for God before seminary and ordination. I’ve been calling myself out on this lack of discipline to the priorities I proclaim: God first, family next, and care for self as an extension of both. This Lenten season I am trying to stay focused on these priorities from the minute I open my eyes. One day at a time.

  55. I am retired but heavily involved in voluntarism. But starting with the Daily Office is my gift to myself and God. Usually the night before I order my priorities for the next day. Some evenings are for play and entertainment. I also try to do my exercise regime 3 times a week along with eating healthy. Exercise and nutrition help me accomplish my tasks. I strive for no interruptions and full concentration during each task- not always easy. Sundays after church are often more relaxed.

  56. First, let me confess that often I set priorities about time in all the obvious, frenzied, and ego-centric ways. On my good days I am more intentional to include time to take care of myself, family and friends.
    Lately, however, during my morning prayer time I have begun the practice of asking God what God wants of me today–how God is specifically calling me to be. This is less about physical time, and more about emotional and spiritual time. For example, in my prayer notebook today I wrote: pay attention to the present moment; and pray before taking action. Although I continually drift away from these intentions and live by the clock, periodically I return to them and for a moment and live by the spirit.

  57. I set my priorities by what needs (or what I imagine needs to be done) first and then what I want to do…..pretty self centered, huh?

  58. I unfortunately like many others, do not seem to have enough time to accomplish everything every day. Although I do have a mental list each morning ordered by what is most important that day; however, I often do not strictly follow my list in order and deal with what is in front of me at the time. I am looking forward to this Lenten study to learn how better to deal with this problem.

  59. Communicate with God, do volunteer work with my church, paint, see my family and or friends, have quiet times, good-off times – all of these and NOT always in this order. I am retired and one of my priorities when I retired was to not “have to.” I don’t always use my time wisely and am wasteful of it at times. I think this series will be a very good one for me.

  60. Priorities go hand in hand with time. They are also dependent on what needs to be done. The musts are easy, it’s the ones I can choose that are hard.

  61. At a macro level, my priorities are set by me. I choose to value my family, my church life and service to God, and my career. Being the sole provider for my family, at this point in my career I view it in terms of providing what I need/want to for my family while doing my best to balance time so I can physically be there for my kids (at their activites, meal times, bed time, etc.) Since my children are still quite young, I find myself devoting much more time. And I also take on much of the work/chores around the house. So the priority that comes in last is me. Often there is not enough time to do everything I need or want to for me (sleep, exercise, etc.).

  62. How do I set my priorities in my life? By stepping back – mentally or physically – and as I take a deep, slow breath in I feel the freshness of this particular breath (and thanking God for this one breath and this “being”) and as I breath out I desire to let go of the vastness of needs, expectations, desire and wants, the calendar, the project, the unfinished laundry, the loose ends. It is in the moment at the end of the breathing out, in the no-breath, in which the immediate, short term and long term priorities seem to settle into some sort of right order. Maybe it’s my version of a holy Sorting Hat experience? As I work through the day and I feel like I’m stumbling or feel a sense of rocky-ness, I can sense that breath calling me back to what matters most. (PS. I use to write a word or phrase from this morning prayer breath at the top of my daily work sheet as a simple reminder to return…think I’ll pick that practice up again)

  63. I am hyper responsible and work needs are often my priority. Loved ones’ needs are also a priority, but the joy of spending time with loved ones is too often overlooked. Play, prayer, stopping … these are what keep a person’s working parts well oiled, but my inside voice echoes “I don’t have time …”

  64. I am the mother of two young boys, so naturally, the care of my children are always on my priority list. But self-care and daily-first-thing-in-the-morning contact with God has to be at the top of the list, otherwise all else falls short. I don’t do it every day in a sit-down, meditate fashion. Sometimes that looks like lying in bed with the snooze alarm on asking God to calm my fears of the day ahead, taking deep breaths, and asking for guidance. I see priorities in terms of must do’s and want to do’s. One area where it is challenging for me is with checking that the lists are realistic in terms of TIME available to do DO what’s on the list, and that the must’s and want’s are appropriate for me. Also, the priorities are not always necessarily things to “DO”. They can be “BE’s”. Having a priority to BE in conscious contact with God throughout the day. Having a priority to BE present with my children when they get home from school, or during bed time prep, etc. For the first time in my life, this year I decided to develop a family mission statement. It’s really what does God want our mission to be (God’ will for our family, based on scripture, i.e., loving one another and caring for our minds, bodies, and souls). Then I made goals for the year that reflect that mission. Each month I am checking back on my list of goals to see that I’m attending to each one of them. With those goals in my mind, I can then prioritize the daily and weekly activities for the family and myself. It is comforting to know that I have an overarching “mission”, in that it provides an easy way for me to check myself if I’m doing or being in line with God’s will for me. Then something like the roof springs a leak or a kid gets hurt, and priorities can change. But just for the day/short-term. And knowing God is there to carry me, I try not to get too caught up and stressed about “the plan” not going the way I thought it would. God’s will, not mine! 🙂

  65. I make a list of priorities every day, but so often my priorities are dislodged by things that crop up during the day – in fact by Life. Such as clearing up messes perpetrated by the dogs, urgent phone calls from clients that require immediate action, or visits by neighbors. I have to remind myself that my priorities may not square with the priorities of God, or of life itself. I read somewhere that you have to recognize that the interruptions are the real point, that they may be what is truly important. Even the dogs require their share of attention!

  66. To continue: in other words my priorities may not be the real priorities. I need to scrutinize them, and ask myself What is really important?

  67. I have always struggled with setting priorities and often have let others set them for me. I have a basic idea of what they should be but am much too easily swayed from keeping them and/or feel guilty or obligated to always be available.

  68. Long ago I decided upon categorizing priorities into Faith (focus on the triune God), Family (focus on the needs of my husband, children, parents and in-laws and siblings), and Future (focus on professional and educational pursuits). Our culture makes this effort a challenge. Nevertheless, I have tried and continue to try to stick to it.

  69. My biggest problem with priorities is that I tend to put the needs of others before my own. While this might sound like a good or even a spiritual thing, the truth is that out of balance is out of balance. I wind up running off from what I really need to be doing in order to go meet some need, be it real or imagined, and by so doing I take up the time I would have had to focus on what I have been called to do. When I give and give in this way, I deplete my own resources, which helps no one. It is a wise old saying that you cannot draw water from a dry well. We all have needs, but I struggle with allowing that to be true for me, too. So what does God allow into my life to teach me? Health issues including pain that force me to slow down and be in a position of dependence on others. I currently am on the receiving end of that old mobile telephone commercial with God asking me, “Can you hear me now??”

  70. After years of stress, I created an electronic TO DO list (prioritized weekly) and family calendar (connecting to husband and 3 at-home kids’ calendars) so that things aren’t forgotten (well, most things!). That freed my mind to stop worrying about everything that needed to be done and work on what was a priority in terms of God, family, work and even play. Nowhere near perfect, but the stress levels are down for all of us. Prayer is throughout the day in snippets.

  71. I don’t make a list of priorities every day. I have routines in place that guide my day. Some of the routines are deliberately set, some just happen. I exercise daily, and that is a deliberate action, I go to work and that is a requirement. While at work I rarely take time for myself, just attend to the duties I have. Being mindful of the time I am in is a goal for this lent to continue through the year.

  72. Too often, my priorities are set based on which fire needs to be put out first! I feel anxious about all that needs my attention and then complain about it, which further feeds the anxiety. I know things fit in place much better when I make time with God a priority, so why does that fall by the wayside so often?

  73. I had a conflict when I was younger with a supervisor who kept piling work on me and demanding that everything be done now because all things in her eyes were a priority. It all came to a head one day when I finally told her that if everything is a priority then those things lose importance – she created a system where no one thing was more important than the other – therefore diminishing “priority.” (This of course was coming from my 24 year old grad student self.) But it helped her and my relationship to grow and by looking collaboratively at what needed to be completed first in order of importance, deadline, or even needs of a person or program. That is how I try to set priorities in my life – needs vs wants, importance, deadlines – which one needs to be completed first…. Not sure if it always works – but it is the personal system I have put in place.

  74. God and what God wants is to be my first priority. But the world and all its demands get in the way. I get caught up in responding to them in the time frames they demand. If my day begins with exercise and Morning Prayer, I am more at peace and the day is much better – I can more easily recognize the trivial for what it is, and fling it aside.

    Now that I am 65 and retired, I am struggling with the big picture – how should I be spending my time, now that I have less energy and my skills are less sharp, – now that I am an elder….

  75. I find that setting priorities, especially at work, is a challenge for me. This morning, I wrote down the four most important things that I need to get done today and I am going to organize my day around getting those things done. (one down so far!) Using time productively and being more efficient with my time is one of my Lenten projects, as I think it will help ease some of my anxieties and allow me to be more at peace.

  76. I grew up in boarding schools, where life was as ruled by bells and gatherings as the monastery is, but where solitude was a near-impossibility. I’ve always had a order of priorities rising from within me since leaving school and college–but no other setting works to support that order. Leaving home to arrive at work on time, rising to serve the children’s needs, I’ve hated the imposed requirements because they preempt my own order of work, play, worship, prayer and writing time. I’ve noticed I have great trouble choosing which to do first after Morning Prayer, which I do at an hour before anyone else wants time from me. And which to do next, and next–and when to clean. That, I see, is the most loudly demanding of all chores. Doing chores always seems to insult time–my time. Chores seem to be time’s punishment for not doing things in a ‘proper’ priority, that serves someone else’s expectations, never mine. Looking at this, I see that time has power–power to balance, and power of wonder. Since I am in time, and time is in me, I might look for release–or use–of balance and wonder in my life.

  77. Now a fully retired engineer -not enough time! Priorities include prayer/meditation, “Do Unto Others/”, Play-exercise-tennis-golf, Music; choir, compose Praise songs, Write memoirs, then have lunch

  78. My priorities are, too often, set by the course of less resistance. By this, I mean, I look at the needs before me and decide which is easiest, shortest, or requires less energy, and that automatically moves to the top of the list. This leaves the task that requires more time, physical or emotional energy to the end of the list. Too often this minimizes or delays some really important things in my life. With God’s help I can re-order my priorities to give proper place to those things that are God-driven…..what does He want me to do now?….how can I best exemplify His love through what I do and say? With His help I will let God set my priorities.

  79. I come from the Stephen Covey “7 Habits” school of thinking, which says “Put First Things First.” But what are those first things? For me they are the important, but not urgent activities I know I would regret or suffer for if I don’t do them. I call them my necessities–praying, exercising, cultivating relationships and writing. Everything else is deadline driven and gets done in its own time. If a task, because of its size or time requirements, takes over and consumes the time I’d spend on my necessities, I try to get it off my desk as soon as possible so I can go back to the necessities. I’m not good to anyone if I’m not doing the things that make me whole, spiritually, physically and emotionally.

  80. THIS IS KEY: “Then we want to talk about taking time to love, taking time to listen to others, time to be with others, time to live into the fullness of our relationships.”

  81. I have discovered in the past year or so how important it is to prioritize; to figure out what in life, I want to be necessary, and focus on those things. There are three things which I prioritize: my spiritual life and relationship with God, family, and music. These three things are my calling and I need to put other things aside, which, though interesting, don’t fit into what is important in my life. I guess I want to fulfill my baptismal vows in these ways, which all of us are called to in a variety of ways. Another thing to prioritize is my use of money. I need to use it to enhance those three most important things in my life.
    I want to use my money to fulfill Gods’ vision both for myself and the world, to spend it on my parents and children, and to use it to further my career as a musician.

  82. I try to think about those closest to me, their needs as well as my needs and prioritize based on timing as well as need basis. Children are always first but my health has recently become my first priority not only in my life but those closest to me. Me being my main priority and those around me has been difficult to accept but I have learned to let others do for me instead of me doing for others. My health first so that I can return to being one to takes care of others.

  83. As these weeks have gone by with me being Jeanie’s care taker I have noticed that I don’t have the time to just sit and ponder on what my day will be like. I try to take time to talk with our boys on how their day was and show an interest in their lives. My priorities are mainly on caring for Jeanie and making sure her health stays the same and doesn’t worsen. I have let my house chores go but I do get them in when I have the time. My needs are not as important as it was years ago.

  84. My first reaction to this question was that I don’t set my priorities, they’re just there. My life in retirement has become much simpler than it ever was before, intentionally, so everything in my life today is a priority. They get balanced with care and love.

  85. Being retired, and in the later years of my life, I set my priorities for using my time in ways that maximize my health, personal relationships, ministry, and my spiritual growth; but, not always in the above order.

  86. I have to admit that I run on panic mode most of the time. It is difficult for me to finish anything, so my life is full of clutter. I know in my heart that I would be much better off, not to say healthier, if I could get some order in my life. God created kronos, an ordered way to live, not chaos. I’m hoping that this series, and Lenten season, will teach me to STOP, look at what God has for me and do it whole-heartedly.

    • I am in the current de-clutter mode, more of things I have treated as necessary which really aren’t but physical clutter as well. A couple years ago my parents moved into our house with their household stuff, so things have been a bit more crammed than I like. Figuring out how to clear out emotionally, physically, and spiritually is a challenge. I don’t have the answers, but I am learning to ask better questions, even if they do not make me like the answers as to how I am sometimes my own obstacle.

  87. I like to wake up by praying and thanking God for the day to come and that I may be guided by Him and my heart open to receive Him. I pray before I go to sleep thanking God for the day I have had. Saying that, now I am fully retired I sometimes find it much more difficult to prioritise my time than when I was at work. My own fault because I have trouble saying no to requests for my time and I leap in with the “yes” rather than give myself time to consider my priorities. This I must address!! Thank you to all the other contributors, reading them has given me inspiration but I am most grateful that God and Jesus Christ are in my life, a big part, and that I am spiritually not alone (but I also have a very good earthly husband!).

  88. My whole life I used up my time trying to please everyone in everything and I let my spiritual life just be. Not that I did not pray, but I prayed when there was time after everything else was done or just in church. Today I find myself making time to live my spiritual life in a very special peaceful way. I pray and talk to Him at the beginning of the day, I even have a prayer space. I pray and listen to spiritual CD’s in the car, I try to have many times a day where I just turn to Him and thank Him for anything I am doing at that time. I love feeling His Peace and I wish I had done this many years ago raising my family. It seems that now that I am taking the time for Him, He gives me time to get everything else done also.

  89. It was my intention in retirement to sleep, play, love and learn – 6 years into it I have once again overbooked myself with work and too many responsibilities. It’s all good, but leaves me scrambling to find times for reflection, peace and prayer. Thank goodness for SSJE, it is my peaceful place, where I am learning to reorder my priorities and can spend unrushed time in prayer and learning with the Brothers. What I want most in my upcoming second retirement is more time for learning and prayer and lots of time for family and play.

  90. I try to set priories by relationships with: God (including my priesthood), family, country, and job (which is my position in the church). This is an ordering given to me nearly 40 years ago by the president of the venture capital company who funded the computer company I work among at the time.

  91. I try to devote most of my scheduled time to things that matter to me: work, school, church. Unfortunately, I get tired and can’t always do what I have scheduled. I feel like my priorities must be out of balance.

  92. I am very blessed to be in excellent health at age 67. Over the last year, however, my priorities in life seem to be driven by my daughter-in-law’s chronic illness. So, it seems my priorities are driven by what I can do to help that situation. My help is much needed, yet it has kept me from doing some of the things I want and need to do. It has caused me to “re-prioritize” my finances as well. I realize these stressors in my life may have some negative impacts on my own well-being. I’m not sure how best to prioritize things.

  93. First thing is Morning Prayer. After that, I prioritize based on what needs to get done now. Then, long term goals (events.) Reading is next – assigned, then pleasure.

  94. I am recently retired, so paid work has stopped driving my priorities. They are now (in this order) family, singing (I belong to 4 groups), helping others. I don’t have a set aside time to pray each day; rather I feel like I have an ongoing conversation with God about how I can recognize and do what is set before me.

  95. I don’t set my priorities in any rational way. There seems to be a battle between the things I absolutely have to do and the things I would rather do than the things I absolutely have to get done. Things that are easy for me to face are always more attractive than things that I should do but that are difficult to face. This morning I made a list of things I needed to do today and decided to try not to do anything that wasn’t on the list. Going to this site was the first thing on my list and, with the day half over, I finally got here. A call for help babysitting for a great niece came out of nowhere and off I went. I want to help, and it’s easy to face.

    Maybe starting my day with this meditative time will give me tools to prioritize and to stay on course.

  96. I spend more time worrying about not doing thus successfully fulfilling the unconscious goal of not accomplishing. Maybe proioritizing time would help, but to be honest it doesn’t feel related

  97. I’m not very good at setting priorities–these days, work is one (in terms of preparing for classes I teach) and fitting in exercise at least 4x a week is another. A third is carving out some space for fun (time with friends, time with my lover). There’s also keeping in touch with my daughter and grandsons (facetime or phone). I’m blessed to be teaching on a college campus, so there are many things that come up–speakers etc. Also I try to find some time to volunteer at our Women’s Homeless Initiative at my church (7 churches each house 20 homeless women one night a week and provide dinner and breakfast) and also some of the marches and other activities around BlackLivesMatter.

  98. I usually list things in order of what needs doing first. Many days the rest get transfered to the new list for the following morning!! For the past year I have started with prayer (and coffee!), and that does seem to ground me and give me focus. I guess I just keep hoping that someday I will have finished all the “to do” and can concentrate on the “want to”…sigh…

  99. I keep them in my Agenda. God first, then my family, next my volunteer activities, and finally fun. Even though fun is fourth, I work in something every day. Sometimes it’s just watching my birds at the feeder. Today, its Renée Fleming. It isn’t every day that one gets invited to meet her! I am blesséd.

  100. My priorities are ever shifting because of my teen age and young adult children. Having just come through the break up of our family, I feel the need to assure them of my continuing presence and support. The technology of the cell phone is great, but I am too beholden to its cry, and we have become too accustomed to its immediacy. My goal this Lent is to center myself in time so that I can be of good service to the world around me. This will involve a re-ordering of how I spend my time.

  101. I’ve been sick the past week, so I’ve been in crisis mode. Just doing the bare minimum to get by. Normally, however, my first priority winds up being work because I’m afraid of the consequences of not getting through my heavy workload. I’d like to change this but don’t know how. After that, other obligations take priority, such as volunteer commitments and chores. I’d like to make more time for “stop,” “pray,” and “love.”

  102. In scanning posts on my way to write this one, I notice how many folks speak of letting perceived emergencies overrule the priorities they have set. Lovely to know I am not alone!
    I know in my head that I will manage my time more efficiently and effectively if I will stop before each thing I start to do and make sure it is the best thing to be doing right now. Too often the thing I am doing or have just done, is not what should have been the next thing that really needed doing. How do I keep the immediate from trumping the more important?
    I am so grateful for this series coming at this point in time!!

  103. I have prayed throughout my life that I may be thankful and useful until my life ends.

    “Useful” has changed over the years. When I was young I set out to be a change agent by challenging much of the status quo at school. at work, in society. Those priorities demanded constant activity, being “on the go”
    most of the time. I did get a lot done and was part of change for the better.

    Now I am very old. My energy is diminished while the need for improvement in the way we run society remains. My top priority now is to support other change agents by prayer, money gifts, encouragement and listening.

    The goal of furthering the Reign of God is the same. My way of engagement is quieter.

  104. I try to set priorities in the time of reflection and prayer I take each morning – getting a sense of what I’m meant to do that day. But too often things intervene (something I see that needs cleaning, or a request that has come for me to do something via email), and I get deflected from what I thought to do in the morning. Also my “list” is more often than not longer than I could possibly do in a day….and so I carry things forward, sometimes for days – usually eventually getting them done.

  105. Before my retirement 7 years ago my priorities included spending more time with family, volunteering at church, Bible Study, travel, needlework, etc but a grandchild with a chronic illness turned out to be my main priority and I’m ever so thankful that I’m in a position to help!

  106. All too often my day is determined my the urgent but not the best choices of how to spend my time. I find it very difficult to say, “No,” to urgent matters when what I need to do is let someone else respond to it. My challenge is to feel strong enough to make the best decision, not the most pressing decision.

  107. Thank you all for your thoughts. Nice to see none of us are alone. Time – I try so hard to put God, Family,first. Work just gets ya. I know I need to ask God for more help in this important area.

  108. Time – never enough, yet I often waste what I have been given. I need to re-order my time and I need help prioritizing and implementing. I fight against time. Deadlines and dates set my priorities. I’m not a “planner” and I just go with the flow which does not make for getting the most out of my time. I don’t like schedules but I’m finding out not setting schedules hurts my work, my workout time, my down time. I hope these 5 weeks will give me some guidance and I can see and feel and use time as the precious gift that it is.

  109. My priorities are set by what is the thing that will bring the most good. If its daily chores, what will have the most impact? If its a work thing, what will get us closer to our goal? If its with people, its what will bring the most love? Family almost always wins.

  110. I have recently changed how I prioritize what I spend my time on. Instead of just reacting to what needs attention, I am thoughtfully shaping my time to accommodate my priorities. My spouse and I have opposing schedules, and I have worked with my boss to design a flex-place and flex-time schedule which allows for the two of us to have a mid-week “weekend” day together. I have also made sure I take the time to add social interaction beyond home and work and prioritize play by not skipping game nights (which recharge me).

  111. Interestingly, I am not retired. I have always carried enormous guilt about my priorities, which reflect a strong necessity for open time and “taking” time for myself (which sometimes leaves me feeling like I am “stealing” time – time I should give to others.) I lead what often feels like a frenetic life – full time job with management responsibilities, three young children, a long commute, weekly attendance at church and volunteer activities. I schedule open time. I wake up very early so that I can meditate for 15 minutes every day (ideally, it doesn’t always work that way) before making my kids’ lunches, breakfast, waking them up, waking my husband up, getting myself ready for work and walking to the train. My commute is my time – to read, to write. I will myself not to check my iPhone. I go to bed early so I get a good night sleep as often as I can. But despite achieving what I feel is a good balance for me, it comes at a price. I feel selfish when I take time for myself. I feel lazy if I just want to sit and do nothing when there is so much to do. I am not driven to be a super hero – I work hard when I am in the office and I leave when it is time to catch my train so that I can make dinner for my family. So that we can pause and be together and eat calmly and thoughtfully. I know what’s important to me and I know what to sacrifice in order to spend time according to my priorities. The kids can do 20 minutes less homework so they can connect with their family and I will fight to the death to defend that.

  112. Lent helps me to focus all my priorities around the journey to Easter. It re-shapes all “tasks” into gifts or opportunities to give and share. Being recently retired, I have the luxury of having time to stop and reflect, and to structure my days around the needs and schedules of family and friends. There are still 24 hours in a day, when last I checked, and so there is still lots of time for practicing music and reading too.

  113. Where Love naturally flows…..toward music, toward family, toward prayer, toward cooking. Love pours through us, we are just a conduit

  114. up until 2 years ago I spent my time in a very undisciplined fashion. I have learned to become more disciplined especially with how i make the most of my time each day. Most mornings, not every morning, but most I get up early and meditate and pray then I go to work and then come home. Each morning I make a list of 1-3 things that I wanted to accomplish that night. This helps me to stay on track but if I don’t accomplish everything in that day I do my best to do it the next day.

  115. My ministry for the last several years has been taking care of 2 dear elderly people in my life — and I’m elderly myself. So, how do I prioritize when I know that as a caregiver I must take care of myself. Perhaps I can learn a few tips over the next 5 weeks because when I do something to preserve my sanity, I’m too stressed to fully participate. Thank goodness for my church where we are prayed for everyday!

  116. My priorites at the moment are dictated by my treatment for cancer, the energy I have, what appointments I have, getting food, household chores and aiming to read through the Bible.

  117. I grew up without a mom, she died of cancer when I was only 4years old. I have said all my life that when I had children that they would be my first priority and they would get to understand feel that love longer than I got with my mom. My daughter is now nearly 17 and she is my life, priorities sometimes have to be rearranged and time doesn’t always give us the luxury. It’s very hard to balance the demands of daily priorities and those of family and also to find time each day for God. I hope to learn to do this better in this process.

  118. Well this is still in process….I have three major categories in my life…God, family and work.
    When I am selecting activities or tasks that need to be addressed, I want them to fit into or be related to one of the major categories.

    The challenge is being selective of the activities and understanding how they fit into the categories. Sometimes the question is how the activity or task will enhance my relationship of the category (God, family and/or work). Another question: are some activities more effective(?) or essential in enhancing the relationship. The challenge is being selective in prioritizing the activities.

  119. It seems that far too often my priorities are whatever is the most pressing need at that moment. The exception, sadly, is when something is stressful. Then all too often I avoid something until it becomes critical and must be dealt with. As it is, I am already noticing with these videos how hard it is to sit for a few minutes to focus on the contents without allowing myself to be distracted into doing something at the same time. I am forcing myself to take the time to conscientiously focus on the videos and my responses, and it is so difficult.

  120. So how do I set priorities? To be honest, I often don’t, which leads to many headaches and much time spent on things that are”urgent” but not really important to me. It’s tough, and something I recognize that I need more work on.

  121. ….Steven Coblys’ book on effective people has four time things and for the last thirteen years I haven chosen to deal with his 4th habit…everything, embarrassingly often urgent but now left to the ‘back’ like NOW and your video
    1. urgent/important
    2 .urgent/not important
    3. not important and not urgent
    4. not urgent but important for ones vision (most often the one overlooked)

  122. I am the stay-at-home of two small children, and my husband works a “regular” desk job. We try to set priorities in part by saying no. I say no to invitiations to events that happen in the evenings on weekdays and my husband works very hard to walk away from work at 5:00 so that we can have dinner together as a family. We say no to the many classes and sports for kids on Saturday and Sunday mornings so that we can have Saturday morning for family adventures and visiting with friends and Sunday mornings for church.

    I struggle with how to set priorities for what little time is strictly mine. I have started praying compline at the end of the day, which has been wonderful. I feel like I could be “doing” more at the end of the day though, but I’m tired and also feel like that call to do more is more about society’s ideas about productivity than a call from God. I also try to be aware that this is a particularly intense period in my children’s lives, and within a few years they will both be in school freeing up more time for me to engage in the world.

  123. Priorities for me sometimes seem to be dictated to me rather than set by me. But sometimes I just seem to disregard them and fritter away precious time that could be used quite differently. I hope during lent to make better use of my time as it pertains to my relationship with God. I suppose the thing I’m giving up is the things that waste my time like excessive tv watching and games on my phone.

    • Now that I am retired, I find that I am struggling with priorities. I feel like I waste a great deal of time on unimportant things rather than doing the things I always thought I would do because structuring the day is totally up to me. And I sometimes feel like I lack the discipline to create the needed structure. At other times, I feel like I’m being too hard on myself because I am still in the “adjustment period.”

      • I often feel the same way, but I have retired for 7 years now. I seem to lack the discipline to find a passion and stick with it

  124. Thanks to the brothers, my priorities have changed. I now spend my o-dark-thirty hours online reading the Morning prayers, and then spending time basking in my love for God and his for me. My next priority is maintaining a good 12-step program – helping others and doing service work. Work consumes a large part of my day, but as I near retirement, I plan to do more volunteering at church. I do an inventory of my day at night, looking for where I was loving and where I can improve. My husband and I are remodeling and that is my last priority – taking care of the house and being with him.

  125. I find that tasks and obligations get a priority in my life. If I view a task as important it gets a higher priority that items that are not as important in my opinion. If there is a deadline for a task that deadline drives my attention. But now that I think about that it seems that those things are important, but really should not be my first priority. It would seem that my day and my life would be better ordered if I made a daily prayer time a priority.

  126. Priorities revolve around my health, caring for my animals daily chores around the house. Also visiting a dear elderly friend as often as possible. I find I pray at short times during the day. I can not focus for very long when I am sitting still, my mind runs over many subjects. However, when I am concentrating on physical work projects I stay focused until I am done. There are many distractions.

  127. Priority setting is something I constantly need to attend better. Too often, I let daily tasks become a priority, rather than larger goals and vision. Some things that help – I too rarely engage the process of establishing priorities, living minute by minute, rather than guided by a goal 1) a partner to share, receive feedback, have accountability;, 2) annual retreat for re-clarifying; 3) daily and weekly check in moments (which too often I neglect, when tasks starting eating away at my time). I appreciate this question, because it’s a good time in my life to remind myself that a) I do have some priorities, b) those priorities really can guide the way I engage time and c) the day-to-day tasks may not be nearly as urgent or as important as I let them become….

  128. Priorities for me are frequently dictated by trying to achieve a sense of balance. When one thing in my life has been neglected… it will begin to become a higher priority. But I try to make sure I am doing what I can to be a good spouse, mother, daughter, sister, friend, colleague.

  129. My priorities shift day to day. All mornings start the same. My good morning and thank you to God on my way to the sheep. Farm chores, clean the kitchen and out the door to work (cardiac nurse), always another chat with God on the commute (have you noticed how people drive, lately?) My priorities dance with patients’ needs, but my chats continue throughout my day. Priorities? Family and God and then everything else.

  130. Unfortunately, I often let deadlines set my priorities—part of the challenge I have with managing time as a whole. I have every listmaking app there is and usually use them for a bit before finding myself facing the same challenge. But I keep moving in the right direction. I don’t always get there but I do feel I know what I WANT my priorities to be—now it’s a matter of letting them be that. And not letting the internet and other distractions pull me away from them. I think staying aware of what I want my priorities to be is crucial and I am consciously working to understand what those are for me.

  131. I prioritize by caring for the needs and love of my husband first then my family and friends. Looking after myself comes through my prayers and chats with God and friends.

  132. When I sat down to think about today’s question, for a moment I couldn’t even remember what a priority was! I, too, like many of you, feel that I don’t have priorities but only put out fires. At the root of this problem for me is years of being over generous to others with my time and work. In other words, a lack of self-love and self-care. Also, I had not made time to reflect why my life seemed to lack direction and why I never made the things I loved (and that are good for me) my priority.

    This series is a blessing!

  133. I’ve put everyone else’s priorities before mine. I need to start to set them around my well being and spiritual growth. Work, family, Church, not that I don’t love them all, they can drain me and I have to make me the priority now. Very hard to do. I become resentful. Bad ! Prioritize the right way even if it means change.

  134. I set priorities by assigning a 1, 2, or 3 to timeliness & importance. 3 is weighted highest & 1 lowest priority. Then I multiply the two numbers so 9 becomes most important to do first, 6 is next, 4 is next, 2 is next & 1 is lowest priority. It helps because I tend to do things I like first rather than things that are important or have a time constraint.

  135. Again I must say not only are these video meditations a blessing (right after Morning Prayer) but getting to read the responses left is as well.

    Basic ordering of tasks is something I do pretty well. Yet being the classic Jungian caregiver archetype (something I enjoy) I often fall into the trap of putting off “me” time. I make time for the relatively short (an hour or so) times of prayer.
    However an afternoon of visiting friends or a long weekend for a retreat or getting away would require real effort.

  136. How do I set priorities in my life? If I’m not intentional about it, the things that get priority are the the things that are yelling the loudest at any given moment! Beginning my day in prayer–quiet, still, centered, and with a heart open to the Holy–helps to free me from the Tyranny of Busy, and better keep my true priorities in perspective (hint: they have more to do with relationships, than laundry lists).

  137. I spent yesterday thinking about “priorities” and what they mean to me in my personal life. Like so many people on this forum, I am a busy person. I get done what needs to get done, but some things are left behind. Those are the things I begin to feel guilty about. I think, “I should have not wasted time doing…..” So setting priorities is a wonderful contemplation right now. I actually “got it” at the gym last night. A young girl was texting with her left hand and using a weight with her right. It occurred to me that she was simply not in any moment fully. She was not giving her best to the person she was texting and her workout had to be unsatisfactory. Ah ha! That’s what a priority is…setting a goal and being fully present throughout it. That’s my new way to set priorities!

  138. This topic couldn’t be more relevant to me at this time in life. I am a self-employed professional who’s work never seems to end. I stay at work late every day, work part of every weekend, and wake up at night worrying about work. I am also a husband and father. I read somewhere in this series the need to say “that’s enough work for now”. With God’s help, that is what I am going to learn to do this Lent.

  139. I try to prioritize my time to the most important, beginning with quiet time with God and spiritual readings in the mornings. Although I have made some real progress in discerning what are the most important priorities, life has a way of disrupting my best laid plans, especially with the unexpected priorities caused by our current winter storms and the needs of others who are important in my life. The reminder to STOP is a good one for me…to stop and ask God for guidance in the doing the next right thing when my plans get turned upside down and new unplanned demands intrude. This is definitely an area of progress, not perfection, for me. I am still too much driven by the whims, demands and genuine needs of others in setting (and readjusting!) my priorities. I am trying to remember that I, too, have needs of my own and a responsibility to address those. The topics for this Lenten practice are so pertinent to my life and challenges. I am so grateful for this wonderful gift from SSJE.

  140. My priorities are often (usually?) driven by deadlines/time constraints–in other words, the priorities are externally imposed, rather than internally generated. I’d like to believe that the things I do (whether paid or volunteer) all have some intrinsic meaning for me, but sometimes those meanings get lost in the scuffle for time. I’m attempting to use this Lenten season to re-prioritize myself and keep myself more centered. It’s comforting to find so many kindred spirits here, and to know that we’re never alone in our struggles.

  141. Like many others, I start the day with prayer and meditation, but then my priorities slip away and I waste time between TV and the computer. If I do not have a meeting on a given evening, the day really gets away from me — retirement and disability do not help with good use of time and setting priorities. This is my second year with SSJE during Lent and daily throughout the rest of the year and this helps a lot!

  142. My priorities are invariably set through what I have to achieve at work. Other things which, when I take time to assess them are more important – Love, Time for family and friends, are secondary. I reflect that my time is completely skewed the wrong way and wonder if I re-assess and re-orientate my priorities whether my Time for work will be more productive

  143. These days priorities just seem to be getting ready to do the job. As a teacher I am not able to walk into a classroom without anything prepared. Then there is the marking…
    Priorities have always been do what needs to be done then have fun. My daughter lives opposite to this, and seems to be a happier person.

  144. I find myself pulled in so many directions with the priorities of my life that “setting my priorities” can be a challenge because I find most often they are being set for me by whatever the new day presents to me. But given the choice, family comes first above all else. God is always a constant priority in my life and without that nothing else makes any sense.

  145. I am finding time as my enemy. I never have enough to get everything done & I get resentful that there is not enough time for me for my health or spiritual needs.

  146. Priorities – For many years I struggled to make daily time w/God a priority because of job & family (children), but for some years now I have been making time at least several days a week for extended times of being w/God. It’s like I’m desperate for His Presence (like the song “Breathe”), and I find that if I don’t make the time I become frazzled, fearful & stressed, & anxiety threatens to take over. I’m blessed that the stage of life I’m in right now affords me quite a bit of “free” time, but there’s still a lot going on. I work 2 days a week, babysit our grandson (such a joy!) several days a week (the schedule varies) and am involved w/ministries & activities that demand varying amounts of time. W/o those centering times w/the Lord all this becomes a cloud hanging over me that follows me around and sucks out my joy. So I “Stop” more consistently than I used to because I have to do so to function!

  147. Some items are non-negotiable every day: exercise, healthy food, family. I use “wunderlist” to keep track of my to-do’s. I try not to get frustrated when I don’t get enough ‘accomplished’ every day. I try to put “people” first.

  148. As someone working in ministry, I fall into a trap of ordering my life around my work – because it’s God’s work. But the other things necessary to do God’s work in a health way, pray, study, rest, time with friends, falls by the wayside with this poor rationale for prioritizing work first. It’s something I’m pray about and talking about a lot lately.

  149. The question assumes I DO set priorities — oh, how I wish that could be the case. Exigencies set my priorities for me. It seems the real question is, even though I may not have the freedom to set priorities for myself, I can in fact determine how I experience those duties I have no choice but to do. Can I find God’s smile in every necessary duty?

  150. I have since retirement discovered that priorities are defining themselves; more and more relationships have become the priority. Secondary to that, a desire to protect and cherish this beautiful creation has begun to inform my choices.

  151. I try to give myself quiet periods of reflection during the day. Then I ask myself what is really important and I make mental notes and try to do this and it usually ends up that I can only do one task daily that needs top priority and not several things as was my habit in the past.

  152. Priorities always seem to be setting ME, rather than the other way around … and I know this is out of whack. Whatever is due most immediately is the thing that gets my attention first, whether or not that’s what’s most IMPORTANT in the long run. And that’s a problem. I realize I need to prioritize that which has the most lasting positive impact.

    I think of this Stephen R. Covey quote from “Everyday Greatness: Inspiration for a Meaningful Life” that I’ve had posted on my bedroom mirror for years:

    “It is not until you have a burning yes inside of you about what is truly important that you can pleasantly, smilingly, cheerfully, say no to all of that which is urgent, but not truly important. Our deepest guilt comes from doing the opposite, implicitly saying no to the truly important and yes, yes, yes to the urgent that is not important. The more we are free from non-necessities, the more we are free to do the more meaningful actions of our lives.”

  153. This poem is called “Mindfull” – speaks to me:

    Every day I see or hear something that more or less

    kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle

    in the haystack of light. It was what I was born for – to look, to listen,

    to lose myself inside this soft world – to instruct myself over and over

    in joy, and acclamation. Nor am I talking about the exceptional,

    the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant – but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab,

    the daily presentations. Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help

    but grow wise with such teachings as these – the untrimmable light

    of the world, the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?

    ~ Mary Oliver ~

  154. I have used a variety of tools to help me figure out and set priorities. Lately, my priorities have shifted through a recovery process and that has become my first priority. Taking care of myself and my needs has started to play a bigger part in my life. When my priorities conflict, I now have new tools to help me sort out the most important. The start of my day is my biggest priority: prayer, reading, journaling and meditation.

  155. I keep making lists and asterisking the highest priorities, mostly those with the nearest deadlines, or the ones that would hurt relationships if I put them off. Then I lose or ignore those lists. Not completely, of course. It’s a problem area.

  156. I’ve always been a procrastinator. So I don’t always set priorities in a disciplined way. I honor my commitments and those are based on who and what needs what I am meant to give, i.e., my unique self. Also consider what’s needed to keep myself ticking–meditation/prayer/quiet, food, sleep, exercise, fresh air, people time. When I’m in a quandary about what’s next, I trust God and do the next right thing as it occurs to me. Somehow, it works. Life is full, there’s always more waiting in the wings, but nothing is indispensable. I think God’s will for me is a mystery until after the fact as I look back and discover what it was. I pray for discernment but I don’t struggle with it.

  157. It seems tha many of us are retired and have made oir spiritual life a priority. I do have more time for prayer and meditation but I do not always use this gift of time for that priority. I do squander my time that God has given me. We are full time travelers since August 2014. On the road going around the country. We have made church a priority wherever we are but have not found a ministry. This is my priority…to find a ministry that we can do while traveling.

  158. God comes first. Bible readings and contemplation is the first on the list after I wake up, usually around 4:00-4:30 am. The only other priorities on the list might be an occasional appointment. Being retired, there is little to no need to prioritize.

  159. When I have to be in a certain place at a given time or have an activity completed, that is: when other people are relying on me, setting priorities is an easy process. Complexity creeps in when one is needed in two places at once and one has to discern which is the most important. Criteria are needed to distinguish between what is immediate and what is truly urgent.

    One of the ways my disordered relationship with time manifests itself is in a feeling that, whatever I am doing, I “ought” to be doing something else! It plays havoc with my focus and concentration!

  160. I feel like I’ve never been busier. It’s the 23rd already, and I’m just starting this lenten process. Clearly, I’m looking forward to taking time to reflect, relax, and re-evaluate.

  161. In my earlier years (those when children were young), my priorities were whatever screamed or yelled the loudest (that being children, spouse, job, Church, friends, etc). Now that I am older, most of my priorities are centered around spouse, job and friends. Notice that I didn’t include Church – I am feeling a sense of priority to find a new Church home after our recent move – but I just haven’t done it yet. I am feeling very disconnected.

  162. I regularly sit down with my journal and think/write about my priorities. But no matter how much I want/plan to give attention/time to my spiritual life, my husband, my family… I find that I’m giving more attention to my work and (ironically enough) church work. In fact, over the past few years, I think that the amount of time I devote to my parish and its various ministries and events is out of balance with my other priorities. I’m not sure how to correct for this. But I’m open to the Spirit’s leading. Also I find that I am spending more time on “internal audiences” (family, parish family, etc.) than on “external audiences” (the community, world, etc.) I feel out of balance. Pray for me.

  163. My number one priority is to fill time with positive things to do. I have severe pain from two torn rotator cuffs and no pain control. If I’m not busy, I notice the pain, feel sorry for myself, and get depressed.

    If I find positive things to do like volunteering, going to a lecture, a library, a church, or to do something nice for someone else, the pain minimizes and I can happily get through life.

    The hardest part though, is loneliness. I live alone and have no family nearby. As a disabled person I don’t have many close friends either.

    Therefore, making use of time is the best medicine. It cures that pain of being alone, too.

  164. I seem to have too many priorities! I want to learn how to do so in a manageable way and to say NO to some things. I get confused as to what to do first. Well, prayer and meditation in the morning and doing the next right thing…..right now it is very disorderly. HELP!!! I pray to do the will of God.

  165. Being a mom, it goes like this:
    1. God: Pray and be thankful
    2. Myself: If I don’t have all together, I will not be able to function.
    3. My husband and kids: Take care of them (food, shelter..etc)
    4. Everything else

  166. Sorry I just have been led to this study/reflection now and already it has set priorities in motion for me. I am long retired, widowed after 54 years of marriage and have kept “my priorities” straight by ensuring I note in my calendar just what I have to do the next day, the next week, the next month – but I now realize I have not set time for real reflection – any reflection I’ve done has been a reaction to something in my life – but I have not actively reflected with a purpose as to what my life needs.

  167. It has had to become a priority to spend time in the Morning doing Routines and Rituals in order to shield myself from “information overload”. With so much knowledge at my fingertips with Internet/podcasts/you tube and other social media…it is hard not to be an info maniac.

    The week between Christmas and New Year I created a morning routine that includes prayer, meditation, reading something uplifting for 15 minutes, going to a recovery meeting, and exercise/eating a healthy breakfast and preparing a healthy lunch.

    This routine is crucial to centering myself and helping me to recharge my own battery so that when I am at work, it is pleasurable and joyful to serve others All day. If I don’t love and take care of my own body/mind/spirit I can’t freely give what I don’t have.

    I’m making it a Focus during Lent to not get caught in FOMO or Information Overload by being very selective of what I do on the computer and When (how much time I spend).
    FOMO is also “Fear of Not Being Relevant” especially during a Presidential Election Year.

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