Balance; learning to prioritize

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Ron Bodine
  • 394th Combat Training Squadron Commander
Balance: a fairly basic word that we're all familiar with, but how many appropriately apply it to their life? I'd like to offer a couple methods toward achieving and maintaining balance in your work and at home. The first is to determine what is important and what is urgent.

We are all faced with choices on a daily basis: Do I stay at work to get a task done or save it until tomorrow and press home? Should I volunteer for an additional duty or continue with my current work load? How we respond affects our quality of life at work and at home.

Getting a task done early may look good, but also may cause you to miss an important event with your family or friends. An additional duty may take more time away from home, but may also lead to an early promotion and a better financial situation. How do you decide?

I offer something I learned a few years back regarding the difference between what's "important" and what is "urgent". Many issues at home and work may seem urgent - 'I have to do this now, I just can't miss this'.
In order to make the right decision, decide if it's important with these qualifiers: 1. It's significant to someone who's important to you. 2. Your personal presence makes a difference and 3. The opportunity is not going to present itself again.

If those three conditions are satisfied, the event is important and you should think twice before missing it. When the theory is applied to events pulling you to work or home, one will stand out.

The second method is channeling your focus. Many of us have busy jobs that demand our attention, so much so that when we get home we continue to 'work'. We may talk with our spouse or children, but we're not really there. You may have decided that being home was 'important', but you're not seizing the moment. Whether you are at home or at work, focus on the event at hand and you will be more efficient with your time. When you are at home turn off the television, truly listen to your children, get outside and throw a ball around. When you are at work establish your priorities, focus on the task at hand, and reduce your distractions. We've all had days at home and on the job where we've looked back and asked "what did I really do today?" Sharpen your focus skills and you'll look back with satisfaction.

Current constraints on budgets and personnel will inevitably lead to more demands of your time. Ensuring you have the appropriate balance in your life is, and will be, more important now than ever.