Earlier this week, we kicked off our “Creating Balance” series with the most important component to creating balance in your life: helping yourself. Today, we’re focused on the next most important piece of the life balance puzzle: prioritizing your people.
A well-designed life isn’t complete without relationships; without the people who contribute to your life and your well-being in a positive way; without a deep connection to those who matter most.
People matter. The relationships in our lives are the most important things in our lives. This includes our immediate family, our extended family, and the people who we consider to be part of our family – whether there is a blood relationship or not.
Yet, as with anything, when things fall out of balance, our relationships tend to suffer pretty quickly—we lose touch with a close friend, we get into an argument with our partner, we put off quality time with our children until “tomorrow.” But it doesn’t have to be that way!
So, how do you keep that from happening? How do you focus your attention on the people who are most important in your life?
Here are just a few of our favorite ways to prioritize your people:
Make a List
Who are the most important people in your life? Are you investing in these relationships? They need to be nurtured, and we have to prioritize them.
When life gets busy, it becomes all too easy to focus our time, attention, and energy on those people (and activities) that are our lowest—but perhaps seem to be the most pressing—priority.
Sit down and make a list of the people in your life to whom you want to dedicate your attention—perhaps it’s your partner, your children, and your extended family? Maybe you want to focus more on your best friend or an acquaintance at church? Try to keep your list short—you only have so much attention and energy to give!—and keep in mind that you can change it at any time. Just be intentional about who needs and deserves to be your priority right now—and make them one!
Put It on the Calendar
It’s easy to say that someone is your priority. It’s easier still to believe that a focused, committed relationship to that person will just naturally follow. Maybe it will; more often, it doesn’t. Again, life tends to get in the way in ways we fail to anticipate—you end up staying late at work, you’re too tired to connect with your partner before bed, you always think you’ll place that call to your best friend “later—when you have more time!”
As with most anything, if you want it to get done, you need to schedule it! Put it in your planner. Designate a day and a time and a place where you will spend connected time with the person or people who matter to you most. This might mean setting regular date nights with your spouse, creating a plan to achieve milestones with your children, allowing extra time to care for your parents, or scheduling a phone date with a friend each week. Not only will this solidify your priority to focus on them; it will give you something to look forward to as well!
Focus on the Connection
Just like you, each of the people and relationships in your life are unique; they each need something different to truly nurture them. Your children might need extra snuggles and storytime before bed, your spouse may need a listening ear at the end of every day, your best friend may want a weekly coffee date on the books. And there are specific things you need from each relationship, too! Can you get clear on what those are?
Consider the personal needs of your people and yourself—and implement them into your interactions. When you understand and respect the individuality of each person (yourself included!) in your most important relationships, you’re more likely to nurture those people and those relationships in exactly the perfect way to make them feel like a priority.
* * *
Now that we’ve talked about how to create balance in your life by prioritizing self-care and those who matter most, we’ll next focus on making time for your own personal growth and why that’s an important aspect of the balance equation.
How do you prioritize the most important people in your life? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!