You already prioritize, even if you think you don’t.
For instance, when you tell yourself, “I put family first” but schedule a meeting for 6 p.m., you’re kidding yourself. You told your spouse you’d be home before dinner–and then you do something like that. What your schedule is telling you is that you value work more than family, and if you’re not okay with that, it’s time to make a change.
This isn’t rocket science; when you say you prize proactive behavior over reactive behavior, but then have day after day filled with meetings, you’re not telling the truth.
What you really value there is obvious. Ultimately, we all vote our priorities with each action we take–every single day. We all have values,.. but our real values are’re in fact hiding in our schedule.
To work and life accordingly to our real values, before we can tell our life what we want to do with it, we must listen to our life telling us who we are.
Your calendar should not be something that stresses you out when you look at it. Each new day should be an exciting adventure. If it’s not, then change it. If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.
When you’re in the throes of a busy, stressful day, ask yourself, “Is this really what I’m meant to do?” Granted, every job has its drawbacks. But if you’re going weeks and months doing things out of sheer obligation, then it may be time to consider a change, and this can be achieved in your current job or in a new one.
Summing-up: Your calendar never lies. You can’t say one thing and schedule another. Where you spend your time is where your values are. But if you feel that your work-life balance is spinning out of control, it may be time for a reboot, and it starts with your calendar. It may be time to sync your schedule back up with your values–your real ones.