By Sylvia Hepler

Each of us has twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  No more, no less.  Yet some of us accomplish more during this time than others.  Some of us experience greater satisfaction than others.  Some of us are on top of our game.  How can this be any woman’s reality in such a rushed, demanding, and harried world that pulls us in a thousand different directions?

The answer lies with identifying our personal values and then living them.  We start by making a list of what we value:  people, characteristics, situations, qualities, assets.  Next, we can make a second list that includes all of the ways we spend our days.  This list should be comprised of tasks, projects, activities, meetings, community service, conversations, chores, etc.  When we examine the lists, we look for disconnects between what we say we value versus how we actually use our time.  Those disconnects often are huge.  When that is the case, we feel frustrated, sad, empty, and even angry. 

For example, we may identify personal growth and learning as one of our values, but we do little or nothing to live that value week after week.  We don’t schedule time for piano lessons, cooking classes, Pilates, or reading a book of interest.  We may say we value spirituality, yet we rarely take time to meditate, pray, visit a house of worship, or explore spiritual resources.  As a result, we are unhappy.  We simply cannot get away with proclaiming one thing and doing another.

Most of us are not intentionally unauthentic people.  We just don’t know how to juggle all the requests for our time.  While we know we get 24/7, frequently we have no idea where to start to get ourselves organized.

Well, we start with our values.  Then we move to  our priorities.  We need to list everything that is most important to us.  After that list is completed, we must see where these things and people show up on our calendars.  Do we say that our spouse/partner is one of our priorities but we haven’t gone out to lunch or dinner with them without the kids in six months?  Do we indicate that our employees are extremely important but we haven’t spent face time with them in weeks?  If our priorities don’t appear on our calendars, then we aren’t being true to who we say we are at heart.  This revelation may make lots of us squirm.

To read the rest of this article, check out the Fall Issue of WE Magazine for Women