Ask yourself these questions: “Will the thing that is causing imbalance in my life really matter 10 years from now?”, “Is it possible for me to do fewer unimportant things at work and outside the office?”, “Can I accomplish my goals and be flexible at the same time?”, “Can I replace ‘either/or’ thinking with ‘both/and’ solutions?”, “Can I work smarter as opposed to harder?” , “Can I pencil in time to reflect on my life on a regular basis?” , “What issues in life and on the job should I plan for so I can stick to my priorities?”, “How can I become more flexible?”, “How can planning help me understand what is really important?”, “How can I include time-sensitive matters in my planning?”, “Do I have a strategy to deal with urgent matters without forgetting about the important things?”, “Can planning help me anticipate problems before they arise?”, “How can focusing help me cut down my time spent doing things that don’t matter?”, “Can I commit to the practice of not adding anything more to my schedule without first taking something else away?”, “Can I begin to think in terms of what must be done versus what might need doing?”, “How good am I at delegating tasks instead of postponing them?”, “How can I avoid traps like excess paperwork or the interruptions of the phone, fax, or pager?”, “Do I need to plan fun in my life, or does it just happen for me?”, “What are the methods I have used in the past for recharging my physical and emotional batteries?” and “How can I overlap the concept of fun with the concept of connecting to other people?”.

Get rid of the “crazies.” Don’t allow your life to run out of control. Learn to say “no” or “not right now” to requests for your time and energy that don’t reflect your current priorities. Think of the people (your spouse, each of your kids, each of your friends, etc.) and things (your job, your volunteer activities, your church, your gym, etc.) that demand your time in terms of laps you run around a track. Then prioritize those laps into levels of importance, and consider what changes you should make to how you spend your time. Pace yourself so you include significant time in your life for both learning and leisure, as well as labor.

As you consider learning in your life, ask yourself: “What class would be enjoyable and enriching for me to take?”, “What is the last book I read, and when did I read it?”, “What book would I enjoy reading?”, “What is the biggest hurdle to overcome regarding learning, and how can I get over it?”, “What form of learning do I only dream about, and how can I make that dream a reality?”. As you consider leisure in your life, ask yourself: “What is my favorite form of leisure?”, “How can I incorporate leisure into my routine?”, “How can my fun activities even benefit me at work?”, “Am I getting enough exercise?”, “Am I eating healthy?”, “Am I getting enough sleep?” and “How can I better mix business and pleasure?”. As you consider labor in your life, ask yourself: “How can I be more efficient at work?”, “What would make my work more significant?”, “How can I refocus my job so that it helps me achieve my life’s goals?”, “How do I prioritize?” and “How can I learn to focus on the most important clients and customers I have, while still getting all my work done?”.

Stay on track. Remember that balancing your life isn’t just a one-time event; it’s a process that needs your constant attention. Stay connected to God through prayer each day and rely on His strength to help you keep your life in the right balance as your circumstances change.

Adapted from On the Fly Guide to Balancing Work and Life, copyright 2006 by Bill Butterworth. Published by WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc., Colorado Springs, Co., www.randomhouse.com/waterbrook/

Bill Butterworth blends humor, storytelling, wisdom, and practical advice, which has made him a popular speaker throughout North America. Bill speaks frequently for corporate clients that include American Express, Ford, Disney, Bank of America, and Chrysler. A highly regarded author, Bill has written books on topics ranging from sports to psychology and self-help issues. He has been a columnist, editor, and scriptwriter. Bill lives with his wife, Kathi, in Newport Beach, California.