Parents have so many responsibilities when raising their family. Not only are parents responsible for the day-to-day chores, working, cooking, cleaning, driving, and homework supervision, but they are also responsible for teaching values, community service and media literacy. How on earth are we expected to "do it all" and where do we place our priorities?
What are your Priorities?
Here is an interesting activity to do yourself, and then with your teens. It is an activity to help you identify whether your stated priorities match how you spend your time, and it will start plenty of conversations around the dinner table.
Here are some facts you need. There are 168 hours in a week. If you sleep 8 hours a day, then you are awake 112 hours a week. When your teen does this, they should sleep 10 hours a night, so they are should only be awake 98 hours a week.
- Start with two pieces of paper and draw a big circle on each one-- you are going to make two pie charts.
- On the first, you are going to represent your priorities--family, work or school, love, friends, and time for self. Divide your circle into 5 sections and label them, writing "priorities" on the top of the page.
- Now, copy the list at the bottom of this page, transfer it to a word processing document, add other things you do each day, and take off the activities that you usually do not spend time doing. If you want the next step to be really accurate, you may need to keep track a day or two so you know exactly how much you spend on things.
- Now, write down how much time you spend on each activity, total it up by category and then write down the percent of time you spend on each section.
- Now, complete the second pie chart that reflects how you actually spend your 112 hours a week.
Do the two pie charts match? If so, then you are "balanced" and your priorities are reflected by your daily activities. More likely, your priorities do not match your activities and the difference is what causes you some frustration.
Sorting your Priorities
If you’re stuck on what goes in each of the above categories, here’s a list to get you started. Please note--where things belong may be different for you and your kids. For example, if you do community service with your children, you may count that as family time, but if you serve on a committee without them, you would put that under work/school.
- Meals (shared at the table)
- Cleaning the house
- Arranging activities
- Making appointments
- Shopping (Groceries, family-related)
- Walking the dog (could be exercise)
- Car-related errands
- Supervising homework
- Finances (Paying the bills, banking, taxes)
- Recreation (Movies, skating, etc.)
- Community service
- Religious activities
- Professional or required reading
- Dates (alone time for meals, coffee, time to talk)
- Finding a partner
Friends (for parents probably goes in time for self category)
- Activities (Movies, games, bowling, etc.)
Time for Self
- Lessons and practice (music, sports, art, cooking, etc.)
- Hygiene (nails, bathing, hair)
- Social time with friends
- Shopping (for self)
- Therapy (Counseling)
- Community service (volunteering at school, etc...)