Say I had your permission to follow you around for a week. Awake hours only. At work, at home, at the gym. We would never talk, and I’d take plenty of notes. The end of the week comes, and I give you a piece of paper. It says here are your priorities. What would yours say?

Now someone, let’s call her Izzy, comes to talk to you a week before me. She asked you to write down your priorities. Family, Work, and health; you write. You’re told to be more specific. For example: spend an hour of quality time with your wife daily, focus on your new project, exercise for 15 minutes a day. Those are better.

Izzy and I compare notes. What do we see? Do you spend time where you say your priorities are? I know I don’t. I try. It’s hard to live up to your ideals. But ever since I did this exercise, I’ve been able to get closer. Closer to spending time with what I say is important.

If you’re like me, you’re working throughout the day. Notes, side hustles, administration. Work is being done through all waking hours. But there’s more to life than work. I know. I’ve even written it down as a priority. But how much time do I dedicate to my non-work priorities? 10% of my day? 20%?

Some weeks: it’s 90% work and 10% family. Other weeks 80% work, 10% family, But life is passing me by. Work will always be there. There will always be more. More projects to pick up. More money on the table.

With this goal in mind, I’ve been better. I have some tricks though. I realized those three priorities don’t have to be done individually. My wife and I exercise together. Quality family time and health are taken care of together. We changed our diet. We eat healthy. Again quality time and health.

Instead of working in the office, we work together. She may be studying or shopping. Usually the latter, and I’ll be typing away. Or on a phone call. It’s not a replacement for quality time, but we fit in quality time when we can. We try to do the weekly date night. It usually occurs every two weeks. But we try.

I could get some more done. Pick up another project or side hustle. But that’s okay. They will always be there. This time with my family and my good health is priceless.