I knew I was in trouble when the seminar leader asked us to open our personal calendars. It was a setup, and I was caught.

Let me back up. Ten or fifteen years ago, I attended a half-day seminar designed to help men become better husbands and fathers. The only reason I attended was so some other men in our church at that time would go and learn a thing or two. After all, why would a Christian counselor like me need to go? I thought I knew everything I needed to know about the topic. So I went simply to support the other men.

The leader took us through a process of identifying our values and priorities. He had us look at our lives from God’s perspective. We answered questions that dealt with managing our time, setting a good example, and leading our families. I remember thinking that I could teach the seminar!

Then he had us list our priorities in order. For me this was a no-brainer—I placed God first, Nancy second, and my kids third. Each of us shared our lists; honestly, the answers were not that different. I was so proud of all the guys with me.

Just when I was ready to pack up my briefcase to leave early, however, the leader threw a He asked us to do one more thing: get out our personal calendars and open them to that week. Now, remember, this was before smartphones and tablets and calendars that sync. These were the write-it-down-on-the-date calendars. I pulled out my calendar and opened it. Then he asked us to circle every appointment and activity that reflected time spent with our priorities. I picked up my pen—and then laid it down. I looked at the week’s appointments and activities. I turned to the next week and looked back at the previous week. There was no time set aside for God, my wife, or my kids. The seminar leader had me. Yes, I had intended to spend time with my top three priorities, but I had planned to work them around my schedule instead of working my schedule around them. Ouch! The truth hurt, but it changed how I handle my priorities.

Most of us have a lot to do and too little time to do it in. It is easy for our lives to get out of balance. In my new book 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage there are practical steps to help get your life in balance. It takes some work and some rearranging, but the benefits are amazing!