Moral Documents: Calendar? Timesheet? Budget?

19 Apr

“Does he live above his means?” the federal investigator asked me, when questioning me for a friend’s security clearance. (This came directly after “Is he part of the KKK?” and before “What kinds of books does he read?”).

“No,” I said “but the rest of the world seems to.”

Jim Wallis once said that “A budget is a moral document, it expresses morals and priorities.  It says who’s important and who is not.”

He was talking in regards to the National Budget.  But I think his statement can be taken further.

Your personal budget is a moral document.  You determine what you value and then you spend your money based on those values.  Your values may be security, comfort, safety, food, time savings, family, church, fitness, entertainment, etc.  But I guarantee that if I saw your budget (or you put it on Mint for a month), I’d have a pretty good idea what you care about in life.

Your personal calendar is a moral document. It says who and what is important to you and who or what is not. We all have the same allotted number of hours each day.  We all choose how to spend those hours.  We commit to things that we value, or we think we should value, or we want other people to think we value.  Have you ever tallied up your weekly hours?  Aside from work and sleep, how are you spending your free time?  If someone were to follow you around for a week, would they have a good idea of what kind of person you are?  Do you manage your time well?

Your timesheet is a moral document. Are you honestly working the hours you put down on your time sheet?  Or are you wasting company time?  If you aren’t working what you owe, you’re cheating your company.  If you are working far more hours than you committed to, then you are cheating yourself and your family.  Find a balance.  Engage in a way that shows coworkers that you are fully at work.  And disengage and walk away when it is time to go home.  Don’t cheat your company. Don’t cheat yourself.

Don’t buy into the false statement that values are abstract things completely separate from the physical world.  What you value will show up in how you budget, how you plan your calendar, how you fill out your time sheet.

If there is a discrepancy between your values and your activities, you will begin to feel uneasy.  Those around you will feel uneasy.  Maybe you need to change some values.  Maybe you need to prioritize which values trump others. Or maybe you simply need to understand that these documents are not just aids or suggestions, but a living legacy of the person you are and the person you are becoming.

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One Response to “Moral Documents: Calendar? Timesheet? Budget?”

  1. Amanda K April 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Very well said. I always feel off balance when I spend too much time on something and consequently, not enough time with someone else.

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