Heather Vreeland has always been a go-getter. Wearing multiple hats as editorial director, magazine publisher, graphic designer, event planner, children’s book publisher and more over the last decade, she’s a self-described “optimistic overachiever and pure-breed entrepreneur.” She’s also a wife and mother of a young son, and while it sounds like it might be all sunshine and roses—especially as she resides in St. Augustine, Florida—she started to feel her life unraveling as she tried to juggle it all.
What helped her through this dark time was a return to her faith, which she’d pushed to the wayside, and reprioritizing her life. The bright outcome for the rest of us: She’s channeled what she discovered into a product called the Hope Planner ($34, pre-orders ship in October) through her new company, Hopefuel. We sat down with Vreeland to learn how building time for faith into her daily agenda helps her stay on top of her to-do list, and how it can help you too.
Juggling work, family and faith is a challenge so many in our industry face. Tell us a little about your own struggles with this.
Years ago, I was talking with one of my employees who was looking for work-life balance. I said, ‘I don't have it and I don't believe in it.’ I think your work is your life, and you intermix those things and make it work for you. If you have career ambitions, or are a general raise-your-hand-first kind of person, all of those things can quickly take over your home life. I genuinely love to work, but I began to realize I needed to not love work more than I love my husband and my son. I was writing down everything I needed to do, but all I was writing down were work-related things. I also felt very disconnected from God at this point. We hadn’t been to church in so long at that time, and I had this hunger to be a better Christian.
How has your view of work changed?
Now, five or so years later, work is a part of my life, but I don't work to live, I live to work. I’ve shifted where my priorities are and what I put first. Work means using the talents God gave us to serve him.
On a practical level, what does that look like for you?
It’s turned into harmony for me. Sometimes I have very work-intensive weeks, and we’re prepared for those; but I’m working five hours this week, putting more emphasis on my family right now. I started to look at work as an ebb and flow between what I’m passionate about and the needs of my family—and being present for my husband and son without being on my phone or thinking about what project I’m working on. It is very important and a daily struggle for a career-driven woman.
Where did your faith factor in?
I wanted to get back to God, family and work, so I started to make a to-do list with those three blocks on it. As I was shaping that page, it made me realize that, for me, it didn't need to be those three things; it needed to be God, and everything else. When I shifted priorities on paper, that’s when it fell into line for me.
How can the Hope planner help people prioritize their faith?
If you’re starting your day reading God’s word, enriching your faith and letting it lead your prayer, you’ll be amazed what you’re praying about. When you write it down, it changes your actions and reactions as you’re remembering it throughout the day. I didn’t want to pre-pick Bible verses [for the planner]; I want you to find them in your Bible. Sometimes I write the same verse every day of the week and then write a prayer to use in my everyday life. The paper part is almost like a response to the scripture. It’s really changed the way I lean so heavily into prayer. Before, I never made enough time for it.
What’s the biggest takeaway you hope people get from the planner?
Using a planner can help someone improve his or her productivity, but that’s not the sole purpose. My primary focus is bringing your plans to God. When you combine the things on your plan with your prayer, it makes it impossible to forget, and also impossible to think you don't have the time. We all have 15 to 20 minutes of quiet time we can carve out for ourselves.
Connect Faith readers can get 15 percent off the Hope planner by entering the code CONNECTFAITH15 at hopefuel.co.