Have you been stressed lately? Does it feel like the busy-ness of life is about to overwhelm you yet you don’t know what to cut out? Setting your priorities in life can not only help you define your core values. It can also help guide your direction in life and give you the perspective you need to determine the path you should take when you stand at a crossroads. Setting your priorities in life is a great way to cut through to what really matters to you. I will share my own later, but first, let’s look at how you can determine your own priorities in life.
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What Are Priorities?
The definition of a priority is something in your life that you put the utmost importance on. It’s a way to rank the things that mean the most to you. (This is my own definition of a priority and not an official one, but the official one does line up.) There are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week. Our time is limited. You can do anything, but not everything.
I often find myself trying to do everything, and then I get overwhelmed. Remembering what my priorities helps me get back on track and beat the overwhelm by letting the non-essentials go. It helps me to put my life and my activities back into the proper perspective.
What Are Some Examples of Priorities in Life?
Just like core values are unique to every person, so are priorities. Here are some examples:
- Serving God
- Making Money/Financial Security
- Helping Others
- Life Experiences
- Personal Growth
How do you determine your priorities in life?
The lovely list above is by no means comprehensive. So how do we go from a list of priorities to determining what our priorities in life actually are? We need to do a bit of self-reflection for this part. As I mentioned above, we all have a limited amount of time. When your time on Earth is nearing its end, how do you want to be able to look back on your life?
It’s a bit of an uncomfortable question, I know. But reflecting on it is the fastest way that I know of to cut to the core of what is important to you.
(The Blissful Mind has another activity to help you determine your priorities in life if you find the above method, not to your liking.)
What are the most important priorities in life?
By definition, priorities in life involve ranking things. That means that not everything can be a priority. From the list of priorities above or preferably from your own list, you have to choose a small number to focus on. I would say no more than 5 to start out with.
Please note that as you go through life, your priorities may change. For example, when I was 19, one of my priorities in life involved getting my education. I got my college degree, so getting my education is no longer one of my life priorities. I am always learning and I still love to learn, but my priorities have shifted because I’m at a different phase of life now.
What is the number one most important thing in your life right now? When you are at the end of your days what do you want to look back on with complete satisfaction and say “I did that well”, or at least “I tried to do X to the best of my abilities?” Then, go to the next most important one and so on until you have a list.
Now I Have My List, How Do I Use It?
Great! Now you have a list of priorities for your own life. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty on ways that you can actually use it to benefit your life.
- Determine What You Need to Dedicate Your Time To
- Use it as a Reminder to Be Fully Present when you are engaged in an activity
- Use it to determine the importance of a task.
- Use it as a guideline on where to dedicate your strengths ( and delegate the rest)
- Helps to give your life purpose
- Helps to leave the past behind and focus on the future
- Prioritize your to-do list
- Help you achieve your goals
How I Have Been Using My own List of Priorities in Life
I have been finding my to-do list a bit overwhelming recently. I’ve been trying to keep up with the blog and the family. I experimented with block scheduling, which is a great productivity hack, but was not working for me personally. To start beating the overwhelm, I took a step back and remembered my life priorities. Fit the “big rocks” into your glass jar first when you are trying to plan your time. Your priorities in life tell you what the “big rocks” are. Serving God and my family come before the blog. I had been trying to fit this blog in as one of the “big rocks” when really it should be a medium sized rock.
Using My Priorities in Life to Re-Evaluate How I Spend my Time
The blogging and the articles will get done, but not at the expense of taking care of my family. If the husband and the kids need something, it will come first. If I need to do something for the church, then I will not prioritize blogging over that. Even if I have to work on it in little bits at a time, that’s ok. I will also take breaks every now and then instead of trying to finish up a post on Saturday instead of spending time with my family.
Does that mean that I may occasionally miss a self-imposed deadline? Yes. (Which I hate.) Is anyone going to die if a post is published on Wednesday, instead of Tuesday? No. I have over 80 published posts to date on this blog. That’s plenty of reading material. Being a day late or even taking a week off every now and then will not kill anyone. Additionally, taking the time when I need a break and focusing on the important things in my life, make me a better blogger and writer.
How Knowing My Priorities Helps Others
I try to be as open and authentic with you as possible because you deserve that. That means I not only write these posts, but I also try to live them as well. Sometimes with flaws, but that’s part of the journey. It’s ok not to be perfect. I struggle with such things as:
As I wrote a post on core values, I went through and defined and shared my own core values with you in regards to my life and this blog. Contentment Questing is about a journey through life. It’s about finding happiness even when your life is not where you want it to be. I can share so much better with you when I know what my priorities in life are. It helps me to be in a better mental state, and to take better care of myself. It helps me to go on even when I want to give up.
The Benefits of Setting Priorities in Life
Simply put, when you set your priorities in life it helps you to put first things first. It helps you achieve your goals because it helps to set your focus. Begin with the end in mind, as Stephen Covey says in his “7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.”
This sentiment was further echoed when I went through the Slay Your Goals Planner to set my goals for this year in regards to blogging. I didn’t know where to start! (You can my full review of the planner if you are looking for one.)
When you set your priorities in life it gives you that starting point, or that measuring stick to stand everything else up against. Does something serve my priorities? Which thing is more important? Setting your priorities in life helps you to know whether you are on the right track or not.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Setting Priorities in Life
I have already alluded to my personal priorities in life. They are:
- Serving God
- Kids and other family members
Notice that the list is not very long? When you set priorities in your life, don’t set too many. It’s very easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life. Sometimes things seem bigger than they actually are. Setting and occasionally re-evaluating our priorities in life helps us to keep the end in mind and what is actually important vs what seems important.
What are your priorities in life? Do you have any great tips? Leave me a comment below!