How to Set Priorities

Ever wonder how to set priorities, or what setting priorities is even about? Priorities are those things that are most important in your life and you put ahead of other events and responsibilities that you have.

The idea is that you may or may not be able to get everything done, but if you focus on the things that are most important to you then you at least know they will get done.

For example, say you are working on a very important project for work and it has to get done that day. You also want to shop for groceries for the week. Common sense says that you should want to spend your time working on the very important work stuff and put off going grocery shopping until after you are finished with it.

This way if you run out of time or something major happens you know that you got the most important thing done. You could have done this the other way around and did the grocery shopping first. But if you ran into problems then you might end up just getting the least important stuff done and miss the deadline for your project.

Often times we get so focused on doing things that we forget to look at what we are doing and see what is actually important to us. By looking at our tasks and putting more energy into the things that we care about and less energy into things that we don’t we end up making sure that we get the biggest projects done no matter what happens.

Throughout our lives we get hit with big decisions and responsibilities. It is up to us to determine what we need to get done first, what we can put off until later, and what we should just ignore.

You are probably wondering how to set priorities and what to think about. If you are, here are three questions to ask yourself when setting priorities in life or at work.

What Has to Get Done Now?

Some things can wait until later, others can’t. One of the methods you can use to decide what you are going to do first is to simply figure out when you have to get it done by. If you have to get something done tomorrow then obviously it should take priority over something that you have 2 months to get done.

Urgency is an important thing to consider when setting priorities in life, but it is not the only thing.

What is Important To You

As humans we tend to focus on things as they pop up. We want to move towards what is new and fix every issue as they arise. But if you are only reacting to the world around you then you are not creating your world.

If you want to be successful at something in life, whether it be golfing, starting a business, becoming an artist or whatever you cannot just hope that there will be time for you to work for your dreams someday. Instead you have to make time for it today and every other day until you succeed. Think of how much you can get done in life if you do at least 1 thing a day to help you reach your goals.

If you truly know where you want to stand your ground in life and you are dedicated to making your dreams a reality then it will help you to make it a priority to stay active and do things for it on a regular basis regardless of what else is going on in your life.

What Can You Avoid Doing?

We are brought up to believe that avoiding doing something is a bad idea and that effective people get everything done. But sometimes you have to decide when something is just not worth your time.

Even if something is urgent, if it isn’t important to helping you grow or to achieving your goals in life then it is really taking away from time you could have spent doing something else. That is why some things are just better if they are scratched off of your to-do list (if you can) or outsourced to someone else (ex paying the kid next door to mow your front lawn).

Of course not all things can be avoided, but it doesn’t hurt to look for ways around doing the things in life which aren’t that important to you and just distract you.

These are 3 key questions to ask yourself when setting priorities in life as far as I see it. Do you have anything else to add when it comes to how to set priorities?

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