You’re busy, and the proverbial “to-do” list seems to grow with each waking moment. However, within each day is the power to make choices. You may choose to go to the grocery store tomorrow because you are required to work overtime today. It all starts to come together once you learn to set priorities.

Life pulls you in hundreds of different directions, but the crucial part is planning and maintaining calm no matter what comes hurling at you. How do you keep a cool head when you’re stressed to the max? You set objectives to accomplish the most important things first, and you will find these little guidelines change your life.

Understanding Priorities

Many people get confused by the difference between a priority and another item on the “to-do” list. The key is that a priority is something that comes before everything else. Another thing to consider is that priorities are not goals, though they’re similar.

Goals are something you set and work on slowly, whereas a priority needs to be addressed immediately. You can now classify the steps you need to take to prioritize those goals, but you need to understand the distinction.

Assume that you want to spend more time with your partner, but you also want to take on a part-time job to pay off some bills. By adjusting your goals to your priority list, you can accomplish both. What’s more important to you, having more money or spending time with the one you love?

There’s an old saying that states this:

“Where your treasure is your heart will follow.”

So you will make time for the things that are important to you.

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Identifying Your Essential Items

Why are your priorities so important anyway? You know they help you stay on track, and you know it helps you accomplish your goals, but why do you need to identify them? Assume you must be at work every day by eight am.

You walk into the office with a mental list of the things you need to accomplish. However, by 11 am, your list has completely changed. You have added tasks and situations that arose that altered your day.

There have also been a lot of smaller tasks that popped into your mind as you worked. So, you have a mere five hours left in the day, and you have more than twenty things to do. You can look at this list and become overwhelmed, panic, and start to feel nauseous, or you can set priorities to accomplish them.

You start by writing down everything floating around in your brain and all the other stuff that needs to be done. Now, you look at this list and decide what’s most important. A financial report due to the owner in the morning should take top precedence over things that aren’t time-sensitive.

Now you have your list of pressing things, and you can fit the more minor, less trivial stuff in as you have free time. Items like calling to make a grooming appointment for the boss’s pet don’t have near the clout of preparing financial statements. You can apply the same principles to your personal life as you do to business.

Some people find it helpful to schedule themselves with specific time frames. For instance, from 8 am till 9 am tomorrow, you will balance the work checkbook. From 9 am till 10 am, you will return customer phone calls.

When you allow yourself specific periods, it helps you stay on track and accomplish things within a particular time. However, this trick doesn’t work for everyone, as some people panic and clock watch. The goal is to find what works for you and set priorities you can manage.

While work is a top priority, there are other things that you must also consider. Tchiki Davis, Ph.D. from Psychology Today, states that you need to divide your priorities into categories. The categories are as follows:

  • Work
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Self
  • Life

Just because your job takes the top spot in your life doesn’t mean there aren’t other important things. Make sure you have time to schedule for your family, self, and life goals.

Twenty Signs You Need To Set Priorities in Your Life

set priorities
You might read through this article and think it’s for someone else. You believe that you have it all under control. However, you might not be doing as well as you feel.

Some days are better than others, but what if you need to set priorities to help ease some of the stress in your life? Here are twenty signs that it’s time for you to set priorities.

  1. Decrease in productivity
  2. Feeling stress continuously
  3. You no longer make time for family and friends
  4. You’re tired–almost always
  5. You feel nauseated often
  6. Frequently feeling chest pains
  7. Rapidly losing or gaining weight
  8. Dealing with anxiety
  9. You are moody
  10. Failure to engage in self-care
  11. You don’t make time to socialize
  12. Experience frequent headaches
  13. Struggling with depression
  14. Deteriorating romantic relationship
  15. Relaxation eludes you
  16. Your sleep patterns become erratic
  17. Lack of a healthy work-life balance
  18. You rely heavily on drinking caffeine to power through your day
  19. You’ve lost your passion or zest for life
  20. You forget about your other interests

Looking through this list may be a painful reminder that you don’t have things together as you would like. Is there any way that you can get more done while reducing stress levels? Yes, you can accomplish more, stress less, and have time for all the things that you want to do.

How to Set Objectives?

You see the need to set priorities in life, but you’re not sure how you will go about this task. First, start with your goal list. While you need long-term goals, for this subject, you need to deal with your short-term aspirations.

There are seven days in a week, 24 hours a day, which equates to 168 hours. You work forty hours of this time, and you spend 10 hours commuting. Additionally, you sleep for 56 hours too.

So, if you subtract the time from work, commuting, and sleep, that leaves you 62 hours. Now, divide that by seven days, and you have 8.5 hours a day to take care of other things. Why is it that you don’t have time for family and friends or self-care?

You have time to get a manicure, get your hair cut, and shop for that new outfit you want. However, you must learn to set priorities so that you can make the most of your day. Coming home and lying on the couch all night is a waste of time.

Suppose you need some downtime, then you can budget yourself an hour or so to chill after work. Then, it would help if you got up and started tackling some items on your priority list. Here are some things that you can do to help with setting priorities.

  • Stop taking on more than you can handle.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Never borrow from your sleep time to get things done.
  • Ask for help when needed.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you fail and have an off day; pick yourself up and try again tomorrow.
  • Be flexible.
  • Be prepared for the spur of the moment invasions.
  • Learn practical tools to help you manage stress, such as yoga or meditation.

Every human being has limitations. You can put things on your priority list that would take two to three people to accomplish. These are the moments when you need to start saying “no” to things. Additionally, it never shows weakness to ask for help.

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Final Thoughts on Knowing It’s Time to Set Priorities in Your Life

Priorities are significant in your life. Regardless of the life-cycle that you find yourself in, setting your priorities is a must. When you have no priorities, your life has no clarity, visions, or objective.

The good news is that when you set priorities, it gives you a clear path to walk on and move forward. Sadly, many folks don’t have any defined priorities, and they will flounder in the chaos of the day. The Wishing Well Coach, Jessica Sweet, suggests that you also keep the big picture in mind when you set priorities for the day.

It’s effortless to get caught up in the here and now so much that you forget about tomorrow. Life priorities or goals are just as important as your daily to-do list. Sweet also suggests that for you to make priorities that you can stick with, you need to eliminate conflict in your life.

When you get yourself into proper alignment, you will have more motivation to finish things you must do. If you’re in a bad place with overwhelming stress, it’s hard to accomplish anything.