Do you try to complete all your tasks each day because you feel every item on your to-do list is highly important? Are you limited by time to achieve all of those tasks? If your answer is yes, then you might not have a clear list of priorities in your life.
It takes having a clear list of priorities to effectively manage your time and know what counts while advancing in the direction of your goals. You might eventually stress yourself out if you continually take on too many tasks.
Remember, your goal is a target you want to meet in the future. Priorities are those things you need to establish and focus on to meet that target. Once you have a list of priorities, you’ll stand a better chance of implementing changes and decisions that align with your life mission.
Everyone is different, and everyone will care about different things. However, some common threads connect us all. You may not find that every item on this list of priorities resonates with you, but it’s likely that at least a few of them will. If you’re not clear on your priorities, these may help you identify where you should put your thoughts and energy.
1. Your Life Mission
Your life missions are priorities that give you meaning and happiness. These are what make you live beyond being successful, but also work on something significant in life. What do you want from life? When you prioritize those things without compromising your commitment to them, you will always end up achieving your goals.
Define your mission statement and identify things you need to do to accomplish your purpose in life.
Once you have established what your life missions are, organize your tasks, and make every item on your to-do list express those missions. If an item does not align with your purpose in life, refuse to work on it. If you want to lose weight, go ahead. If your life mission requires oratory skills, commit yourself to practicing that. The bottom line is that your to-do list should be an expression of your personal and professional goals.
2. Physical Health
Your health is highly crucial and should be first on your list of priorities. It determines your prosperity, comfort, and overall attitude.
Bad health robs you of happiness and reduces your overall productivity. This is why you need to break the cycle of poor health.
Here’s why your physical well-being should be on your list of priorities:
- You can only be more productive and focused when you are healthy.
- Your quality of sleep will improve.
- You will be in a better mood when interacting with other people.
- You will be more energetic to accomplish your life mission.
- You will have good self-esteem. Sickness robs you of confidence.
Do these to improve your health:
Eat a balanced diet, develop a solid exercise routine, and don’t skip sleep.
3. Quality Time With Family
When you are having a bad time at work, the first pillar of support is always your family. Time spent with family enhances your self-esteem, promotes positive habits, and builds memories.
Prioritize spending time with your immediate family, and make that time count. Exercise or work out together, go for a walk after dinner, select a book to read together, cook, or have a meal together. Prioritize togetherness!
You can be successful at work and still enjoy quality time with your family.
It’s important to recover the sense of a unified self in dismantling your work-life binary. Therefore, avoid sacrificing your family while you pursue success in your business or work.
4. Healthy Relationships
Relationships are important in finding meaning and purpose in life. After your family, your friends, colleagues, or members of your community play significant roles in your life beyond what you can imagine.
According to Northwestern Medicine, prioritizing healthy relationships can reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol responsible for stress. A study discovered that married people are not as likely to experience psychological stress. This is because the emotional and social support that relationships offer can be an excellent cure for stress.
Furthermore, healthy relationships help you build healthy habits. Accountability partners, mentors, life coaches, and teachers play crucial roles in achieving your goals.
Therefore, surround yourself with people that will inspire you daily and isolate yourself from toxic relationships.
5. Mental Health
Are you always busy with work, social commitments, studies, family, and daily activities? If yes, then you need to prioritize your mental health. Establish a routine to investigate how you feel when you are busy or overworking.
Try doing the following to keep yourself in check.
Perform a Mental Audit
Take note of what you feel, think, or say and how they impact your mood, either positively or negatively.
Identify Red Flags
Red flags are warning signals that indicate when you are experiencing a shift in your thoughts, feelings, and habits. They could also warn you when you are experiencing burnout or stress. The earlier you know what’s wrong with you and develop coping strategies to resolve the issues, the faster and easier it will be to get back on track.
Figure out Your Trigger
If you notice some tasks, events, habits, or experiences impact your mental well-being, such as health issues, increased workloads, or relationship challenges, practice self-care during those periods. Self-care is not selfish. It helps you to regain your balance so you can take on more tasks.
Money is not insignificant. While it may not buy happiness, you need to earn at least above what you need to stay happy. Life can be miserable when you’re struggling to pay the bills or feed yourself, so prioritize your finances!
Robert Kiyosaki, in his book Cashflow Quadrant, recommends:
“Make money work for you rather than working all your life for money.”
Robert is simply advising you to work on your savings and investment goals.
Figure out your income-generating assets and income-depleting liabilities. Then, increase your assets and reduce your liabilities. Also, save as much as possible to make your life more comfortable in the future. You can also invest your savings in any low-risk project that can earn you passive income in both the short-term and long-term. Lastly, avoid debt as much as you can and save for emergencies.
In the words of Lou Holtz, “You are either growing or dying”. You can only become the person of your dreams by shunning mediocrity and complacency.
There are simple ways to improve yourself. You can watch TED Talks that can impact your life positively, read personal development books, or learn new skills. It’s not even a bad idea to learn something outside your field. Learning sustains living!
Follow these steps to create a self-improvement plan that works for you.
1. Define Your Goals
Define your goals (general list) and become more specific by breaking up your general list into specific items: lose 20 pounds, earn a certificate, train for a new role, etc. You can read more on how to set SMART GOALS.
2. Focus on Your Strengths
Highlight your strengths and what you lack to accomplish the specific goals. Then define why you want to see them become reality. How will they benefit you?
Visualize yourself achieving your goals. You can design a vision board to enable you to see what success will look like. It may include pictures of a healthier and happier you!
4. Lay Out Your Plan
Establish your game plan. How will you get there? What will it require? Learning a new skill? Subscribing to an online course? You need to define those actionable steps you need to take to improve.
Don’t forget to set small milestones as you proceed so you can reward yourself when you achieve little successes.
If by now you are not sure of what your top priorities are, you might need to sit down and list everything important to you. For instance, if you are burnt out and it’s taking a toll on your health, then you will need to prioritize your health. There’s no way you can focus and be productive if you are not healthy.
The next step is to establish a game plan. For instance, you can highlight what you can do to avoid burnout. It could be mindfulness, talking to a psychologist, or taking a break from work. Then, block out time to implement your game plan.
I will round off with the words of Brandon Sanderson, a successful American fiction writer and the brain behind Cosmere Universe:
“The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things to accomplish the vital ones.”
More Tips About Setting Priorities in Life
- How To Organize Your Life By Priority And Not Urgency
- The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life
- 11 Differences Between Busy People And Productive People
Featured photo credit: Kevin Maillefer via unsplash.com