Move Forward by Setting Priorities in Life
Have you ever felt like you need to make a change? Maybe you feel like you’re in a rut. Or life might not be going the way you had hoped it would. We all feel like we need a change of pace at times. One way to reset our path and keep moving forward is by setting priorities in life.
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What is the Importance of Setting Priorities in Life?
You might ask why it’s important to set priorities in life? It’s a simple question without a simple answer. The reasons are just as unique as the person setting them! Setting priorities can help us define what’s important, manage our time, and set boundaries.
Set Priorities to Define What’s Important
One benefit of setting priorities is it can help you define what’s important to you. Many of us run around all day doing tasks without thinking if what we are doing is important or not. We get caught up in going and doing, and forget to think about it!
When you figure out what’s important, it will give you focus. This focus can help you find your purpose. Your purpose is your why…. why do you do what you’re doing? And why is it important for you to do it? Defining what’s important to you will make setting priorities soooo much easier!
Set Priorities to Manage Your Time
Managing your time is another great reason to set priorities in life. If you’re like me, you constantly have to wrangle in your time. I have priorities set, but then all these urgent tasks come up in front of me, and I majorly lose focus. When I’m not careful, I can ping around all day doing useless “stuff”.
When you set priorities, it’s also important to set a schedule for yourself. You may have to adjust your schedule from time to time. But, by writing it down, you can help yourself manage your time and focus on what’s important to you!
Setting Priorities Also Sets Boundaries
Another great benefit of setting priorities is that it automatically helps you set boundaries in your life. Your priorities should take center stage in your tasks and activities. So, it’s only natural that setting boundaries for your time will help you be more focused on what’s important.
When my kids were young, being good parents and raising our children to hold our values was extremely important for me and my husband. A lot of to-do tasks were pushed aside because we needed to parent a sibling squabble or homework situation.
Now that our kids are older, we don’t have those same demands on our time when it comes to parenting. Even though we still guide our adult kids, it’s not the same. This extra time we have will cause our priorities to shift their focus.
My husband and I have set new boundaries. These new boundaries reflect the season we’re in. But it’s still important to set boundaries that focus on your priorities.
Six Steps to Set Priorities in Life
After defining why you need priorities, it’s time to start setting priorities in your life. If you’re ready to set priorities but have no idea where to start, then you’re in the right place! Here are six steps I use to help me focus on what’s important.
Create a “Have to Do” Priority List
The first step to setting priorities in life is creating a “have to do” list. Most of this list is non-negotiable, meaning you can’t just stop doing it. Going to work, feeding your kids, and doing laundry might be some items on this list.
You or at least someone in your household must have a job. If you’re the parent, ensuring your kids are fed and taken care of is a priority you have to keep. The mental and physical health of these tiny humans depends on it!
This list is very important because it’s all the stuff you can’t forget about. This will help you stay on track with the day-to-day parts of life. Plus, by listing out everything that’s non-negotiable, you can see where you do have time to plan for the future.
Dream Big and List Your Goals
Now that you have the list of your non-negotiable priorities, it’s time to dream a little. Think of what you dream to do in the future. Think about what your life be like if you had infinite time and possibilities? What are your passions? What is that something stirring in the back of your mind?
Think of that dream that God has put in your heart for someday. Maybe it’s to pay off debt, retire early, and spend your time giving back to the community. It might be saving up enough money to start your own business and quit your 9-5. Or maybe you dream about getting your pilot’s license. Whatever your dreams are, write these down.
And feel free to dream big! You’re not guaranteed that everything on this list will happen. But, by giving your dreams a place when planning your priorities, you’ll help yourself keep on doing what you need to be doing in order to be successful.
Set Priorities Through Scheduling Your Time
Now that you’ve made your must-do and dreams list, it’s time to start a schedule. There are several ways you can do this. Some people like to write out a daily schedule. And some people only write down the most out of routine events.
Last year, I bought a Living Well Planner and began planning my schedule out day by day. It’s a great way to plan out EVERYTHING you plan to do! If you’re interested, you can get $5 off here.
The point is this: be sure to schedule your time and run your schedule. Put down everything you must do, and then see where there are little pockets, or windows, where you can schedule in some time for you. Maybe you need a little “me time” (No shame in that)! Or maybe you have a few hours a week to devote to that future dream you have. Whatever it is, be sure to put it on the schedule. Then, run your schedule, before it runs you.
Think of Your Family When Setting Goals
After you’ve started scheduling your priorities, it’s important to look back over what you’ve created. This will help you make sure you didn’t leave out anything important you need to do. This second look will also give you time to ensure that you’re still including your family while setting priorities in life.
This is something I have to actively do when scheduling out what’s important to me. I have so many things I need to do, and a lot that I want to do. Sometimes I get so focused on these “tasks” that I get tunnel vision. So I have to make myself look again and see if I’m giving enough consideration to my family.
My point is this- make sure you aren’t putting things to do above people. The people you share your life with, your family and friends, should always be a priority in your life.
Start Small When Setting New Priorities
By now you’ve set your tasks and dreams and you’ve started scheduling your time. This is the time to remember to start small.
When writing out your dreams and goals earlier, you probably created a long bucket of things you want to do someday. And now that you are scheduling out your time it can be easy to want to do it all right away. I’ve been there before. Trust me, I know the feeling. You are so excited to start reaching your goals!
But it’s important to start small when setting new priorities. Remember that you can’t do all the things at once! You’ll run yourself ragged and probably neglect other priorities, like your family. Plus, you’re probably setting yourself up to fail. Trying to change too much quickly rarely works. So stay small. Choose one new priority, and focus on that one thing. Once you reach that goal, then it’s time to focus on something else!
Give Your Priorities to God
Now we’re down to the last step, and you’re ready to get started. You know what you want to do and you’ve got a plan of attack. But before you take off running, you need to give your priorities to God.
Giving it over to God should be the first step in setting your priorities. It’s definitely the most important step you can take in anything. Since it’s so important, I wanted to tackle giving your priorities to God at the end of this post.
1 Peter 5:7 reminds us to, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” Anything you want to do, including setting priorities, needs to be given over to God first. He cares about you and wants to be a part of everything in your life.
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