How to Prioritize What’s Really Important in Your Busy Life

How often do you feel like you could use 10 more hours in a day just to get through your to-do list? I know that feeling of spinning your wheels, not knowing how you’ll get it all done, and ultimately riding this stress-induced rush to the finish line each day. It’s exhausting, and it’s not good for us in any way — mentally, physically, or emotionally.

Learning some actionable tips for productivity and prioritizing has helped tremendously, and I want to share some of those tips with you today in hopes it’ll help you, also.

Here is how you can take power back out of the chaos of your day-to-day with prioritization.

1. Start by organizing
Clearing away the clutter from your personal spaces in life is the first thing to do. Clean up your desk at work, your home, your car, and wherever you see physical chaos. You’ll feel immediately calmed when your surroundings aren’t out of control.

2. Make a list that works for you
We all have different ways of making lists that speak to us. Some people love writing them out on paper while others love making digital lists on their phone or computer. Choose your favorite style and list everything that comes to your mind that you need to do. Then, organize that list by short-term items and then long-term items.

3. Set urgency and time limits for your listed items
Next, you’ll have to determine what MUST be done urgently. This is the hard one, for all of it seems essential. Rank them in terms of what absolutely can’t wait, like that report for your boss that needs to be ready for the morning meeting or calling your best friend back to catch up. Adding urgency and timelines makes it easier to get to everything you need to do.

4. Free your brain
Part of what’s stressing you out with trying to complete everything is that you’re leaving it to your brain to do all the remembering about every last detail. Give yourself a break and schedule it into your planner. For example, instead of making yourself try to remember to order the cake for your daughter’s birthday and send the invites, set those things on your schedule so you can free your mind to work on challenges that require problem-solving, not reminding.

5. Push out 5-minute items first
Sometimes, there are things on our schedules that literally take 5 minutes of our time. Just crush it out first, and then you won’t have it on your schedule anymore. The relief it brings is worth it too, plus when you take those 5 minutes and get it done, it feels like you have more time on your hands for those more significant things. Crossing things off of your list psychologically motivates you to keep going, so start with those small tasks and start the snowball effect.

6. Make it a routine
The hardest part is really getting started. Make prioritizing your schedule a habit. There are certain things you must do every day and week, so get them on the schedule at a particular time. For example, responding to messages from clients. Pick a time to do it in the morning, crank out your responses and then set one more time to handle later inquiries. This way, you’ll be getting your projects done without continually being interrupted.

By adding prioritization into your life, you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. What needs to be prioritized the most in your life right now? Drop a comment below and tell me what’s weighing you down.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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