In life, there are many things that take your time. It takes time to raise the kids, run a household, work, and even simpler things like taking care of a yard. For every person in this world, there is a different set of priorities for which they work to achieve. The problem with so many of us is that as time goes on, our priorities become habitual and predictable and are more a part of our routine, than something we give thought to. For this reason, cleaning out your priority list should be as important as spring-cleaning or making New Years resolutions.

Ten years ago, your priorities were different. You may have been working for the dream home or trying to move yourself up the corporate ladder. These priorities may have become so ingrained in your thinking that you have become your priorities. Today, try to think about where your priorities lie. Are they with family and those that matter most to you? Are your priorities benefiting more people than just yourself? Are your priorities really that important? For instance, if you have always taken great pride in your yard – had the perfect lawn and flowers and ensured that your yard was as neat as a pin and perfectly planted than one of your priorities was probably your yard work. But now that your yard is only taking maintenance are you still putting it at the top of your list above and beyond other things that may be more spiritually important?

Many people become obsessive compulsive about their priorities. They may have the priority in life to maintain an orderly home and become so focused on doing just that that they begin to close themselves off to new priorities. If you cannot start your day or get things accomplished unless you do so in a specific order, you may want to rework your priorities. The old adage says that the cobwebs will wait, but the raising of our children and loving of our lives will not. At the end of your life, is it more important that your gravestone says you have a clean home or that you had a life well lived.

When you get back to the basics of life, you will notice that along with large priorities there are thousands of small ones that take your attention and time. The best way to prioritize properly is to come up with a personal ranking system. Begin by making lists of the menial and large tasks that you would like to see your self accomplish. Make sure that you put a ‘‘due date’’ at the top of your to-do list and distinguish which tasks take precedence over the others. This way you will have a clear-cut black and white version of what you need to do. Next to your ‘‘to-do’’ item place a level of importance in the right hand column, ranking the importance of each task. For instance, something that has to be done today like paying a specific bill, should rank a #1. Answering emails to a friend out of town might get ranked a 4 on your list.

Once you have your to-do list of tasks and have ranked them by importance, reorganize your list to make sure that your most pressing tasks or priorities are first. Then make a firm decision about what you will get done today and what can wait. Make sure that as you make a list of priorities each day, you save time for yourself and put your personal and family time on the list. It may sound trite but unless you consciously include things like this on your list, you will begin to overlook them. You may even make it specific such as ‘‘watch Favorite television show with the children.’’ Today, life is so busy that unless we factor in special times with our families, we will tend to over look them.

Another thing to consider about your priorities in life is how much stress they are causing you. For many people, they make silent priorities in their life and don’’t come up with an effective and efficient goal-setting plan to make them work out. Setting goals at small increments is important to making your priorities in life come to pass. This should be accomplished whether you are trying to save money or take more time eating together with the family. The truth is that the more honest we are with ourselves and realistic we remain with our priorities in life, the more we can accomplish. Most people talk about their priorities and place the hot button issues like family first on the list, but rarely live that way. It is easy to become caught up in a life that has us keeping up with our neighbors and trying to meet or exceed expectations that are making living well, unrealistic.

The other key point in life is to make sure that your priorities are flexible. From one day to the next, you must be able to reprioritize so that your needs and the needs of those around you are met. Priorities are important and waiting for an unfortunate event in your life to decide to make certain aspects of life important is a waste of useful time. The goal in your life besides being prosperous should be to be happy and live a life that provides both satisfaction and fuels your passion. By systematically enforcing your priorities with a goal setting plan and remaining open to re-evaluate your priorities, you will always be making a conscious choice to not only get things don’’t, but to live the best life possible.

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