If you want to be happier, more successful, more productive, or better at becoming more efficient then it’s absolutely essential that you start to prioritize everything in your life. You need to decide, right now, what your goals are and what is important to you.
You need to know what you want out of life, and then you need to prioritize everything in your life to be directed towards your goals. Basically, you can’t do everything, or as an old proverb says: you can’t chase after two rabbits at once.
This is something that many people know, and understand, but refuse to accept. Our human nature is overreaching. We want to do everything and have everything. This means that we try to work every angle, to be able to do everything that we want to do. Unfortunately, this results in people winding up tired, burnt out, and stressed. What’s even worse, is that often times people end up starting many tasks, but not accomplishing them. In other words, they pound in several nails, but only pound them in halfway.
You know this to be true, and you see it every day. Take a look at New Year’s Resolutions. How many times have you heard someone say that they want to build muscle, lose weight, or quit smoking? Chances are that you have heard it more than you can remember. Now, consider this, how many times have you heard those statements and seen it come true? Chances are that number is easier to recall. The unfortunate reality of today’s society is that when someone says they are going to do something, you, and most people listening, have more doubt than faith. We expect people to not get things done.
You need to be different. You need to change. Be the person who follows through and pounds the nail in all the way. Be the person who gets things done and lives according to your word. Of course, this is easier said than done. However, in this article, you will learn some valuable steps to prioritize your life so that you will be more efficient at getting things done.
The unfortunate reality for most people is that they want too many things. People are overreaching and believe they can do everything they put their minds to. This is a problem. The reality is that you cannot do everything that you put your mind towards. No. You can do anything that you put your mind towards.
Do you see the difference? You can’t do everything; you can do anything. Therefore, you need to get your priorities straight so that you are focused on anything and not everything.
You see, most people set a goal because it is something that they want to do. However, they fail to realize all of the extra tasks, and time, that goes into achieving that goal.
For example, let’s say that you set a goal of building muscle or losing weight. That means you will have to work out or do some form of exercise. That means you will come up with a schedule of working out for one hour, three to five times a week. No big deal. That’s only three to five hours a week right? Wrong.
You are failing to take into account the amount of time you will need to spend driving to and from the gym, showering, changing, eating healthier, getting the right foods, planning it into your day, et cetera. The point is that whatever task you decide to do always requires more time than you initially think.
This is true for any activity. Take anything and think about the time you will spend doing that activity. Then remember that that activity will require extra time above and beyond that of the initial activity. This is why goals are often short-lived.
When you are already stressed, tired, and burnt out, you don’t have the time and energy to take on something new. You may really want to do something new, but you simply can’t. You are too busy and can only do so much. Remember, you can do anything, not everything.
Instead of running around trying to do so many different tasks, you need to stop for a minute and get everything in order. Simply put, you need to prioritize.
How do you do this?
Well, it’s really very simple. All you need to do is follow five easy steps.
Step One: List Your Involvements
Get out a piece of paper and a pen and start writing down all of the things that you are doing. Don’t write down all of the little menial tasks; write down all of the broad categories. For example, work, school, making YouTube videos, going for bike rides, working out, going out with friends, Facebook, Snap, et cetera. List everything, and I mean everything. You need to put down anything and everything that you are involved in doing. If you spend time doing something, then you need to put it on that paper.
Step Two: Rate Each Item
Once you have all of your activities written down, you need to go through them and really think about how important each of these things are. Make some notes about how much you enjoy doing each task. Maybe use a rating system with stars, check marks, tallies or something. When you do this, don’t feel obligated to go down the list. Simply start rating things in any random order. If you know how you feel about the task, rate it right away. Rating how much you enjoy doing each activity is very important.
Step Three: List The Benefits
Next, you need to go through and mark down what you are getting from each task. Are you gaining enjoyment, health benefits, money, making others happy, or something else? This is also very important. You need to know what each activity is producing for you. Be very detailed so that you really know what the results are.
Are you making your kids happy by playing board games with them once a week? Does your wife need a date night every once in a while? Do you really enjoy playing video games? Are you making money by spending so much time on the computer? Et cetera. List all of the benefits from every activity then move on to the next step.
Step Four: List The Negatives
After you have all of the positive aspects listed for each of your activities, you need to go through and list everything that you hate about each activity. Be honest and be detailed. Start with whichever activity you want, and simply start writing. Go to town and write all of the things that are annoying, bothersome, stressful, et cetera. Maybe you don’t like going to work, why? Maybe you don’t like a certain class, list details. Go through all of the activities and write down anything and everything negative that you can think of. Then when that is done, move on to step five.
Step Five: Prioritize Your List
At this point, you have listed everything that you are currently involved in doing. You have also listed their importance to you and have specified all of the positive and negative aspects. Now it is time to prioritize. This is the easiest of the steps. However, sometimes it can also be the most difficult.
The trick is that you need to detach yourself from everything when completing this step. Remove all emotional attachments and simply make your choices based on the facts. If you were honest in the past steps then the information you have is factual. Therefore, you need to follow it and prioritize your life based on those facts.
Go through your list and total all of the positives and negatives for each activity. Obviously, those with the most positives and fewest negatives will be the highest priority. Those will be the activities that you need to focus on doing. The activities with the most negatives and fewest positives are the activities that you will put at the bottom of the list. These are the activities that you should start putting by the wayside. They are the activities that need to find their way out of your life.
This step can be tough because you may be emotionally attached to some of these activities. In addition, some of the activities with the most positives may be activities that you may not enjoy. Perhaps work is something that has a lot of positives, such as money, benefits, pension, et cetera but you don’t like working. This is why it is so important for you to be honest when you are listing all of the qualities.
In addition, make sure you take into consideration how much you enjoy doing each of the activities. Of course, you have given them all a rating. However, now it is time for the evaluation. Try to remember which activities were the first that you started writing down the positives. These are the activities that you unconsciously enjoy the most. Conversely, which activities were the first to receive negatives? Which activities were you able to write one negative after another? These are the activities that you unconsciously hate doing.
Now take all of this information and create a final list. Activities with the most benefits, enjoyment, the highest number of positives, and lowest number of negatives should be at the top of your list. Activities with the least benefits, least enjoyment, highest number of negatives, and lowest number of positives should be at the bottom of your list. This list is your new priority list.
You need to put the most time, energy, and focus into the things on the top half of the list. Then slowly allow the items on the bottom half of the list to fall by the wayside. Work your way from the bottom up and phase out one activity at a time. Before you know it, you will only be doing the activities that you enjoy doing and you will only be occasionally doing activities that you don’t enjoy doing.
Of course, during this time it is essential that you avoid adding any new activities to your list. Doing so will throw everything out of whack.
Eventually, you can re-prioritize your list when you start wanting to do new things. However, when you add something new, generally, something else must go. You can only do so much. Remember, you cannot do everything you put your mind to, but you can do anything. Therefore, take the time and effort to prioritize your life so that you can start living a simpler more stress-free life right away!