Friday, November 27th, 2020

How-To: Find more time by Prioritizing Your Life

By Jasmine Beierle on Jan 31 2011 • Filed under How-To

Stop juggling and start prioritizing.

Need More Time? Prioritize Your Life!

Are you always late for appointments? Do you find yourself re-scheduling activities? Do you forget to pay your bills? Do you do your shopping on your lunch break? Is texting the only way you communicate with your family and friends?

If any of these questions ring true to you, here are three words of advice: De-Clutter Your Schedule.

The old saying “There is not enough time in the day!” gets tossed at me almost every day. While it’s easy to lay blame on the lack of hours in the day, it’s time – pun intended – to take a closer look at why there isn’t enough time in your day.

Before you take a closer look at your schedule, we need to do a little exercise called Prioritize Your Life. Outlined below are steps on how you can Prioritize Your Life, followed by a description of how to complete the tasks and implement them into your life and hopefully your NEW schedule.

Steps to Prioritizing Your Life

  1. Make a list of all the things you NEED to get done.
  2. Make a list of all the things you WANT to do.
  3. Make a list of all the activities you have scheduled for the next month.
  4. Make a list of all the appointments you have for the next month.
  5. Make a list of your VALUES in life.
  6. Time to Prioritize Your Life.

Step 1: List all the things you NEED to get done.

This list can include everyday life activities such as work, grocery shopping, laundry, paying bills, cooking, mowing the lawn, fixing the leaky faucet, etc. Whatever it is, just list it.

Step 2: List all the things you WANT to do.

Now these are things you may be passionate about such as a craft, scrapbooking, going to the movies, dancing, organizing old pictures, you name it.

Step 3: List all the Activities you already have scheduled for the next month.

You may need to look at your business journal or calendar to figure this out.

Step 4: List all the Appointments that are scheduled for the next month.

Again, check your business, personal and family calendars or wherever you keep this type of information.

Step 5: List your VALUES in Life.

This step may take some time. Reflect on what is most important to you. Do you value time with your family or kids? Or maybe providing for your family is more important? Perhaps being there for others is significant to you. Reaching your goals might be an essential value to you. Whatever they are; they need to come from within you. These are your values.

Step 6: Prioritizing Your Life.

Keeping your VALUES in mind; place all your lists, with the exception of your values list, in front of you. Now look at each list carefully and start to prioritize the tasks written down by importance according to your Values.

Now that you've done the six steps, it's time to put everything in order.

Number your Priorities

Put a priority number 1 beside all the tasks that are most important to you. Follow with a priority number 2 beside all the tasks that would be next in line. Continue on with a priority number 3 on the tasks that are not so important. Be sure to take time to reflect on your Values when doing this exercise. (If you’re having trouble figuring out what’s most important, you can also work backwards, starting with what’s least important to you.)

For example: If your most important value is spending time with family, you wouldn’t indicate a priority number 1 beside working an 80-hour work week. You might even find a way to work less hours. However, if providing for your family is quite high on your importance list, then that 80-hour work week may end up near the top.

If doing things for others was an important value then perhaps your previous engagement of volunteering weekly at the animal shelter would be classified as a Priority 1.

Make time for what's important and add it to your schedule.

De-Clutter Your Schedule

Now that you have “Prioritized” your lists start entering them into your calendar.

Using the month you have selected, print a clear copy of the month without any activities or appointments. There are various computer programs that contain calendars in which you can print from. Or you can make a photocopy of the month from a wall calendar. If you use a daily schedule that records hour-by-hour then you should be printing the corresponding calendar pages for this activity.

Start with your Priority 1 selections. Fill in some of the blank spaces on your schedule or calendar. You will start to see that all those activities and appointments that you thought were important may just be cluttering up your schedule and conflicting with your true values.

Optimize Your Time

Be sure to combine activities such as putting in a load of laundry while preparing dinner, and transferring it over to the dryer after dinner. Make lists and only go shopping once per week, include picking up the dry cleaning and getting fuel all in one trip. While waiting for the leave-in conditioner for two minutes, clean the shower. Combining the littlest of activities can save you hours when you add them up throughout the month.

Your life may be complex and applying these short steps may not completely sort things out. If that’s the case, think of these tasks as stepping stones or baby steps that will hopefully guide you in the right direction to finding your goals and true values and the time to live up to them.

And remember, when your life seems to be getting too busy and your schedule is chaotic and life throws surprises at you, you always have your values! LIVE by them.


  1. great article jas~

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