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Prioritizing: Tips For Determining What Is Important
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, April 2009

At a time when we have so much going on and there are competing priorities pulling us in different directions, it is easy to lose sight of those things that are of real importance. We may find our daily lives consumed with errands, chores, and worries that deplete us, and we put off creating time to prioritize those activities which sustain us. The result can be a less happy outlook on life.

The effort to bring more satisfaction in our daily lives requires deliberate, consistent choice. This does not have to be difficult, although it may feel that way when we contemplate saying "no" to those nagging activities that "eat" into our time. We CAN develop the habit of choosing what's vitally important over what is less so.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Think About What You Would Like To Do - Which activities do you dream about doing but never seem to find the time? Reading for pleasure? Taking a leisurely hike? Attending a retreat? Traveling? Write them down and keep them foremost in your mind.

Decide What Activities Must Be Done - These include things you simply cannot ignore, like going to work, paying the mortgage, and raising a family.

Carefully Examine and Cut Out Some of the Other Activities - This may not be easy at first, but it is important. Those activities that don't NEED to be done or do not feed your soul will take valuable time from your life that you COULD devote to what counts.

Remember That Other People's Priorities (and Dramas) Need Not be Yours - It is easy to be drawn into someone else's life and needs. Only you can decide who is the recipient of your precious time and attention. Just make sure that this does not ALWAYS happen at the expense of focusing on your priorities.

When you attend to what is important to you, you will begin to fill your days with thoughts, feelings, and activities that refresh and sustain you. By prioritizing activities, you can live a life with purpose, curiosity and passion.

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