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3 Steps to Keeping Your Priorities in Life

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I was at lunch with a good friend last week and we started talking about wellness, and how we get pulled away so easily from sticking to the priorities in our life that produce wellness. Oh, you know, things like those New Year’s resolutions I left by the wayside…

She said that her current priorities were caring for her family, getting out of debt, and figuring out work/life balance. As we talked, we came up with something we called the Priorities Test. It’s the ultimate in wellness tips because it will help you focus on what brings true wellness into your life. Here’s how the Priorities Test works.

First, come up with your priorities.

The key is to clearly define your priorities so that you can easily identify the clutter in your life. Once you’ve come up with your list, rank them. That way, if you have to decide between your priorities, you’ll have already determined the importance of each. Try to max out your list at a manageable number; you can always add to the list later.

Second, test every decision against your priorities.

So my friend who prioritized with caring for her family, getting out of debt, and figuring out her work/live balance has a side business in the art world. Unfortunately, her business doesn’t generate a lot of money, but she loves it. So when a chance came up to curate a show, she did the Priorities Test: Okay, will this help me care for my family? No, it will actually take time away from my family. Will it help me get out of debt? No, it won’t bring in a dime. What effect will it have on my work/life balance? It will give way too much weight to the work side of the scale.

She didn’t completely turn away the curating opportunity; she tabled it for a few months. Sometimes, we have to compromise between what we want to do and what we need to do.

Third, accept that there are good choices and better choices.

I had the opportunity last week to volunteer at my son’s school. I enjoy volunteering and I think it’s helpful in my parenting because I’m in my child’s world and I can pick up on things I might miss if I didn’t get to campus occasionally. So accepting would be a good choice. But a better choice was saying no. Why? Well, to fill that volunteer time slot I would have to be away from my family on a Saturday morning, and since we don’t get that much time when we’re all home, I declined.

So look at where you spend your time, your energy, and even your money. Are those choices, for the most part, in line with your priorities? If not, apply the Priorities Test more often. You’ll feel so much better when your life is in sync with your priorities. I know that I do. When I filter my decisions based on my top priority–following God–things are clearer. What about you? What are your priorities and how do you make sure you’re living by them?

Tell us! Why do you think we get distracted from the things that are most important to us?


What are the three most important things in your life?

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