The Value of Priorities

One of the entertaining, yet also treacherous things about life, and especially since we entered into the capitalistic/industrial era, is that it is literally filled to the brim with distractions. If you, similarly as me, live in a developed first world country, from the moment you wake up there will be distractions, the smart phone, the tablet, the television, magazines, all kinds of entertainment, and then we have alcohol, sex, parties, I can go on and on. Hence, in this blog I am going to discuss the importance and value of structuring life utilizing the technique of prioritizing. The skill of prioritizing is useful when you want to live and walk into a direction of your own choice – and hence it is one of the cures to distraction. In my own life, I have applied it in a wide variety of settings and used it to achieve many goals. For example, I was able to finish my university degree with good results because of efficient prioritizing and I have been able to push and be a part of many big projects at the same time, because of prioritizing.

What Does It Mean To Prioritize?

I have defined prioritizing in the following way: “Prioritizing is the skill of structuring the various activities in my day, what I want to do and what I have to do, according to a principle that I have decided for myself – it is the ability to be rational and disciplined when it comes to where and how I spend my time and what I do with it.”

Thus in a world of distractions – prioritizing is basically the ability to STICK TO OUR GUNS – STICK TO OUR PLANS – STICK TO OUR DECISIONS – and to not accept and allow oneself to digress and spend unnecessary time and energy in things that ‘feels good’, ‘stimulates me’, ‘is funny’, ‘makes me happy’, etc. but that does not move us closer to where we want to get to – because when it comes to realizing and fulfilling our dreams/goals/visions – the way we use our time must be rational (rationed) and directed – otherwise we will not succeed.

Examples From My Own Life

An example from my own life in how I have practically lived the word prioritizing is the following: It was a Sunday, on which I usually clean the house, tend to laundry and other similar household duties. This Sunday I had decided to clean out an old garage as well, because I wanted to use it for my car. While I was in the process of cleaning the garage, I noticed that the summer tires that I store in the garage as well had not been cleaned as of yet. In that moment I experienced and urge to go and clean them. However I knew that if I would do so, there would not be enough time to tend to my other responsibilities. I took a deep breath, I stabilized myself, and I said to myself ‘No I decided to do clean the garage – and I will stick to that decision’ – and then I practically lived my decision through cleaning the garage and leaving the summer tires to be cleaned some other time.

Another point in my life where I frequently have to prioritize is in relation to entertainment such as for example watching Youtube-videos or tv-series. It is easy to get stuck and convince oneself that there is enough time to watch three episodes of one’s favorite series and still be able to write that essay. However, oftentimes, time has slipped away, and then suddenly, it is too late. When utilizing the skill of prioritizing this does not happen – because when responsibilities are prioritized – we first do the things most needed – those responsibilities which will create consequences in our lives unless we do not get to them – and then – when those have been tended to and there is time left – entertainment can be pursued. This requires self-discipline – the ability to say NO to ourselves when our urges and desires arise and we want to convince ourselves to do something else but that which we see is best.

A practical example from my own life would be the following: I am writing a blog – without warning I experience resistance – I feel fed up with writing even though I am not done and even though I know I am physically capable of longer writing sessions. I feel the urge to click down the browser and go to Youtube to get a shot of some entertainment. In this moment – I take a BREATH – I ground myself here – and I remind myself of my priorities – I say: ‘No – I decided to write this blog – it is a priority to me because I want to share myself, my realizations and insights in the written word – and do that consistently – and I only have so much time each day to commit to writing and hence I do not want to spend this time on watching Youtube videos that will only give me a short term gratification and that I will forget anyway only a short time afterwards – I decide to stick with my guns!’ – and then I act upon my decision and make sure that I continue writing that blog until it is done.

Practical Priority Creation – Step by Step

  1. I firstly defined and looked at for myself what was a priority in my life.
  2. I then consistently practiced doing the things that were the most important first and the things of less importance thereafter
  3. When I noticed I wanted to shift and do something that broke from my priority-principle – I would say NO – STOP – I have decided to do THIS – and then I would continue to make do things according to my priority list.

Remembering to Take It Easy

Even though I find it very satisfying to live principled, acting according to my priorities, instead of my desires, I still make sure that I have a balance in my life – that there is adequate time for myself to relax, to enjoy entertainment, pursue hobbies and interests, develop relationships, and do things that holds no greater purpose in life but the fact that I enjoy them. It is not my intention to become a robot and have my life solely become productive and logistically perfect. Rather, I use the skill of prioritizing to have MORE out of myself and life, to unburden myself from stress and anxiety, because I make sure that all the bare necessities are directed at all times, and that I actually move myself in life into a direction that I have consciously, with awareness, decided upon.