How to Prioritize Your Life Activities: a Simple Exercise
It seems that people's lives today are more hectic than ever. With work, family, and other obligations, there are usually only precious moments left in the day to spend time on anything else. This article addresses how to select what to spend your additional time on once the obligations are completed by asking 3 fundamental questions. While the article is very simplistic in nature, I encourage you to try out this exercise. I first did a similar exercise at a conference and I found it tremendously helpful in identifying my priorities.
Who are the Most Important People in Your Life?
Ask yourself "Who are the 3 to 5 most important people in my life?" If you have a large immediate family, you may need to go up in the number some. Once you've identified those people, follow up by asking yourself if you currently spend an appropriate amount of time with them. If so, great! You are on the right track. However, for many people the answer would be "No." So, now that you know who the most important people are, you can make an effort to concentrate more time on those people. This may mean that you spend less time with people who are not as important to you, however, that is the first step in prioritizing.
What are the Most Important Activities in Your Life?
Ask yourself what are the 3 to 5 things that you enjoy doing most. Whether it is hiking, hanging out with friends and family, cooking, crafting, playing games, or some other activity; what brings you the most joy? Are you spending much time currently doing those activities? Do you wish that you could spend more time doing those activities? Are there other activities that you are spending time on that you don't enjoy as much? If so, then maybe it is time to shift some attention away from those activities to the ones that you enjoy most. If you could not come up with at least 3 activities, then it might be time to explore finding hobbies. Hobbies and activities are a great way to reduce stress and live a happier life. Find the hobby that is right for you in this article on How to Choose a Hobby: 150+ Hobby Ideas Broken down by Interests and Personality Type.
What Accomplishments are Most Important to You?
What are the accomplishments that make you feel fulfilled? Maybe it is something that you already do all of the time like providing a home-cooked meal every evening or making sure that your kids have their basic needs met. Or, maybe it is an accomplishment that you are working towards like getting a Master's Degree or running your first marathon. Make a list of at least one success that makes you feel fulfilled now and at least one accomplishment that would make you feel fulfilled in the future if achieved. Make sure that you are devoting enough time to those accomplishments.
Now that you've identified the most important people, activities, and accomplishments in your life, you may find it helpful to write the answers down to keep as a constant reminder. You only get one life, so make sure that you are spending your time wisely. The next step is to learn how to best manage your time to best suit your priorities. Please take advantage of a great time-management technique by reading the article How to Time-Box your Life: Be happier and healthier to make the most of the time available for your priorities.