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Choosing Today’s Priorities: Meeting Tomorrow’s Goals

Updated on June 7, 2015

A System That Works

How far we go, and how high we reach, will depend on each day’s accomplishments.

Each day’s accomplishments will depend largely on the goals we complete.

The goals we complete will depend on the priorities we set.

If those are “givens,” setting today’s priorities is important.

Have you ever sat down and made a list of all the ‘To Do’s” you have before you, and wished that sometime, somehow you could cross them all off as “Done”?

I have made such lists, and by the time I finished making a list, I knew I was already overwhelmed! And I hadn’t even tackled a single one of those “To Do’s”!

The sad part was, each of those tasks was still in my mind. Each had its own urgency, though no priority had been set for any one of the tasks!

It took me some time to realize that with such a long list and no priorities, I would continue to feel overwhelmed even before I started through the tasks.

Books have been written about setting priorities, but here are my basics, and how I whittle “To Do’s” down to achievable “Dones”:

~~~~Step 1: I ask myself: does this have eternal consequences? (If so, it needs some priority.)

~~~~~Step 2: Have I already promised to do this? (If so, it may need a high priority.)

~~~~~Step 3: Can I complete this in the time I have left, and still keep that promise? (If so, when must I start? If today, the task goes to the top of the list and jockeys for position with any similar high priority task.)

~~~~~Step 4: Using the same criteria, I determine what similar priorities are on my list? (Here I have to realize that “promise or no promise, I can only do just so much today.”)

~~~~~Last Step: Any one of those priorities which has an eternal consequence, gets placed at the top of the list to be accomplished today.

Consider the following tasks, and judge how you might prioritize them today:

/ / Gather receipts for doing my taxes.

/ / Sort through my accumulated mail.

/ / Organize “that room” I promised to organize.

/ / Have the car serviced with lube and oil.

/ / Plan the next date with my significant other.

/ / Mail a birthday card for Dad’s birthday.

/ / Have the promised salad ready for tonight’s dinner.

/ / Prepare tomorrow morning’s speech.

/ / Check the bills that may need paying now.

/ / Send an email and photo to my cousin.

/ / Do a load of laundry so it doesn’t accumulate.

/ / Clean out the refrigerator.

/ / Shop for shoes for next week’s wedding.

/ / Read today’s newspaper and check the sales.

Some of these tasks have a deadline. Some involve promises. Some may have eternal consequences, while others may be of little consequence.

These tasks could be on almost any adult’s list of “To Do’s.”

Youth have lists, too. Friends and relationships are important. Some scheduled events are ones they feel they just can’t miss. And then there are classes, and times for “just hanging out.”

Youth is also the time when habits are forming that will make them good or weak at handling money, sensitive or insensitive to the feelings and needs of others, and able or unable to set and handle their own priorities.

If their responsible adults have some system for setting their own priorities, they may be able to teach the younger generation ways they might handle theirs.

Doing so could have eternal consequences. Knowing how to accomplish our goals has a lot to do with finding peace, happiness, and fulfillment today and in our daily lives.


© 2011 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.


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    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      This is a topic that is worth returning to, if for nothing else, to see if I am doing a good job of following my own advice (hint to other Hubbers who have written on this same topic.)

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 6 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I fully agree, and setting some wise priorities can allow not only for overcomig procrastination, but for making life more enjoyable whie keepijg it under control. There is little enjoyment in any day when we "feel overwhelmed" and that events are controling us rather than us controling events.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Interesting hub. I'm trying to do less and enjoy more, which does mean that prioritizing becomes more important. I think that trying to overcome procrastination is also important, as sometimes the energy we expend in worrying about something or trying to put it off, is so much greater than just doing it