How Do You Know What To Prioritize When Everything Is Important?


Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize, is a word used frequently in time management. We often hear “Get your priorities straight” or “Know what your priorities are”, but how can we decide what our priority is when we have work, school, friends, and more that we are trying to balance? Everything feels like it should be a priority.

Prioritizing means taking a step back and evaluating where you are putting your time and energy and if that time and energy are adding value and enriching your life.

If you feel like you are struggling with too many things to juggle and feel like everything you have to do is important, then keep on reading.

How Do You Prioritize When Everything is Important?

When you start feeling overwhelmed because everything starts piling up and all of a sudden everything is urgent and important, that’s the moment to take a step back. Sometimes life starts moving too quickly and we get lost going through the motions of our routine that we forget to pause and slow down.

The best way to reevaluate is to write everything down and analyze all the areas of your life. For example, you would write down personal, work, school, friends, etc., areas that are vital parts of your life. Once you have it written down, take a moment and write down why these are important to you. What value do they add? How does it enrich your life? Then, when you are ready, rank these areas from most important to least important. This will be difficult because everything will feel important, but part of prioritizing is accepting that one can be more important than the other.

Everything is always important because we want to do it all, we want to be the “it” person that has every aspect of life under control, but we all know that’s not how it works. Prioritizing means designating something more important than the other, but it doesn’t mean the other is not important.

We only have so much energy to put into something for it to thrive, so when you try to divide your energy, the other areas will decline. Think about the bigger picture, focusing on only 1 or 2 areas of your life at a time, can enhance and spill onto the other areas for later down the line. For example, if you just got a new job and all you’re doing is work, you might have to sacrifice your social life a little bit, but you can’t have a social life if you don’t make any money.

Also, think about it this way, say you have 5 areas in your life that are important to you and you are determined to divide your attention equally. That’s only 20% you can give to each area. If one of those area is your friends or family, do they only deserve 20% of your efforts? If you want to build a business, will only 20% of your attention make it successful?

How Do You Know What You Are Prioritizing Is Important?

Have you ever experienced the opposite where you question if the area of focus in your life is important or not? Additionally, you question if your efforts and energy put into this area are even worth it.

Well, this is a very normal question and you are not alone. Sometimes we do things based on other people relying on us or feel like we have to follow the path that is already paved for us. But you have to remember that it is your life and your decisions.

Here are some questions for you.

  • Who are you?
  • What are your values?
  • What do you believe in?
  • Who do you want to be?
  • What do you want to be known as?
  • What kind of impact do you want to make?
  • What do people see/know you as?

Your core values and who you are as a person will help determine what’s important for you to prioritize. What you label yourself as and what you tell yourself that you are, is what you become, and those are the areas in your life you need to focus on.

You have choices to make when you prioritize, what you focus on and give all your attention to is what you are choosing to make important. Imagine your life as a snowball effect, and each day that you are exerting time and energy into something, it increases and gets bigger and stronger.

Create goals for yourself and make sure your top priorities every day are helping you achieve those goals. Not only will you feel accomplished, but it will inspire and motivate you to create bigger and better goals and increase your confidence.

Finally, are your priorities spiking any excitement? Do you feel proud, happy, or excited when you see your priority list? Does it make you want to get out of bed every day for it? If it doesn’t spark that joy for you then it may not be right for you. Life is about doing the things you love and it’s too short to spend any time on things you don’t want to.

How Can You Improve Your Prioritization Skills?

Prioritizing, whether it be aspects of your life or your tasks at work, it’s a skill, and to be proficient in this skill will take practice. You can be successful in anything if you practice and commit.

Review your goals and your values often when you prioritize. Do your goals and values line up with what you are focusing on?

Stay committed, it’s a journey, not a destination. Commit to the role, you have already identified who you are and what your values are, stay true to yourself and stick to it. Be careful with your words and do what you say you are going to do.

Prioritizing is not a one-time evaluation, but rather many evaluations throughout your life. Priorities change as we all enter and experience different stages of our lives. While you’re in school, your priority is going to class and getting good grades, once you have kids, your priority is your family, when you start a business your priority is work. The priorities of a 20-year-old is different from the priorities of a 50-year-old.

As we grow, our thoughts and beliefs can change as well. You gain new experiences, you get inspired by different people, you see different perspectives, and you’re allowed to change your mind and change the way you see things. What’s important to you a year ago may not be what’s important today, and that’s okay, it’s part of life!

The point is, evaluate your life and do it often. Do it when you feel overwhelmed, do it when you feel like you’re not moving forward, do it when you feel like you need a change, do it when you’re bored.

Why Is Prioritizing So Important?

Prioritizing is important because it’s for our well-being, it ensures that we are learning, growing, and moving forward. It helps us live the life that we want, instead of getting lost in routine and losing focus on what matters.

It’s so common for people to lose motivation and feel stuck in life, and that’s normal, but when you are stuck for too long it can turn into a serious problem. That’s when you need to whip out the prioritization skill and write down what is really important for you so you can get back up.

Prioritizing is a good thing, it will create more balance in your life, help you achieve your goals, feel less stressed, and boost your confidence.

Check out our other article about running out of motivation.

Hong Singer

I'm the creator of Ambition Forward. I keep things simple by focusing on the goal and being consistent in my actions to get the results I want, and I'm here to help you do the same. I encourage you to look for the things that bring you joy and go for it!

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