In my journey to simplify my life, I’ve found that I can do less, have less, slow down, and use my phone less, but if after all that I don’t plan my priorities, it was all for nothing. I can put in great effort to make my life more simple, but it won’t stay that way unless I keep my priorities in order. I need to know what my priorities are and how important they are to me. As soon as I forget what is important to me, too many other things start to sneak in and steal my time, my money, my space, and my mind.
This is the fifth post in a series on simplifying your life. If you missed the beginning of this series, start here: 5 ways to simplify your life.
The fifth way to simplify your life and begin to enjoy it more is this: plan your priorities.
If you want to maintain the simpler life you’ve started, there are three things you need to do to plan for your priorities.
1. List your priorities.
You need to know what your priorities are and how important they are to you. Ask yourself, what matters most to you? What will you regret not doing in your lifetime? What do you wish you had more time for? If you can, try to rank your priorities. If you have some ties, that’s okay! Don’t overthink this…you will use this list in order to plan your time and energy. Sometimes it’s nice to have a list to refer back to when you are planning your day, week, summer, year, etc.
For me, I try to make time for three things every day: time with God, time with family and friends, and time with myself. I know that if I make sure these three things happen, I will have a good chance of feeling fulfilled at the end of the day.
These three things look differently every day, however. Sometimes I spend time praying alone, sometimes I simply try to include God in what I’m doing throughout the day. Sometimes I spend time with a friend, but sometimes I simply text them to check in with them. Other times I spend the entire day hanging out with my kids and husband; and still other times I take some time to read to the kids before bed. When I plan time with myself, sometimes I read for 30 minutes, and sometimes I take advantage of an afternoon kid-free to do some shopping or writing.
2. Plan when you will devote time and energy to your priorities.
Next, actually plan your priorities. Make time for your top priorities first or it will be your non-priorities that dictate your time. If you are a planner like me, use a day planner to plan out your time. Write down when you will devote time to your priorities first, then fill in the leftover time with other things. If you are not a planner, try thinking of just the day or week ahead and decide when you will set aside time for your priorities.
When I am planning my priorities, I block off time on my day planner. I might devote 1 hour in the morning to Bible study and prayer. I have been known to block off an entire afternoon to spend time doing whatever my youngest wants while her sibling is at school. And I plan when I can get some alone time reading, writing, or watching a favorite show.
3. Make sure your priorities are what gets done.
Finally, plan time for what really matters to you, and get to everything else if you get to it. You don’t necessarily need to spend most of your time on your priorities, but you will want to make sure that adequate time is devoted to these things. If you don’t get to things that are not on your list of priorities, you don’t need to feel guilty. As long as you made time for your priorities, it will feel like a productive and enjoyable day!
I’ve learned to not feel bad if I didn’t finish all of the laundry, or clean the bathrooms, or mow the lawn. When I am unable to get to things that are not my top priority, I know that it’s because I spent quality time with God and the people I love. And that’s good enough for me.
Well, we’ve wrapped up this series on the ways to simplify your life! I hope you’ve found it helpful and you’ve begun to enjoy your life a little bit more. 🙂
How do you make sure that your priorities happen? How has planning your priorities helped to simplify your life? Let us know if the comments!