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What Are Your Priorities at This Stage of Your Life?


Original source for letters ONLY is

Original source for letters ONLY is

Priority: Definition

Priority: something that is more important than other things, and that needs to be done or dealt with first

Priorities: the things that one cares about and thinks are important

- From Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

How do you decide which comes first?

I took blank sign posts and added my text

I took blank sign posts and added my text

Your Priorities

Children are a priority

No one understands the shift in priorities about having a child in your life... until you have a child in your life.

-- Sandra Bullock

Priorities Often Get Changed Around

Did you find it hard to pick just one?

If you did, you are not alone, when you consider how busy our lives are and all that we have to juggle in order to keep up with the responsibilities and demands on our time.

On any given day, your Number One Priority really could be any of those things. And it could all change the very next day.

That's because every day, one or more of the responsibilities moves up the list to the top position and summons your attention for some part of the day. All others are put on a back burner for the time being.

In an ideal world, we could hope to deal with one priority at a time. But responsibilities being what they are, we often see multiple issues, all vying the top priority spot at the same time. Often one main priority awaits the outcome of two lesser priorities to solve the overall dilemma.

Prioritize This List:

  1. Your car has a flat tire, but you don't know how to change it.
  2. You are due at the babysitter's to pick up your children by five because the babysitter has to leave for her night job at six.
  3. You have to call the takeout store because your dinner takeout order was supposed to be picked up half an hour ago.
  4. You must call AAA to come change the flat tire and get an time estimate to know how long you'll have to wait.
  5. You need to notify the babysitter to tell her what happened, so she can call her mother to come stay with your children until you get there, and so she can leave for work on time.

Your children, of course, are your Number One Priority because of the time crunch of the babysitter's schedule to leave home for her night job. But you have another dilemma that requires more urgent attention.

Reordering the list will prioritize what has to be done first, second, third, etc to bring the problem to a solution with the least amount of repeat steps (backtracking).

Answer: 4, 5, 3.

Putting Number 4 in the Top Priority position gets the ball rolling to set events in motion toward a solution, because without AAA to your rescue, you can not proceed further without making multiple and perhaps repeat steps.

  • AAA gave you an arrival time window of between 30 and 45 minutes. They estimated another 30 minutes to complete the tire change. This is key information to know, not only for you but for the other people who are now directly affected by your flat tire incident.
  • If for some reason AAA had a two hour wait or no service person to come to you, then you would have had to make more phone calls to get alternative assistance AND your other phone calls would have changed the priorities of those who are dependent on your timely arrival.
  • If you had decided to call the babysitter first without having a flat tire remedy plan in place, you would be making repeat calls to her to constantly update the situation. Performing Number 4 first eliminates multiple phone calls.
  • Also, by performing Number 4 first, you have prioritized the primary problem that will lead to a solution. Armed with the all-important information of time estimates, which others will be relying on, you have reduced the need for making multiple phone calls. Making one phone call with complete information gives each person who is dependent on your timely arrival all the tools they need to prioritize their own responsibilities. So Number 4 is first.

While you are waiting for AAA, your next Priority will be to attend to Number 5, now that you are confident that AAA is on the way.

  • Even though your children are your overall Top Priority, as stated above, making the babysitter your first phone call would not be a wise choice because you would be causing yourself extra steps in the long run by having to call her back multiple times with updated information regarding your repair situation, especially if AAA were not able to service your tire and you needed to call around for more assistance.
  • By handling this call second, you are able to provide the babysitter with pertinent and complete information that AAA is helping you, their arrival and job completion estimate times. Now you can build a plan from this point.
  • Having a plan in place first is beneficial for the babysitter to know from the outset because she is relying on your timely arrival so she can leave for work at six. Informing her of your plan allows her to prioritize her time so she can put her emergency child care plan in place to cover her responsibilities in order for her to be able to leave for work on time at six.

Your last Priority is Number 3, but not a hurry because they can have your takeout order ready at any time. It is a courtesy call.

  • Numbers 1 and 2 were included as informational only, to decide the order of urgency vs importance.
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In the space of a few minutes, your priorities changed as each one was addressed. First the flat tire, then the child care, then the takeout order. In order for fulfillment of the child care and takeout order, the top priority of a plan to remedy the flat tire had to be taken care of first.


© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran

© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran

Circumstances and Obligations

The order of our priorities will be different for each one of us, depending on our life circumstances.

Family, Love

  • Some may have a spouse and children
  • Some may have no significant other and no children
  • Some may have a significant other but no children
  • Some may have children but no significant other
  • Some may be caring for aging parents or their grandchildren
  • Some may have fertility issues requiring sticking to a "special schedule!"

Employment, School

  • Some may be gainfully employed at one or more jobs,
  • Some may still be in school
  • Some may be retired
  • Some may be disabled

Social Life, Vacations

  • You may have a wide circle of friends so that you enjoy a very active social life
  • Some people sacrifice social activities so they can save up all year to go on one great annual vacation
  • For any number of reasons, the only socialization with the outside world that someone on the other side of your computer screen has every day are the people they talk to online.


  • Some may not have extra money left over after the monthly bills are paid
  • Some spend on credit and worry about paying the bills later
  • Some worry how they are going to pay the rent, mortgage, utilities or a car payment every month when nothing is left over from their paychecks.
  • Some have so many loans to pay, they are worrying how each will be paid
  • Some are homeless and are saving up for a place to live

Your circumstances (ex: financial, familial obligations, etc.), how you live your life, who is involved your life, how much time you can or want to devote to people, places and things - each of these goes into determining what your priorities will be and the order of their importance.