Everyone knows what their priorities are. For some people, it might be really important to get ahead at work while others might put their families above all else. Some people also prioritize health and making time for themselves. Fashion and beauty might be priorities for others. So it’s really up to you what you choose to prioritize. No one else can do that for you. It all depends upon what you think is important in your life and what makes you happy.

Although most people have a rough idea about their priorities, they may not necessarily make the time to sit down and clarify them completely. Let’s say your job, your spouse, your writing hobby and your health are important to you. But which of these is most important? And which of them is the least? And do you actually spend more time on the one that’s more important and less time on the one that’s less important? Or, like most people, do you end up spending more time on your job, which is actually less important to you, and less time on your writing hobby which you hope to one day turn into a profession? If you feel like you need to spend more time clarifying your priorities and managing your time better, read the following tips:

  1. Take Stock: The first thing you should do is take stock of where you spend your time. In order to do this, keep a diary. Jot down all the things you do and how much time you spend on each activity. This might seem laborious. Or you might write down when you started a task and forget to write down when you ended it. Don’t worry. It’s not necessary to know exactly how many hours, minutes and seconds you spend on everything. You just need to get a rough idea of where your time is going.
  2. Evaluate: Once you’ve taken stock for at least 3-4 days, you need to evaluate the results. This is what this article from Huffington Post refers to as “getting real.” Take a sheet of paper and make columns on it. In each column, you can write how much time you put into each activity. You don’t need to make columns for each and every activity, such as showering, eating lunch or traveling to work. These are things that everyone has to do. But make sure that you have a column for every meaningful activity. Then you can total up each column and see how many hours you devoted to each of them.
  3. Rearrange: You might be shocked to find how much time you spent doing things that weren’t really that important and how you blatantly ignored the things that really mattered. For example, did you go to the gym twice a day and end up spending two-three hours there while you only spent half an hour a day on writing your novel? If so, you can easily take some time away from the gym and give it to writing. Most of the time, you’ll easily be able to see where you spent more time and where you spent less. This will give you a chance to rearrange.
  4. Motivate: Sometimes, you might already know where you’re spending too much time and where you’re spending too little. But maybe you’re doing this because you haven’t bothered to motivate yourself to do the things that matter. In this case, you can try a few motivational tricks to push yourself towards fulfilling your priorities. Do you have a nice work desk and chair at which you can write your novel? Do you have a study where you can peacefully, quietly do your writing? Have you surrounded yourself with books and artworks that inspire you? Do you go out to celebrate every time you finish a chapter? These are little tricks that will keep you going, no matter what your priorities are. Just put a bit of thought into what you can do to make that activity interesting and fun. If you spend a lot of time doing things that you’re not motivated to do, you might end up suffering from burnout.

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