Have you ever noticed how time seems to move differently at different times? When you’re having fun, time just seems to fly by. But when you’re doing something that you don’t enjoy, time creeps slowly.

Think about it. When you go out with friends, read an engrossing book or go to see the latest action movie or thriller, time moves fast. When you’re working at a job you dislike, doing piles of laundry or going to the dentist, you can’t help noticing how slowly the second hand is moving around the dial.

Human beings have constantly been trying to lengthen their lives with the help of medical science and better nutrition. And although we’ve succeeded in improving longevity, we still don’t know exactly what to do with it. Given all the time we have, we’re still a bit confused about the best way to use it.

Acknowledging the Problem

The first step to solving the problem is acknowledging that you have a problem. Here are a few signs that you might need to start working on time management and setting priorities:

  • You plan to do a number of things everyday but you only end up doing a third of them. You can’t decide which of these plans you want to prioritize. So you just end up putting them all in your to-do list.
  • You start doing one thing, remember you need to do something else and switch before you can finish the first task. You do this a number of times everyday.
  • You can’t make time for yourself. You keep thinking you need to start cooking, exercising, meditating or just doing something fun. But there’s never time for any of these things.
  • Your friends and family call you a workaholic. You’re constantly working but you seem to keep turning in all your assignments late.
  • You’re a perfectionist; you just can’t seem to let go of your tasks. As this article from Inc. puts it, “If you’re a perfectionist, it’s guaranteed that you’re getting in your own way.”

Priorities: Can One Size Fit All?

The obvious answer to the above question is “no.” Each individual is different and will have different priorities. However, there are certain things that everyone ought to prioritize in their lives, such as happiness, me-time and living a rounded life. If you’re having trouble setting priorities, you can start with these “one size fits all” priorities.

  • Happiness: A human being’s main priority in life ought to be happiness. There are people who focus on success and regret it later in life, because it doesn’t bring them the happiness they eventually want. But you never hear a person regretting that they made happiness their first priority. So no matter what you do in the course of the day, ask yourself if it’s adding to your happiness and whether there’s something else you’d rather be doing—something that will make you happier and more fulfilled in life.
  • Being Good to Yourself: This is yet another thing that everyone ought to prioritize. How are you going to be happy unless you’re good to yourself? Being good to yourself can come in many different forms. Some people prefer spiritual ways of being good to yourself, like yoga and meditation. Others might just like to make time to read a mystery or get a cappuccino. Being good to yourself doesn’t need to be limited to one thing or the other.
  • Living a Rounded Life: No matter how much you love your job, you’re going to start hating it if you spend all your waking hours working. And a lot of moms love their kids but if they spend all their time taking care of them, they’re likely to go crazy. As per this article from Entrepreneur, “Burnout is the result of a lopsided life that focuses on one thing at the expense of everything else.” Everyone needs to have a balanced life, which consists of work, time with friends and family and me-time. And that me-time might consist of exercising, cooking, making art, taking up hobbies or whatever else appeals to you. Just try listening to your inner self as you go through your day; it will help you find that balance.