By Fawzya Khosti, M.A.Ed., Ed.D. (abd)

Have you ever missed an important appointment, engagement or activity? Have you ever felt like you had too many things to do in a day? Setting priorities is all about knowing what is most important and creating the order in which you plan to get things done. But sometimes it is just hard to decide what needs to be done immediately and what can wait. This is especially true if you have a long list of things to do and you feel they are all equally important. This blog focuses on a simple way of prioritizing your to-do list so that you are always clear about what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

Start by making your to-do list for the week. Once you have made your to do list then you can decide how important something is to you. The chart below will show you how to decide what is high priority and what can wait. Below are some guidelines for setting priorities.

For example, studying for a final exam may be considered urgent. This is a time sensitive task and it only comes around one or twice a year, depending on how many times you have final exams. Therefore, these exams must be taken at the assigned times, and there is a serious consequence for not being prepared. A high priority item can include things like doing your homework. The difference between the two is that an urgent task may have a more serious consequence than a high priority task. Clearly the consequence for failing a final exam is higher than not turning in your homework for a week.

A medium priority item is important to you, but it may not be as time sensitive as a high priority or urgent item. For example, doing your laundry and hanging out with friends are important, but the timeline for when you do your laundry or see your friends can be more flexible.

A low priority item is typically not time sensitive but may still be very important to you. Items that fall in these categories include things like getting a manicure or pedicure. Although this may be important to you, it can usually wait until you have accomplished everything else on your list.

Once you are able to identify what is important in your life, and you know what items on your to-do list have to be done immediately, and what items can wait, then your life will run more smoothly. Make sure you assign it a due date to time sensitive items. You will never lose track of what is important to you again.

Try using an app to track your priorities. There are a number of items in the iPhone app store. I recommend “One List” in the Apple store.