How to Prioritize: Tips to Setting Priorities Effectively

how to prioritize

Modern life simply places too many demands on the average person, and as a result, we are left with too many unfinished tasks on our to-do lists.

If you are struggling to get to everything on your to do list, you’ve come to the right place. This article will explore a few key ways that you can set your priorities effectively and ultimately lead a better life.

Setting the bigger priorities in your life

When it comes to setting the bigger priorities in life, everyone is unique. For most people, their priorities are in a constant state of flux, shifting with the various demands that crop up on a daily basis.

In order to prioritize your daily tasks effectively, you’ll need a clear picture of the bigger goals and values in your life. For most people, this is a given with work, family and personal projects ranking highest.

If you haven’t already identified your major personal goals, it’s time you gave it some in depth thought. Whether this means consulting with an expert or simply spending a bit more time reflecting on what is important to you, it’s essential that you identify your core values before prioritizing the myriad of items on your daily to do list.

Setting daily priorities

One of the most difficult things about setting priorities is that new tasks and seemingly urgent tasks are constantly being added to the mix.

Email is one of the most notorious suspects, incessantly competing for your attention.

There are many tools and tips for setting daily priorities effectively, but ultimately it’s up to you to enforce whichever method you decide to use. A few tips are outlined below.

How to set your daily priorities: tips and tricks

1. Eat the frog first

The idea comes from an old saying, which theorizes that if you eat a frog first thing in the morning, the rest of your day can only get better.

Trying to prioritize your tasks by ensuring that you do the most difficult, unpleasant or urgent tasks first ensures more satisfaction and motivation to make it through the rest of the list.

Darshan Somashekar, who runs the card gaming site Solitaired, religiously follows this. He explains, “You have the most energy in the morning which is best directed toward prioritizing your most challenging tasks. Later in the day, when you have less energy, you’re still able to be productive with easier work. We have a tendency to deprioritize and postpone harder work, but it should really be the opposite.

2. Alternatively, prioritize easy smaller tasks

The satisfaction you get from ticking a few items off your list easily should be enough fuel to keep you going!

3. Cull your list ruthlessly

No matter how efficient you are, if you are completing unnecessary tasks there will be less time for the ones that really matter. Remove anything that is not important or doesn’t contribute to your own goals and values.

4. Separate your daily list into two parts

If unanticipated items are de-railing your days regularly, create a two-part list.

On one side, list all the tasks you know you need to accomplish; and draw a line below it. This becomes your ‘closed list’ and these are the highest priority for your day.

Any other items that come up (whether they are urgent or not) are added to the bottom of the list, and you can use your own discretion as to when to get to these.

You should aim to favor items in your closed list and squeeze the others in between.

5. Use online prioritization tools

The Internet can be one of your greatest tools in a quest to set and manage priorities more effectively.

There are apps to order your priorities, schedule your tasks and even integrated list management systems that can be linked to your phone, your email and your calendar to create a complete way to keep track of your priority at any given time.

Time Doctor is a great tool for prioritization also created by the founders of

Use some of the tips and tricks outlined in this article to set your priorities and enjoy a more fulfilled life knowing that you are getting to do the important things too.

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