With the holidays upon us, it is an especially important time for setting priorities. Additionally, effective priority setting may be a New Year’s Resolution that you are thinking about. If so, the following suggestions may help you to prioritize your time more effectively:
· Choose two or three priorities that you would like to focus on. Record them in a journal in the form of a mission statement that you can revisit when your life gets hectic. It could be something as simple as spending more time with family or improving your dietary habits.
· To stay focused on the priority, give yourself reminders in the form of post-it notes, a list in your journal or cell phone reminders; pair a sound with the cell phone reminder so that you remember to spend time on that priority on a regular basis. For example, when you are inclined to eat a sugary dessert, have your cell phone programmed for mealtimes so that you engage in healthy eating habits.
· Create space to add visual reminders to your day. For example, you may add photographs of family in your study room to remind you to carve out time to spend with family on a regular basis. Or, if your priority is to save money, a piggy bank is a great tool and symbol to remind you.
· Keep a notepad on hand or use your cell phone to record important reminders of inspiration in the form of quotes and observations you make while you are running errands or taking a reflective walk. These reminders can serve as a guide to help you set priorities with respect to where you want to spend the majority of your time and energy.
· Take time to evaluate if your priorities align with your values. There may a lot of things that you know you should do, but ask yourself if they tie in with your overall long term goals and if they combine well with other priorities. For example, if engaging in more social activities is important to you, but you have a fuller academic schedule than usual this semester, you may need to re-evaluate how you manage your time as you work to satisfy both priorities within reason.
· Talk with a friend or family member about where you plan on focusing your priorities in the new year as a way of giving yourself encouragement and gaining external support for striving to meet those priorities.
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