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How to prioritize so that what matters to you actually makes it into your day.


We’ve all been there.

You get to the end of the day and you’ve not done any of the things you wanted to do. Instead, you’ve spent the day distracted, running from appointment to appointment, doing everything for everyone else, attending to the urgent.

You’re spent. You’ve been going all day. Yet you don’t really feel like anything got done.

The only way to make sure that what matters to you actually makes it into your day is to make sure it makes it into your day.

If you wait for the space to open up in your schedule so that suddenly there will be space for what matters most to you, you will be waiting forever.

Space doesn’t open up itself. You must create the spacetwitter-logo

Space doesn’t open up itself - Tweet

Making sure what matters gets on the schedule (and actually happens) requires you to identify what matters to you.

For me it’s my family, my own well-being, writing/creating content, and my friends.

What is it for you? Write it down. I’m serious.

When you’re vague about what matters you’re vague about your priorities. And what matters won’t happentwitter-logo When you’re vague about what matters - Tweet

Be sure this is what’s most important for you, not for your family, for your mother, for society, or for your friends. Just because someone else thinks something should be important to you doesn’t mean it should.

Once you have clarity there, identify the specific tasks and activities that relate to the areas you’ve identified as your priorities.

For me these include writing my blog every week, spending time with Penelope, Mike, and my extended family, moving my body and taking my vitamins, talking to my girlfriends, and reading books that inspire me.

Then, block the time off in your calendar for the things that matter.

Look at your schedule at the beginning of the week and put the time in for the activities that are related to your priorities.

Then schedule everything else around those things.

This seems obvious, I know, but are you really doing it? I found that I often wasn’t. The week would end and I would be like: Wait a second. How has it been 7 days since I moved my body? Why am I trying to squeeze writing a blog into the 20 minutes before our team needs it to get it out to our community?

Left to the default, your time will never be your own. The only way to make your time your own is to own it.

As a recap:

1. Decide what matters.
2. Identify what daily/weekly activities relate to what matters.
3. Block the time out for those things and schedule everything else around them.

Might you get less done from a traditional “productivity” perspective? Maybe. Might you disappoint some people? Almost definitely.

But your life will be filled with what matters. So how much you did or how many people you pleased won’t feel like it matters as much.

A life filled with what matters is a life well lived. And the only way to make sure you have a life like this is to do it on purpose.



What are your top priorities? What are the activities associated with those things? How do you make sure they get on your daily calendar? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


  • Caroline

    YES!! “But your life will be filled with what matters.” Amen! It is so easy to get carried away and lose focus of your priorities when we don’t treat them as.. well, priorities! To keep that focus is one of my biggest life challenges I must say. Not just in January for new year’s resolutions but all along the year, for work, hobbies, family… It used to be like a vicious circle: I would set my priorities, schedule for them an around them. Suddenly weeks of even months had passed, “life happened”, and what were once my priorities were buried under commitments that creeped up on me – I would feel terribly guilty and again assess my priorities, schedule for them etc. I now keep a weekly journal just to make sure that I’m following up and that I make the time for what matters most to me. Building that habit really helped to break the circle!
    Best wishes xx Caroline

  • Lisa Camhi

    This is a constant struggle for me and after years of having good intentions (and not nearly the follow through I would like) I have learned that I respond well to a chart I can see daily. Otherwise, odd as it is, I can “forget” to get to yoga or meditate or take supplements or plan something joyful. Life just rolls and the things that are important to me roll away with it. So…. I have an excel spreadsheet that is titled “Radical Self-Care” and it has on it all the things I want to do for my well being during the week. When I look at this chart, I am reminded… I make my checkmarks…. I see them add up and I am inspired…. and (fingers crossed – this is new!) a habit develops. Or rather, a new way of being that incorporates more of how I want to live into how I actually live.

  • Yoga, I need to make more time for yoga and mediation. I am better at everything in my life when I do that. I am more productive. Right now I have it scheduled for the end of the day. I need to put it in a more secure spot that can’t get trampled on so much.

    My family – husband and kids. I am good about getting my time in with them

    • Well put!
      Ironic how some of the most *important* beautiful moments of our day unintentionally get relegated to bookends (or otherwise framing) the rest of the ‘substance’ of our days..

      Long story now!
      (felt inspired to share after your inspired sharing)

      After taking some time* on my own this year,
      * (3 months; my Mother had died earlier this year; it brought up alot of ‘food for thought’)
      my loving man came to visit me and my children over the Christmas.

      Thus particular young man and I have always been deeply connected spiritually and regularly easily schedule meditations, prayer time, or walks in nature thru each day, over the course of a longdistance friendship oer 7 years.

      One of the afternoons, i asked if he was satisfied with how his visit was going so far, and could it be better somehow?
      He said he would appreciate if making love were enabled to happen not just at the end of the night when we might be ready to collapse into bed (nighttime prayers etc notwithstanding!)
      Sidenote: I had been holding open to the universe this year, that altho this man was a soulmate, he may not be my Life Partner. So when he returned this Yuletide and was highly attracted to being close to me, perhaps being honest, I can say that I didnt simply jump in without honouring my own pace of caution and time.

      As soon as he spoke his mind/heart, I knew they resonated with how I also felt by principle; re the small-death ritual of nocturnal slumber, i read (perhaps from Marie Kondo – the Clutter clearing diva) that one should not “go to bed” in a totally spent state. Not unlike how we tend to believe we should eat not when we are on the brink of starvation, etc..

      So, joyous revelation for me. One request that, altho we may have shared different reasons WHY, nonetheless the fact was we both were in agreement as to the best course of ction. And it was instant this transmission too, as i mentioned; no matter that i wasnt as “passionate” as he was for being close. The fact that i consciously chose to be close with him at all at this point as well – warranted an honouring of this new framing. A simple matter of bypassing “mind logic” and letting go into ‘heart knowing’.

      I was led to our bed at 8:30pm, and when I could have popped back up again (sometime around 10pm?), i chose to listen to MY BODY. BODY was letting me know, ‘you know what? Whatever else feels like it needs doing right now, to allow us to just melt into “bedtime” NOW, is the Right thing to do’
      I understood it to be a true act of self love.

      That’s what friendship is, i feel.
      Hopefully not a statement of co-dependence, but – in sincerity:
      When i can’t do something in my own best interest (and true self-love), by being invited by a friend, the impulse of higher knowing is sometimes able to slip in to my otherwise over-occupied mind-life,
      this allowing it to occur inspite of myself!

      Thank you for sharing,
      Hopefully there’s something of value on what i was inspired to relate as a result of likewise? !!

      In harmony, x x x

  • Deborah

    With 4 grown children and 8 beautiful grandchildren and an ageing mom with health issues, I could be busy every day!!
    I am tomorrow going to my agenda and listing activities that are important to me and scheduling them in!!
    Thanks for the excellent advice

  • Ingrid Huebner

    I’ve always thought that being able to follow your every interest and curiosity defined “freedom”, and in these last two years, I vowed I’d give myself the opportunity to do just that! However, I feel so stressed from all the things I’ve decided to “follow” or take classes on that I find I am drained, and feeling as though I’m letting MYSELF down. I did not factor in the “prioritization” and “time blocking” that actually make that happen for the things I most want! Thank you for this post….extremely helpful to me!

  • Lacie

    After being in flight or flight for around 3 years I feel like I purposely don’t do as much as I did before because I don’t want to have those feelings anymore . But I’ve learned tools to release these emotions so for that I’m greatful. I would love to be more consistent about how I start my day off right. Like prayer, spiritual thought , and just a minute to get grounded before I start in on everything else. What matters to me is my sweet family, to creat , to give and receive love. I want to be more productive but I’m use to thinking that’s a lot of busy work. So my challenge to myself is to simply and and really look at what matter like you said and not worry so much about what others think I should be doing. I have a hard time with that. Much love and gratitude to you for helping us all!!! Love your spirt?

  • This comment is related to Money, A Love Story (even though I am signed up for the Do Less Experiment!- I just couldn’t find where else to leave a comment).

    I bought Money, A Love Story last year. I have NEVER been organized with my money. Ever. It has always made me feel “icky” checking my online banking, and even sending invoices (how weird is that ha!). I hired a bookkeeper last year, and cancelled it half way through the year because it was quite pricey, then got Quickbooks, which I opened TWICE out of six months. This mentality and lack of organization makes tax season fun as a business owner, as you can imagine (sarcasm or course ha).

    This year, I decided it was going to be different. I bought a calendar, notebooks, and all different colored pens, and have a weekly date with myself where I get a coffee, light a candle, and balance my books every Friday. I can’t tell you how expanded I feel. I feel so in control and powerful now. I no longer feel icky opening my accounts, and I am so much better with getting my invoices out on time. It has all CLICKED now. I owe it all to you and your amazing book. Thank you a million times, Kate!

    • So basically you are saying that after ‘failing’ and stopping short with a couple of other well-intended avenues of financial management, you were led to ultimately self-manage (with the support you yourself intuitively chose) and it basically kicked the cycle of financial allergy that you’d experienced all those yrs prior??
      Truly deeply inspiring!
      I wish you more joy and inspiration again. Happy New Year 2018!

  • I have been using a day planner for 4 years and cannot live well without one. I make sure I have a new refill even in October! I have times and jobs penciled in months in advance so that when a new job comes in I have an immediate answer.
    Good call Kate. ..

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