Priorities are the heart of the Define My Day method. These are the daily tasks that you will accomplish to move you toward your goals. They are the daily commitments that you need to keep to yourself to succeed.

Identifying Priorities

The daily priorities that you select should progress you toward your weekly milestones. Some may feel more productive than others but they all should go in a similar direction. This is about taking small steps forward to get big results down the road.

In the beginning, many people have a hard time identifying what is a priority, even when their goals are clear. We are so used to doing everything, that we find it hard to figure out what one to three actions are truly most important. It’s normal. Trust that as you follow the process, it becomes more clear.

Identifying what is a priority in life can be an ongoing process. As your goals become clearer and shift with life changes, so will your priorities. That is ok. What is a priority today may not be next week or next month. The most important part of this process is the daily focus on your priorities and the progress and clarity gained from it.


Under each priority, you will see three “tasks”. These lines do not need to be filled in. They were included for priorities that required a few steps to complete. These are meant to be to-do items that need to be done to finish the priority. For instance, if your priority is to organize yourself, your tasks may be: create a filing system, write your monthly goals in the Define My Day journal, create your ideal day.

What is Not a Priority

If you look back on your day after completing your priorities and don’t feel any progress toward your goals was made, you probably misidentified your priorities. That is the importance of the evening review. An important question to ask yourself on a regular basis is, “Did my priorities move me toward my goals?” If not, then they probably should not have been priorities.


There is a strong temptation to place “urgent” to-do list items on the priority list. Sometimes, we may need to do that. but, it shouldn’t happen often. To-do list items are the distractions we justify as obligations and use as reasons we cannot reach our dreams. That thinking needs to stop ASAP.


Obligations also frequently appear on early priority lists when, in fact, they are usually to-do list items. These are the activities that we are morally required to accomplish either because they are imposed on us by other people or we made commitments of our choosing.

Life’s obligations come in many forms. They may be favors for a friend, family events, or work functions. They may be important but they are not priorities. They are not moving you toward your goals.

Obligations may be priorities if one of your goals is to do better at your job or spend more time with family, for instance. It is important to identify the difference between an obligation that we commit to because we feel we are being nice, or we feel pressure, and an obligation that is in line with our values, priorities, and actually is part of our ideal vision of ourselves. A thought that you may find helpful, “when you say “yes” to one thing, you are saying “no” to another, possibly more important thing.” Could your time be spent more wisely on another obligation or task? Would you choose to do this obligation if you had something more important to do.

When you stop committing your time to every obligation and task that presents itself and instead focus your time on your priorities, incredible progress can be made.


These are the things that we fall victim to when we don’t have clear goals and priorities. Social media, TV, excessive sleep, gossip, and more. Having fun and relaxing is an important part of life. Consistent distraction by time-wasting activities may be avoidance, lack of focus, or a way to “rest”. Be mindful of the amount of time you spend on time-wasting activity. Is it stopping you from meeting your goals?

When To Complete Priorities

Try to complete your priorities as early as possible. While your best time of focus may occur at another part of the day, about 80% of the population experiences their best time of concentration in the morning. We are less stressed, have more energy, better focus, and can accomplish more in less time.

The other advantage to accomplishing priorities in the morning is that if an emergency or other obligation arises that requires your immediate attention, you can shift priority time to later in the day and still accomplish them. If priority time is scheduled in the afternoon and that obligation arises in the afternoon, you may find yourself without time to address your priorities at all.

Remember to time block your priorities on your Ideal Day worksheet. By blocking this time, we commit to accomplishing the priority in that limited time. It helps us develop a rhythm and urgency. Ever get a lot done just before going away on vacation? That is the feeling we are going for here. You have a limited time to get your priorities done. After that, the world comes rushing in. Go!

Protect this time from distraction. Studies show that it can take someone up to twenty minutes to enter deep concentration, a point in which we are totally focused on our task and working as efficiently as possible. Any disruption that breaks that concentration resets the clock. Email alerts, knocks on the door, phone calls, it can all disrupt your concentration. Learn to identify what breaks your concentration and avoid them.

A Work in Progress

Always remember that your priorities will shift as you gain clarity. The process is more helpful than actually reaching your goals. Even when you reach your goals, there will always be more to do. More growth, more to learn, and more to accomplish. Do not be afraid to make a mistake. If you find that a priority is taking you in the wrong direction, reassess and create new priorities. No time spent on moving forward is wasted time. It is a learning process.