4 Steps to Prioritize What Matters Most: Time

Do you have time to juggle it all?

As a society we are busier than ever. We have so many modern conveniences and technologies that allow us to do more, and get it down quicker.  But that said, we still only have 24 hours in the day. Read further to discover the steps to prioritize what matters most – TIME!

How are you using your 24 hours?  

Do you feel a pull to switch things up a bit, but you’re not sure where to start?  Insert 4 steps to prioritize what matters most. But first, some background.


I remember this one time several years ago, when I was sitting in my big office in the brick building downtown Portland and had just a few minutes between the usual back to back meetings and tasks and used that sliver of time to eat my lunch and check in with my self-employed husband working from home.

As I was shoveling one of my staples; tuna and guac, I checked in on his day.  He was *gasp* not working. He had decided to do some yard work and then go get a haircut.  In the middle of the day.  The middle of the week. I’m sure I made a comment like, “Must be nice.” then ran to the restroom before arriving 2 minutes late to my next meeting. The audacity of the self employed flaunting their flexibility and time freedom to those of us working traditionally.

I was jealous of his schedule. You would be too, right?


Then I became self employed myself.  Let’s see, there were the two years that I spent early mornings drafting blogs, taking courses, writing outlines, and building out a website before my “regular” work started.  Then there were those concurrent 18 months of taking a few evenings a week and every Sunday afternoon that I coached clients as my business launched.  I thought that was going to be the extent of my crazy schedule.


These days my schedule does have a lot of flexibility.  I’m grateful. But that doesn’t come without some sacrifice or flexibility on the other end of the days and weeks.  It’s not all glamorous, I promise.  As I type this, it’s Saturday morning at 6:27am.  I had planned to get this blog drafted yesterday afternoon – but an impromptu small business client consultation resulted in the need to draft a proposal.  That took priority…and next week we’ll be taking off on a trip with dedicated downtime, and this blog isn’t going to write itself.  Insert flexibility, it isn’t always attractive.


All that to say, I’m gaining comfort in my time and priorities because of a solid foundation of my mission and values.  I’m spending time in a way that matters most to me, and helping to direct my family unit that way too.  I don’t mind spending time when it’s in line with my passions – but that took some time to finesse and there was also a fair amount of tasks and commitments that had to go away too.

4 Steps to Prioritize What Matters Most

1 . Get Clear

What matters most to me, isn’t going to be the same for you. Don’t try to match my priorities, or do the same as your sister.  Even your best friend or partner is going to have different priorities. 

Get clear on YOURS, then bust it out further for your family unit (working with your partner), and then get to those career/work values as well.  

Do you ever get so much confirmation and affirmation of something that you’re clear that it’s heaven sent? I had this experience as I was working on my mission statement for Journey to Influence. I was speaking with another coach who encouraged me to make sure that I had my individual mission statement down first, before I went to that level with my business.

This was just after my Mom had sent the podcast recommendation below to our #girlstribe chat with my sisters and sister in law with this same concept of having a life mission, family mission, etc. 

Andy Stanley: How to Win At Life

And last but not least, I was encouraged by a client to share the Values Exercise that I utilize with 1×1 clients in a group setting with the gals from the addiction recovery center that I meet with monthly…so I did, and completed the exercise myself for the first time.  They also have an incredible free download on their website with a life plan tool.  Recommend!

So, spend some time reflecting, researching and considering what really does matter most to you.  First, what 5 core values do you want to exemplify? Second, what is your mission statement for your life, or this season of life? Lastly, what do you want your family focus to be?

Now that you’ve done the work to review what is most valuable to you – it’s time to test the theory. 

2. Calendar Check

How often do you see those values, that life mission or plan reflected on your calendar?  For real, open up your calendar and look for these types of events in the past few months, and planned for the upcoming season too.


If you have prioritized your health can you see those carved out times that you’ve planned to get a work out in?  To meal plan or prep?  To move your body on a regular basis?


Most of us are going to certainly indicate that family, friendships and our marriage relationships are important.  Does your time prove it?  Do you have a date night on the calendar?  Happy hour outing with your girlfriends on the docket?  Friday movie night remaining sacred with your crew?

Personal Development

Do you make time for reading, coaching, courses or other education that’s important to you?  Is there time on your schedule for your faith practice?


You knew I was going to go there. Does the way you spend your time reflect your financial goals? Are you penciling in time to check in on your finances – are they growing the way you’d like?


I’m guessing that we all spend a fair amount of time here in the work category. Is the work you’re doing aligning with your values is the first question.  Next up, are you spending that time focusing on the right work? 

Now, you should know that as I type these questions I’m getting my own gut punches here and there.  Maybe you are too.  That’s okay. Some level of conviction can help give us what we need to make a change!

Let’s talk through what to do next after you’ve decided that you want to prioritize things a little differently moving forward.

3. Fix it

I’m guessing that you found opportunities for improvement.  Me too. Walk yourself through these few exercises to put your time where your heart is.

What can you eliminate that doesn’t fit anymore?

I know that’s often a tough decision.  Let go of any ‘shoulds’ if they don’t matter most.

Pencil in the items that need space.

For real.  Put them on your calendar. You can still move them around.  It doesn’t mean that you have to pre-plan your first Saturday of the month date night with your partner.  But if you put it on the calendar – and prioritize it, I bet that you’ll find a way to make it happen that month.

Make margin.

I struggle with this.  White space, extra room, downtime.  Psshh… Could I do without?  Yes.  I have for years.  But I’ve realized that I’m a better wife, mom, coach, friend, sister, daughter when I do have some breathing room.  I’ve been working in lunch breaks to my schedule.  Shut the front door, right!?  Actually 30-60 minute breaks in my schedule where I eat, maybe take a walk, and usually get outside. 

4. Re-evaluate

Each season of life has a new set of priorities.  Don’t force yourself to follow priorities that no longer serve you. So often we just go into autopilot mode and keep doing without asking ourselves if this is what matters most. 

Make a pact with yourself (maybe even put it on the calendar) to do this exercise annually.  September is the second January, it’s a great time to pencil this in.

Experts Weigh In

There are certainly more opinions on this important subject, and I wanted to offer you a few perspectives outside of my own.  Here are some insights from a couple of trusted coaches in the industry, answering this question.

Share an insight around the opportunities we have to prioritize our time in this modern day and age, with all the technology, the shiny objects, and still that same 24 hour period.

John Purcell, Golden Heart Coaching

“How we approach things in life is in part determined by our story. Our story will always be our story.

How we approach that story can be reframed to our benefit.

When making a prioritized list or juggling events of the day, it may be a benefit or a barrier! 

How can we reframe our story to make it an ally in accomplishing desired outcomes? It begins with the fabric of our reality which is awareness.

Ask yourself what is the story that is in my head as I attempt to prioritize and or juggle? Attempt to bring this into your conscious awareness without judging or analyzing, rather just noticing. From there we open up the possibilities to a reframing of our story.”

Marcy Holmes, Marcy Holmes Coaching

“I love all the modern tools that help me prioritize my time. My favorite is google calendar. I have color coded calendars to keep track of homeschooling plans, self-care, work, family time, etc, so I can see at a glance if all of those things have had time set aside for them, or if I need to tweak things. 

Being digital, I can make as many edits as I need to. Planning ahead helps me be 100% working when I’m working (not thinking about housework), and 100% with my family when it’s family time (not thinking about work). You’d be surprised how much more time it feels like you have when you are really doing one thing at a time instead of being pulled in six directions all day long. 

When plans change, I even update it after the fact so I can also look back at the week and evaluate what worked and what didn’t and use that information to plan future weeks. The key is evaluating without judgement. There’s no perfect balance, there’s just an ongoing effort to make time for the things that are most important to you. If that’s two hours at the end of the day to veg out, plan for it. And do it guilt-free. It’s much more recharging that way. 

A third (but not last) thing I love about having a visual plan for my day is that it’s right there in front of me how much I can fit into a day or a week. It makes it much clearer what I am choosing to say no to that I want to do, and that makes saying no to things I don’t want to do super easy.” 

Time is our most valuable resource.

You know it.  They know it. I know it.  Now let’s make sure that we can prove it to ourselves by the way we spend it.

If you are ready to figure out more of this time stuff, join me for a Time Workshop! This is one of my SWEET spots; boundaries, batching, and blocking is what I was sought after before the money coaching – and now I get to talk about all my favorite resources! Time, talent, and money. I hope to see you October 13, 2022 – register here.

Sarah is a Ramsey Preferred Coach
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