What are priorities, how to set them correctly and where else is this word used?

January 19, 2021

Hello, dear readers of the KtoNaNovenkogo.ru blog. Today I want to talk about the rather diverse word “priority”, which is used in law, science, traffic rules and dozens of other life situations.

What is it, what is the interpretation of the term in various fields and examples of its correct use in everyday life. Actually, this will be discussed in the next ten paragraphs.

Classification of priorities

Values ​​in life can be compared to guidelines. At the right time, a person can rely on them and use them to check the correctness of the chosen direction. These are personal qualities, human beliefs, ideals and a sense of the correctness of what an individual does in life. When priorities in life are vague, there may be a loss of meaning in existence and, as a result, a state of despair.

If, for example, there are problems with the position of the financial plan, or it is sometimes not too easy for a person to make a decision on some issue, this means that the world within him does not correspond to the surrounding reality.

Important! Priorities, which can also be called attitudes, are good companions for living a full, vibrant and productive life.

Priorities are a purely individual matter and different for each person, man and woman. They may depend on upbringing in the family, what was said and instilled in the child from childhood (how he was raised and taught at school). The foundation of a harmonious personality is laid from an early age through the instillation of moral qualities and other undeniable virtues.

Choosing Priorities

The list of priorities can be very long. However, out of the entire existing variety of values, three main ones are distinguished:

  • Everything related to professional activity: business, career, work, job search, resume writing and everything related to the chosen path of work;
  • Everything that relates to matters of a personal nature: personal relationships and personal life;
  • Everything that can be considered personal development: spiritual growth, knowledge of oneself and life.

Detailed list

Different priorities:

  • Home, money, comfort. Orderly life. Close relationship with the sphere of family and leisure, as well as work, business and business.
  • Family, children, mutual understanding. All long-term relationships in couples, relatives and friends. There is also love (care, respect, attention).
  • Love, relaxation, entertainment and excitement. Values ​​of joy and pleasure: travel, romance, games and so on.
  • Education and professional development. As a rule, doing any business is not complete without experience and education. This simultaneously concerns the spheres of “business” and “own development”.
  • The next example of life priorities is career, status, power. The value of social development, which implies obtaining new opportunities to do and influence and gaining a higher social status.
  • Business, projects. This refers to everything a person does in life: work, plans, ideas and projects.
  • Health, beauty, harmonious development. This is the value of the body: appearance, figure, muscles, ability to move. Refers to one's own development and personal life.
  • Personal growth, psychological and social skills. Everything related to personal development. In short, this can be called wisdom: maturity, attention to other people, thoughtful conclusions. Psychological skills include mastery of emotions, overcoming fears, clarity and purity of thinking. Social skills - behavior in society.
  • Spiritual growth, knowledge of life, realization of purpose. Spiritual aspirations are evidenced by a life intended not only for oneself, high motives and the desire to leave something good behind.

Factors influencing priorities in a person’s life

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In order to set priorities in life, it is necessary to take into account the influence of some factors that may seem insignificant and simple, but this is only at first glance. In fact, they influence a person’s position in life and specific views:

  • Time can be put in first place among all such factors. Many people in their youth do not often think about maintaining their health or family life. They give greater preference to career or fun. At a more mature age, they begin to place values ​​in an order completely opposite to the first.
  • The next factor is the events that happened in everyone’s life. Here, an important role is played by what they were like: bad or good, sad or joyful. These events determine how a person looks at this or that situation in life, having in his arsenal the experience of similar things in the past.
  • The most important and even key factor is considered to be the experienced difficulties in life in any one or several areas at once. There may be two options for how events will develop. If some failures occur in work or in its search, a person may strive even more for a better result or, fearing past losses, completely lose all hope and put this priority in place last.

Priority Criteria

There is no one right way to prioritize; each situation requires a different approach. For example, in one case it is more logical to start work with the most urgent task, in another - with the most important, and in the third - with the most enjoyable.

The following priority criteria are most often used in time management:


In everyday speech, importance can mean anything. For example, “important” things in everyday life are often simply called urgent things (“buy sugar”) or things related to emotions (“going to a concert of your favorite band”).

However, in time management, those goals and tasks that help a person change his life in the right direction are usually considered important.

This leads to two definitions:

1. An important goal is a goal that corresponds to a person’s core values. For example, the goal “to create an online store” will be important if a person’s main value is “material well-being,” and less important if he is more concerned about “creativity” or “spiritual development.”

Here are more examples of how the importance of goals changes in the context of different values:

If a goal does not correspond to values, achieving it will not bring satisfaction to a person. She, of course, will change his life, but she will not change it at all in the way he would like.

2. An important task is a task that is aimed at achieving the main goals or, again, corresponds to the main values.

For example, let’s say our main goal is “to create an online store.” In the context of this goal, the task of “choosing a domain name for the site” will be considered important, but “cleaning out the closet” will not. This does not mean that there is no need to clean out the closet at all: this task simply does not bring us closer to the stated goal.

More examples:

Importance is the main priority criterion because it directly affects our lives.


The urgency of a task is determined by the deadline for its completion (deadline). Failure to complete the task by this deadline will result in trouble, lost profits, or the task becoming irrelevant.

For example, let’s take the task “write a report”:

  • If it needs to be submitted in an hour, this is a very urgent task.
  • If it’s in the evening, it’s just urgent.
  • If in three days - less urgent.
  • If you don’t have to write it, it’s not urgent.

A task may not have a specific deadline, but it will still be urgent. For example, if our refrigerator is broken, it needs to be repaired as soon as possible (otherwise the food may spoil). For such tasks, the deadline has already arrived and the sooner we complete them, the better.

Here are more examples:

The urgency test can be applied to all ongoing cases. It is especially useful when we actively interact with the outside world or other people: with clients, colleagues, officials, etc. Prioritizing according to urgency allows us not to “drown” in business and avoid troubles.

Urgency and importance are used in the Eisenhower Matrix, the most popular prioritization technique.


Cost is the amount of time, effort, money and other resources required to complete a task or achieve a goal. All other things being equal, the option where these costs are the lowest will be considered priority.

For example, we want to buy a book. It is sold in two online stores at the same price - 750 rubles. But in the first store, delivery of a book to our region costs 350 rubles, and the second store delivers the book for free. Naturally, it is better for us to choose the second store.

Expected results

The criterion shows how profitable it will be to complete a particular task.

For example, we want to advertise our services on a social network. We found three groups with a suitable topic, with the same reader engagement and the same advertising prices. But the first group has an audience of 20,000 people, the second - 30,000, and the third - 50,000. It is preferable to choose the third group, since it will probably have more clicks on advertising.


Efficiency is the ratio of the two previous criteria: expected results and expected costs.

Let's take the example of social media advertising again. This time let's imagine that each group has its own advertising price. Let's calculate the effectiveness of placing an ad in each group:

Measuring your tasks by efficiency is usually much more useful than simply by costs or results. This criterion is good because it helps you achieve goals with minimal effort.

“Pleasant / not pleasant”

Although this criterion is completely subjective, it is great for increasing personal effectiveness. It can be used in two directly opposite ways:

Method 1. Complete tasks in the order of their “trouble”. What is it for? First, the sooner we take on an unpleasant task, the more strength and determination we have to complete it. Second, unpleasant things are often the most important things to do, and their unpleasantness is associated with “stepping out of your comfort zone.” This approach is called the “frog method”.

Method 2. Start with something pleasant. If you can't bring yourself to start working, do the part of it that causes you the least resistance. This approach is called the "Swiss cheese method."

Environmental friendliness

Sustainability is a goal or mission that is consistent with our values, morals, or character. If a goal is not environmentally friendly, achieving it can negatively affect our internal state.

For example, if an incorrigible introvert becomes the owner of a company, he will have to constantly communicate with subordinates, clients, business partners, etc. This is unlikely to make him happier.

This criterion can be used to set priorities in life and to determine main goals. It's simple: the more environmentally friendly our choices, the better we feel and the more satisfied we are with our lives.

Specific criteria

These include those priority criteria that have a very narrow and specific scope of application. They are not suitable for assessing ordinary goals and objectives, but are used only in certain life situations related to choice: buying a car, looking for a new job, searching for employees, etc.

Let's say we decide to rent a house. The following factors may influence our choice:

  • Rent price;
  • Apartment area;
  • Layout;
  • Distance to work;
  • Availability of certain amenities (balcony, air conditioning);
  • The appearance of the house or area;
  • Owner's identity, etc.

Sometimes only one of these criteria (for example, price) can be decisive for us, and sometimes some special combination of various characteristics. In some cases, it is convenient to use special selection techniques, for example, the multi-criteria evaluation method.

How to determine your priorities

In order to be able to correctly prioritize in life, you need to decide on your desires, to do this, analyze your own thoughts, spending some time on this. For example, you need to ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I really want?
  • My goals, what are they?
  • In order to achieve them, what am I willing to do?
  • What can you give up in the near future?

Psychology of color - what significance does it play in a person’s life, what does it influence?

Questions of this kind seem very ordinary at first consideration, but with due attention to them they will be able to help reveal the full importance and possibility of achieving what you want, most importantly, they will push you in determining priorities.

Important! By answering these questions, a person, without knowing it, can already at least partially understand how to set priorities in his life.


Men's priorities

Life priorities are also a sign of gender. A man is rightfully the protector of his family and home; he is a support and leader for loved ones. Self-realization for him is not an empty phrase, it is very important. It is in this status that a man feels good and confident.

Financial independence is an important male priority. The most common goals for men are:

  • Providing finances;
  • Career, work activity;
  • Health;
  • Complete rest.

Men's priorities

Women's priorities

The aspirations of women are fundamentally different from the values ​​of men. The fair half tends to pay much more attention to family concerns, relationships with their significant other, and children. Comfort in the house is important to them, so that everyone living in it feels good and comfortable. They take care of the health of each family member and observe traditions.

With some exceptions, women most often place work at a lower place in their list of values. Priority value areas for women:

  • Home and family;
  • Health status;
  • Development and spirituality;
  • Quality rest.

Women's priorities

What else?

A person’s life priorities list and other values ​​include. Among them are the following:

  • Moral.
  • Tolerance.
  • Creative self-realization.
  • Hope.
  • Kindness.
  • Forgiveness.
  • Discipline.
  • Gratitude.
  • Altruism.
  • Patience.
  • Compassion for people and animals.
  • Faith in others.
  • Honesty.
  • Optimism.

Abraham Maslow's Categories of Needs

Spheres of a person’s life - what they exist

An American psychologist named Abraham Maslow put forward his own theory, which is that human needs can be classified into a hierarchy. This theory is very popular in the marketing field, since this pyramid provides good opportunities for motivating the buyer to purchase a much larger product range. The psychologist identified five types of needs:

  • Firstly, primitive - everything related to physiology (food, drink, etc.);
  • Secondly, safety. This includes taking care of a cozy home, good living conditions;
  • Thirdly, communication with people, life in society, also love and affection;
  • Fourthly, everything related to work and career;
  • Fifthly, spirituality, as well as self-development.

True and false values

The existence of entire civilizations depends on the ability to distinguish between these two types. Historical sources show us the disappearance of many cultures due to the fact that people forgot who they really were and preferred imposed values ​​​​and fictitious ideals.

But, as you know, someone else’s experience does not teach you anything. False values ​​continue to destroy everything that needs to be protected: health, friendship, love. Most often, such priorities are imposed by loved ones and society as a whole. The realization of a mistake comes with bitter disappointment due to the acquisition of what only seemed worthwhile.

How to set life priorities correctly

First of all, you need to take control of the situation in life. This requires a detailed analysis of it and all everyday events. You can use paper and pen to write down everything you have done for the last week. This way you can determine what you spend the most time on. This makes it easier to understand what is more important in life and what is not.

How to learn to prioritize

Making a list of things that need to be done also helps very well in this science of life. Plus, it’s a good idea to write things down in order of importance. If you influence the brain in this way, then very soon the ability to correctly prioritize will appear.

Meaning of the word

First of all, it must be said that this word came to us, like most other words, from the Latin language. Translated, prior means “first, senior.” So, what is priority, what does this word mean?

  1. This is a kind of temporary primacy in the implementation of a certain activity.
  2. Regarding scientific achievements, this is an invention, discovery (i.e. priority of discovery). On the date of this invention (the date of publication of information about the invention or the date of provision of information about it to third parties), certain authorities establish the emergence of the rights of the author.
  3. In jurisprudence, this is the primary meaning of a certain legal act.
  4. Regarding traffic rules, priority is the right to priority passage in relation to other road users.

After considering all the above explanations, it became extremely clear how this word should be understood. However, it is worth saying that it is most often used in everyday life and means the priority of something (or someone) in relation to the rest (rest).

Highlight the most urgent

The to-do list should clearly indicate deadlines so that it is easier to determine what needs to be done immediately and plan further actions depending on the deadline.

Setting deadlines, even if they are not formally required, is also important, otherwise you will continue to put off important tasks simply because they are not time-bound. (This principle can also help improve productivity and minimize procrastination.)

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