Priority-Based living - Family on back porch with fire pit and guitar

How would you define living a life of order? Many may describe well organized spaces with everything in its place.

I think a life of order is so much more than that!

Ordered living happens when our life and our priorities are aligned.

Most people really do aspire to have their life reflect what matters most to them. But, in our 20 years of helping people “restore order,” we’ve found that the confusion over HOW to accomplish priority-based living is elusive.

It Can Be Challenging to Prioritize in This World

One reason we find it difficult to fully align our lives with our priorities is due to outside pressures and “shoulds.” We are born into a dialog about the way life “should” be lived and what “success” looks like and it is quite difficult to break free from these beliefs.

Additionally, we have a distorted view of time. We hear “time is money” and are warned not to “waste time” on unproductive activities. So, we often unconsciously “spend” our time on whatever will help us move forward on society’s trajectory toward “success”. Many people find themselves on the hamster wheel of life, giving all they’ve got and going nowhere. We are stuck in the daily grind, overwhelmed and purposeless, just “getting by.”

Reset view of time - Woman with watch stressed out

Many of us are so bogged down by disorder – in our homes, work, health, finances, mind, and spirit – that we engage in reactive living. Rather than creating our lives to manifest our priorities, we speed through life putting out one fire and then the next with hardly a chance to catch our breath.

There is Hope!

If you can relate to being caught up on the hamster wheel but longing to enjoy your true priorities, take heart! Herein, I’m going to help you to practically rearrange your thinking and your life to put first-things-first!

In fact, priority-based living is really the heartbeat of Restoring Order. Our purpose is to help people return to intentional living so they can reclaim their lives!

We don’t care so much if you have perfectly matched plastic bins for a photo-worthy garage as long as you experience the FREEDOM in your life to do what matters most TO YOU.

There is another way.

And, everyone has access to it!

Order your life to make room for your priorities and you’ll begin experiencing the abundance of congruent living.


The Priority Principle

If you’re seeking a life of order, this is crucial: To create sustainable order in our lives, we must first identify and live according to our priorities.


In fact, this is one of the organizing principles from my first book Reclaim Your Life and Get Organized for Good. You can read more about this principle and its role in organizing here.

Caution! If we skip this step of understanding our priorities as we begin our organizing process, all we’ve done is tidied up our lives – we haven’t truly restored order.

If you’re frustrated in your life, struggling to keep up and feeling depleted, there is a good chance that your life is out of alignment with your priorities. It’s time to step OUT of obligatory living and INTO priority-based living.

The first step is to reset your view of time.

Reset Your View of Time


As I mentioned, many of us reach adulthood with a distorted view of time as something to be spent and not wasted. This subconscious way of thinking reveals a “diminishing” view of time. If we’re spending our time on things that don’t add value to our lives, it could be due to this lack-based perspective. After all, if deep down we think that time is slipping away from us and we’re serving everyone else’s framework for success, we are going to be stressed and trying to “keep up.”

I invite you to reclaim your view of time.

First, instead of thinking about how you’ll “spend” your time, shift your thinking to “what is worth INVESTING my time in?”

  • Spend (v): to use up or pay out
  • Invest (v): to make use of for future benefits or advantages

Which of these is more life-giving? Investing, obviously! Doesn’t it sound wonderful to invest your time in what truly matters??

We often associate time that’s not being “productive” as being wasted. However, those times of being fully present with others can be some of the richest, most valuable times of our lives!

Don’t let time slip away from you, being “spent” on unimportant things. Invest your time in your priorities!

You may be thinking, “That sounds nice, but I don’t have control over how I use my time. I have to provide for my family. The dishes need to be done. I have to (fill in the blank).” We get it! We have families and life pressures, too!

Here’s the answer: embrace your time as a GIFT that is to be stewarded, instead of a diminishing commodity. When we shift our mindset into the truth that time is precious and that it has been entrusted to us, we will begin to handle our time differently.

When you put your priorities into practice and are investing your time wisely, you find that you have all the time you need to accomplish what’s important.

Family Drinking Lemonade

One thing I personally did to shift my own thinking on this matter was to write a decree on a 3×5 card. It read “I decree that I have plenty of time today to accomplish God’s will.” Wow! That really put things in perspective for me. I might not have time to weed my rose garden today, but I DO have time to sit with a friend-in-need!

Investing your time in what truly matters in the grand scheme of life will take effort, but it will pay HUGE dividends.

Some things you currently spend time on aren’t going to make the cut! But that’s a good thing!

This is where organizing comes in! Organizing is your vehicle for living out your priorities. It’s where the rubber meets the road. Organizing will help you CLEAR THE WAY for what-matters-most! This is the PURPOSE of getting organized, in my view.

We all spend too much of our lives serving our space and “keeping up” rather than having our space and systems serving us! There’s no more satisfying work than getting in the trenches with someone, rolling up our sleeves together, and making their home or workplace SERVE THEM and their priorities.

Portland Professional Organizing Services - Home Organizing

Identify Your Priorities

This topic is so important to us that the first question we ask our clients during our intake assessment is “What are your priorities?” It is the only valid place to begin! We invite you to begin your organizing process with this question, too!

Priority-Based Living Freebie Rectangle

First things first, let’s get clear about what a priority IS and IS NOT.

A priority is NOT a goal. A goal is a short-term achievement; You can “reach” your goals; you can check them off a list. Priorities, on the other hand, have no finish line. You can never “reach” your priorities. Instead, priorities are life-long guiding values. Here are some examples of the difference between a goal and priority:

  • Running a marathon is a GOAL; Having a healthy body is a PRIORITY
  • Making it to your child’s soccer game is a GOAL; Being “present” for your children is a PRIORITY
  • Getting a promotion at work is a GOAL; Contributing your talents to the world through your work is a PRIORITY

There is a tendency to want to start listing our priorities. However, your true priorities should be discovered, not listed. This takes detective work.

Tea with grandma in garden

You can examine your schedule, your budget, and your home and work life to discover what your priorities ARE rather than listing what you think they SHOULD be. This will be a revealing process.

You may discover when examining the fabric of your day-to-day life that – in reality, your priorities are “income” and “survival,” instead of “family,” or other aspirational values.

But take heart, there IS a way to move out of reactionary living and into purposeful living! I put together a helpful road map to guide you through the process of discovering your priorities and then putting them into practice in your life. Download our free resource to get started!

Road Map to Priority-Based Living

One way to get started is to ask OTHERS what your priorities are, especially your spouse and children. You may be surprised by what they say. Stay humble and unoffendable; theirs is invaluable feedback to begin resetting your life!!

Priority-Based Living

Dad Fishing with kids

I’m not going to tell you that priority-based living is easy. Depending on how you’re living today, it will take shifting things around in your life. It may take breaking up with some beliefs that have held you to a schedule and a life that don’t align with what matters most.

Granddaughter and Grandfather Walking

But, I will tell you that you’ll never feel more fulfilled than when your life reflects your TRUE priorities. It is worth whatever it takes to align your life with your priorities.

And, you don’t have to do it alone! We, too, are Life Reclaimists on this journey! We are here to walk side-by-side with you as we all reclaim our lives!

The access to priority-based living is ORDER. An ordered life is a congruent life. Consider this: your priorities are just good intentions unless they are manifested in your life! Getting your household, work, health, spirit, finances, and time organized will allow you to live out your priorities.

Sift through the clues of your life and identify what you need to organize to make room for your priorities:

  • Finances
  • Space
  • Paperwork
  • Dining table

Once you’ve identified these things, add both your backlogged projects and your priorities on your calendar! I feel like this section needs a little expanding, but I don’t have time to work on it now and trust whatever you feel is best.

We hope you are inspired to live the life you were meant to live by putting first things first. Remember, we are here to help you through your journey – check out some of our resources below:


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