101 Priorities Examples

priorities examples and definition, explained below

The process of setting priorities is all about reflecting on what’s most important to you, with recognition that we can never achieve everything we want in life.

Some strategies for setting priorities in life, business, etc. include:

  • Values-Based Prioritization: Many of us set our priorities based on our values, where we rank things higher that most align without core values and beliefs. Similarly, companies might prioritize aspects of business that align with their values statements.
  • Pragmatic Prioritization: This refers to prioritizing things based on how likely they are to be achieved. We may remove things from our list if they’re less likely to be achievable, and prioritize things we know are attainable.
  • Goals-Based Prioritization: This refers to choosing which of our goals are most important, and ranking any tasks that move us toward those goals highly on our lists.
  • Progression-Based Prioritization: This refers to prioritizing those things that will ‘move the needle’, applying the rule-of-thumb of 80/20 – 20% of the work will achieve 80% of the results.

Below are some examples.

Life Priorities Examples

1. Family

Type: Values-Based Prioritization

Family is one of the least controversial and most common priorities people set for themselves. If we choose to prioritize family, we might make sure we continue to live close to them (ie. close to parents or grandparents), dedicate quality time for them, and make decisions with them in mind. This priority might affect a range of life choices, such as which jobs to apply for, which house we buy, and our choice of a partner in life.

2. Health

Type: Goals-Based Prioritization

Health often stands as a key priority in people’s lives. When you prioritize your health, it often means making choices that promote physical well-being, from dietary selections to regular exercise. This priority affects your lifestyle decisions, such as the sports you engage in, the food you consume, and the amount of sleep you get. Regular check-ups and preventative care also become non-negotiable elements of your routine when health holds top priority.

3. Career

Type: Goals-Based Prioritization

Prioritizing career often implies that you are committed to professional growth and achievement. This might mean you always push yourself to take on new challenges at work, possibly staying late and completing projects to the best of your ability. Career prioritization might influence where you live and how you allocate time, with most of your hours dedicated to work-related tasks. It also frequently involves continued learning and skill development to advance within your professional realm.

4. Education

Type: Goals-Based Prioritization

Priority in education implies a focus on accomplishing academic objectives. If education tops your list, you might dedicate significant time and resources to learning, enrolling in supplementary courses or pursuing higher degrees. Education prioritization could affect how you manage your time, with substantial periods blocked out for studying and research. This priority can also play a major role in shaping your career path and future job prospects.

5. Financial Stability

Type: Goals-Based Prioritization

Financial stability being the priority means striving towards establishing a firm financial base for yourself. This prioritization involves careful budgeting, responsible spending, and an overall disciplined approach to money management. Actions such as building an emergency fund, investing for future safety, or paying off debts are often central to this priority. This approach directly influences your everyday choices, from restraint in impulsive buying to long-term savings plans.

6. Personal Development

Type: Progression-Based Prioritization

When personal development is a priority, you consistently work towards bettering yourself. This could involve learning new skills, picking up hobbies, or working on your mental and emotional well-being. Prioritizing personal development greatly influences how you spend your free time, whether it’s reading, practicing mindfulness, or taking online courses. It also generally cultivates a mindset of continual growth and self-awareness.

7. Recreation (Having Fun!)

Type: Values-Based Prioritization

When recreation is a priority, you place significant value on leisure time and activities for relaxation. You might go hiking on weekends, partake in social clubs, or enjoy exploring new hobbies and interests. This priority brings a balance by ensuring the stress of work and responsibilities doesn’t consume the entirety of your life. Consequently, it influences the way your calendar looks, with specific slots for recreational activities, and how you allot your discretionary income towards pursuits of enjoyment.

8. Community Involvement

Type: Values-Based Prioritization

Community involvement being a priority entails a focus on contributing positively to your local community. You may volunteer for local non-profit organizations, participate in community events, or undertake various roles in your neighborhood. This priority reflects a civic-minded spirit; it determines how much time you invest in community initiatives and the impact your actions have on the wider societal front. Hence, it’s a powerful way of steering individual involvement towards communal growth.

9. Religion and Spiritual Practice

Type: Values-based Prioritization

A priority for religion and spiritual practice means you regularly engage in activities related to your faith or spiritual beliefs. This might involve attending religious services, participating in religious community events, or dedicating time to pray or meditate each day. This type of priority influences your life decisions, holiday observances, and potentially your choice of community. It is an affirmation of the peace and direction you derive from your faith or spiritual practices.

10. Environmental Stewardship

Type: Values-Based Prioritization

When environmental stewardship is a priority, you demonstrate dedication to preserving and nurturing the environment. This could mean adopting sustainable lifestyle changes, cleaning up local natural spaces, or advocating for policies supporting environmental conservation. The priority placed on this responsibility influences everyday habits, such as waste disposal, energy consumption, and choice of transport. It signifies an understanding of one’s role in the larger environmental schema.

A Complete List of Priorities for Life

Business Priorities Examples

1. Customer Satisfaction

Type: Value-Based Prioritization

Customer satisfaction becomes the priority when a business focuses its strategies around enriching customer experience. This might mean improving product quality, increasing transparency, or ensuring prompt and effective customer service. Inflated priority on customer satisfaction exerts significant influence on business decisions – from policy-making to daily operations. It dictates a business model built heavily on positive customer experience, with the aim of securing loyalty and repeat patronage.

2. Increase Market Share

Type: Progression-Based Prioritization

The priority of increasing market share implies a business is focused on expanding its reach within a particular market. This normally requires innovative marketing campaigns, competitive pricing, or improved product quality. Giving top priority to market share increase impacts a business’s strategic planning and execution. It underwrites a competitive business strategy primarily aimed at achieving dominance in the target market.

3. Cost Efficiency

Type: Profit-Based Prioritization

When cost efficiency becomes a priority, the focus is on optimizing a business’s operational and administrative processes to reduce expenses. This might involve streamlining workflows, automating certain tasks, or re-negotiating supplier contracts. A drive for cost efficiency influences a company’s resource allocation and operational choices. It underlines a conscientious business approach that seeks to maximize output while minimizing associated costs.

4. Employee Engagement

Type: Values-Based Prioritization

Employee engagement as a priority means the business values the input and participation of its team members. This might involve creating a positive work environment, developing effective communication channels, or encouraging continuous learning. Prioritizing employee engagement tends to shape a company’s internal processes, from management styles to work culture. It cultivates a workplace where employees feel heard, appreciated, and fulfilled, thereby improving overall productivity and retention.

5. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Type: Values-Based Prioritization

When corporate social responsibility is a priority, a business is committed to making positive social or environmental contributions. Companies might implement sustainable practices, donate to local charities, or support community projects. A priority on CSR influences a company’s values and actions, permeating both internal functioning and external image. It is indicative of a business entity receptive to its broader societal and environmental obligations.

A Complete List of Priorities for Businesses

  • Profitability
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Employee well-being
  • Ethical practices
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation
  • Market leadership
  • Brand reputation
  • Operational efficiency
  • Risk management
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Continuous improvement
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Diversification and growth
  • Supply chain reliability
  • Quality assurance
  • Data security and privacy
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Talent retention
  • Training and development
  • Long-term strategy

Setting Priorities using the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, is a prioritization tool that helps you decide how to deal with a goal or task based on how urgent and/or important it is.

The matrix addresses one of the conundrums of prioritization: urgent things get done first, often taking precedent over the most important things that are never immediately urgent.

To overcome this challenge, the matrix proposes four actions for tasks, depending on their position on the matrix, depicted below:

Eisenhower matrix

The four options on the Eisenhower matrix are:

  • Important and Urgent: Do this task immediately.
  • Important but not Urgent: Schedule a time to get this task done.
  • Not important but Urgent: Delegate this task to someone to do for you. It is low risk.
  • Not important and not urgent: Delete this task. It is not a priority.

While the Eisenhower matrix is useful for task prioritization, it may be less useful for longer-term life goal priorities, which may require more reflection on your values and vision.

See More: How to use the Eisenhower Matrix


One of the great difficulties of setting priorities is that this task itself does not help get those things done. Once you’ve set your priorities in stone, you’ll need to work on short-term and long-term goal setting, consider the steps to achieving your goals, and implementing good habits that you will need in order to ensure your most important priorities are dedicated the time and energy they deserve.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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