Personal Prioritization – Happiness List

Life getting hectic and busy?  Apply your business techniques to your personal life with a personal prioritization list.  I call it my Happiness List also.    It is a well known technique for successful people.  Your list might take a few rounds to make a nice concise list.  The list should be not more than 10 items and less is even better.  Think of the things that make you Happy and write them down.  Think also about long term goals and not just the items of the day.

my happy list

my happy list

At first your list might be a bunch of things, but try to simplify the list.   If you have two kids like me, you could write both of their names, but what I like to do is just record the word kids.  I’ll explain why later in the blog.  It is a great reminder of what makes us happy in this crazy world.

This listing of priorities is also an old Time Management technique that I learned in the 1990’s and come back to, every now and then, especially when it feels like there is no time.  From a time management perspective, you write down the important things first, so that when you want to watch TV or do something that is mindless you can reflect on your list.  The idea being if that thing is not on your list then don’t do it.  Use that time for something on the list.

At the beginning of each day you should look at you list and mentally figure out if your plans revolve around that list.  If something is not a part of that list, they get moved to the bottom of your daily priorities.  Now if you are like me, sometimes I don’t know what will be coming up during the day.  By reading your list first thing in the day, it is fresh in your mind and it will help you prioritize things as they come up.

As I said earlier, keep the topic general but specific enough to stand out as important.  Here are some examples:

  • Kids – maybe you have an option to watch a TV show or play some LEGOs with your son or daughter.  I’ll remind myself of the list and pick the LEGO time, even when I wanted to watch some mind draining show.

    legos and kids

    legos and kids

  • Health – when at work do I take the elevator up 3 floors or do I take the stairs – hopefully the stairs unless I’m carrying something that could break
  • Job – Am I being constructive at work or just finding the negative in everything.  Think good thoughts.
  • Job – Maybe if I’m not happy with what I’m doing?  Question yourself,  am I doing something to make it better or myself better?  Like taking a class, our watching a youtube video on my profession or am I watching crazy pets videos during lunch?  What is going to help me be happier in the long run?
  • Friends – when was the last time you had a drink with the neighbor or said Hi.  Facebook likes don’t count. 🙁 Go out and shake hands.
  • Community – When on Facebook and Twitter don’t forget to like and share your local community group events verse just mindlessly surfing around.  Better yet show up at their event and really socialize. 🙂
  • Community – Instead of the next TV binge, look up what it takes to start a local girls scout group ( (PS I’m secretly proud of my wife for volunteering and starting one at the local kids community center.) or LEGOs in the elementary school ( or like my friend Rick who volunteers with the local Robotics team (

Just Don’t Complain, Do Something to Make the World Better.

And use your Personal Happiness List to help manage your time.

You will be much, more Happier in the long run of Life.

Some other examples that might appear on your list:

  • Education
  • new car
  • house
  • vacation
  • new business venture
  • animal shelter
  • travel around the world
  • pay off credit cards

Think Big and not Small.  Think Fun and not work work.  Think Long Run and not Short Run.  Use your list to chip away a little each and every day.  Soon enough you will get there.

As you can tell I use stickies everywhere (darn Scrum master in me).  I write my list on a folded sticky and put it in my wallet, so I can read it everyday.  I have seen other write their lists in the front of their date books or desk calendars  It is helping with my day and I hope it helps yours.

Have Fun and Enjoy the Long Haul.


Greg Mester