Tool Box – Prioritization

Efficiency vs. effectiveness

  • Efficiency is the ability to do things well in a timely manner, while effectiveness is the ability to do the ‘right’ things well.
  • Prioritizing the “right” things can help shape your day-to-day routine and leave you feeling satisfied with your accomplishments.


  • Prioritization is defined as the process of deciding the importance or urgency of something. Prioritization can help us be more effective and efficient in our day to day lives.
  • Think of the time you have in a day as an investment. When you prioritize, you invest your time in the things that matter most.
  • Prioritization will help you choose tasks that can be completed, given your energy and time constraints. Once you feel low on energy, tasks become more difficult and motivation may decrease.
  • Prioritization is a tool that aids in organization and goal setting and can aid with stress management.

How to prioritize

  • Below are some tips for prioritizing your daily, weekly, or monthly tasks. These tips and strategies are applicable to all areas of your life, including work, home and healthy lifestyle behaviours:
    • Make a list: Making a list can help you identify what goals or tasks you would like to achieve. Don’t forget to include your health goals in this list.
    • Review your list: When reviewing your list, look for a ‘quick win’ – something you can complete successfully right away. This will make your list shorter and more manageable. It may also increase your confidence moving to the next steps.
    • Reorder your list: The next step is to re-order your list by relevance and importance. What goals or tasks are needs vs. wants?
    • Rank your list: Next, you want to consider the effort level and achievability of the tasks. How much effort does each task require? How achievable are the tasks? Some tasks or goals may move up or down on the list based on your answers to those questions.
    • Learn to say “no”: This may sound simple but learning how to say ‘no’ and to cut certain tasks from your list can be challenging. Saying “no” to a task does not mean that task or goal is gone forever. You can always re-visit and re-evaluate your goals in the future.
    • Be flexible: Throughout this process, it is important to be flexible and prepared to adjust your expectations or modify your goals.
  • By following the steps above, you should be left with a manageable list of items that matter the most to you.
  • Some of your goals or tasks will require some planning to achieve. To help you build an action plan around these goals, visit our Next Steps Tool Box – Action Plans section.

Want more information?

  • Speak to an Exercise Therapist.
  • Check out our Tool Box- Action Plans to help you build action plans around your goals.
  • For a review of goal setting and how to build an action plan, visit our Keeping on Track section.