“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s,” Greg McKeown wrote in Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. “It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing.”

In fact, priority “stayed singular for the next 500 years,” he adds. “Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.”

Why’s that a problem? Because, as it’s been said, when everything becomes a priority, then nothing is a priority. And, right now, this has never been truer.

Between your daily responsibilities, still reeling from the pandemic, and managing change, it’s understandable that many of us are struggling with our priorities. Thankfully, you can turn to the following 101 quotes to help you get your priorities right.

1. “Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.” — John C. Maxwell

2. “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

3. “To change your life, you need to change your priorities.” — Mark Twain

4. “Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” — H. L. Hunt

5. “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” — Stephen Covey

6. “Never make someone your priority when all you are to them is an option.” — Maya Angelou

7. “When you know what’s most important to you, making a decision is quite simple.” — Anthony Robbins

8. “Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.” — Myles Munroe

9. “Think of your priorities, not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” — Dan Millman

10. “It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”– Bruce Lee

11. “You always have time for things you put first.” — Anonymous

12. “The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.” — Brandon Sanderson

13. “I’m starting to judge success by the time I have for myself, the time I spend with family and friends. My priorities aren’t amending – they’re shifting.” — Brendan Fraser

14. “Good things happen when you get your priorities straight.” — Scott Caan

15. “One-half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.” — Sidney Howard

16. “For honest insight into who you are, don’t ask yourself what your priorities are for next week. Ask what your priorities were last week.” — Robert Reed

17. “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”– Steve Jobs

18. “We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order.” — S. Truett Cathy

19. “Priorities over conveniences.” — Jatain Neha

20. “Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.”– Dallin H. Oaks

21. “Don’t be a time manager, be a priority manager. Cut your major goals into bite-sized pieces. Each small priority or requirement on the way to ultimate goal becomes a mini goal in itself.” — Denis Waitley

22. “Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.” — Marcus Aurelius

23. “Your decisions reveal your priorities.” — Jeff Van Gundy

24. “Create a ladder of values and priorities in your life, reminding yourself of what really matters to you.” — Robert Greene

25. “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” — Brian Tracy

26. “It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” — Mandy Hale

27. “You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” — Charles Bixton

28. “Sometimes when you’re overwhelmed by a situation – when you’re in the darkest of darkness – that’s when your priorities are reordered.” — Phoebe Snow

29. “Be ambitious. Get things done. Keep your priorities straight, your mind right and your head up.” — Anonymous

30. “The life you have left is a gift. Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest. Do what matters, now.” — Leo Babauta

31. “You don’t get time. You create time.” — Sanhita Baruah

32. “Life is short. Focus on what really matters most; you should change your priorities over time.” — Roy T. Bennett

33. “Like it or not, the world evolves, priorities change and so do you.” — Marilu Henner

34. “Sometimes things in life happen that allow us to understand our priorities very clearly. Ultimately you can see those as gifts.” — Mariska Hargitay

35. “If you continually ask yourself, ‘What’s important now’ then you won’t waste time on the trivial.” — Lou Holtz

36. “When someone tells you they are too busy. It’s not a reflection of their schedule, it’s a reflection of your spot on their schedule.” — Steve Maraboli

37. “The reason most goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.” — Robert J. McKain

38. “Deadlines aren’t bad. They help you organize your time. They help you set priorities. They make you get going when you might not feel like it.” — Harvey Mackay

39. “The first step to success is knowing your priorities.” — Aspesh

40. “The Principle of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.” — Steven Pressfield

41. “There is no such thing as ‘I do not have the time’. This is all just a matter of priorities.” — Maciej Aniserowicz

42. “Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn’t always have to be their top priority.” — William Arthur Ward

44. “The greatest reflection of your priorities is your time. Whatever you say about what matters to you, the true test is where you place your time.” — Nick Crocker

45. “The most important thing is to enjoy your life. To be happy is all that matters. — Audrey Hepburn

46. “Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.” — Jim Rohn

47. “Set aside time to plan how you will spend your time. Think about what’s most important. Then do those things first.” — Frank Bettger

48. “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.”– Margaret Peters

49. “Productivity refers to both the action and the result of a process that centers on assessing one’s priorities and then acting on them.” — Melissa Steginus

50. “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, unapologetically, to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the “good.” — Stephen Covey

51. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” — Albert Einstein

52. “The things which are most important don’t always scream the loudest.” — Bob Hawke

53. “In the end, these things matter most. How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” — Buddha

54. “Do the duty which lies nearest to you. The second duty will then become clearer.” — Thomas Carlyle

55. “Make your own recovery the first priority in your life.” — Robin Norwood

56. “Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink, prioritize, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.” — Kristin Armstrong

57. “There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to remember what your priorities are.” — Amy Reed

58. “In all planning, you make a list and you set priorities.” — Alan Lakein

59. “Our greatest danger in life is in permitting the urgent things to crowd out the important.” — Charles E. Hummel

60. “No one is going to hand you an organizational chart. You have to hand it to yourself.” — Robert Genn

61. “It’s important to know what really matters in life. Your sanity; your health; your family; and the ability to start anew.” — Les Brown

62. “Lack of time is actually lack of priorities.” — Timothy Ferris

63. “The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life.” — David F. Jakielo

64. “Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying’“it’s not a priority,’ and see how that feels.” — Laura Vanderkam

65. “I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar

66. “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” — Russian Proverb

67. “The necessary has never been man’s top priority. The passionate pursuit of the nonessential and the extravagant is one of the chief traits of human uniqueness.” — Eric Hoffer

68. “The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.” — Brandon Sanderson

69. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” — John Wooden

70. “When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.” — Victoria Moran

71. “Action expresses priorities.” — Mahatma Gandhi

72. “I have this really high priority on happiness and finding something to be happy about.” — Taylor Swift

73. “In a way, I have simplified my life by setting priorities.” — Karen Duffy

74. “I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything, at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities, not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” — Dan Millman

75. “Life is as simple as these three questions: What do I want? Why do I want it? And, how will I achieve it?” — Shannon L. Alder

76. “What seems so necessary today may not even be desirable tomorrow.” — Martin Luther King

77. “Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

78. “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” — Thomas Merton

79. “Your priorities aren’t what you say they are. They are revealed by how you live.” — Anonymous

80. “Respect was one thing. Survival was another. It was important that I kept my priorities in the right order.” — Tahir Shah

81. “Let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that.” — Dalai Lama

82. “Your life will be a blessed and balanced experience if you first honor your identity and priority.” — Russell M. Nelson

83. “Each night before I go to bed, I take out a small card and write a list of the things I need to do the next day in order of their priority.” — Joseph B. Wirthlin

84. “Do first things first, and second things not at all.” — Peter Drucker

85. “The problem with the world is that people are busy searching for keys but don’t know the locks that they would open.” – Abhaidev

86. “Whatever keeps you from reaching your goals today had better be important – it’s costing you a day of your life!” — Nido R. Qubein

87. “Subtracting from your list of priorities is as important as adding to it.” — Frank Sonnenberg

88. “Make yourself a priority. Fill yourself up so that you can give more to others.” — Oprah Winfrey

89. “To succeed today, you have to set priorities, decide what you stand for.” — Lee Iacocca

90. “I suggest that you become obsessed about the things you want; otherwise, you are going to spend a lifetime being obsessed with making up excuses as to why you didn’t get the life you wanted.” — Grant Cardone

91. “The result of taking on too much is that nothing gets done. Or it doesn’t get done well.” — Karen Martin

92. “If you just make every effort to do the right thing, you’ll come out ok. It comes down to priorities and making good decisions.” — Archie Manning

93. “The only thing a cat worries about is what’s happening right now. As we tell the kittens, you can only wash one paw at a time.” — Lloyd Alexander

94. “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom in life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” — Lin Yu Tang

95. “Giving up the obsession of sign-values and the subservient fascination of the social pyramid, allows us to set priorities in life, find out the core of our true self and appreciate being ‘in’ the moment.” — Erik Pevernagie

96. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Washington Thurman

97. “If your activities don’t match your priorities, you are wasting your life.” — Rick Warren

98. “We know the importance of being healthy but only a few of us are able to manage it. We often have other priorities in life which come in the way of our desire to be healthy. We wish to be successful in life, make lots of money and achieve fame and appreciation in the world. Sometimes, we end up fulfilling these desires by sacrificing our health.” — Awdhesh Singh

99. “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” — M. Scott Peck

100. “all we need to decide is what to do with the time has given us…” — J.R.R. Tolkien

101. “Take all those things that would propose to be important, and weigh them upon the scale of your soul. Asking how much each thing actually impacts, not just the moment, but the years ahead. Discard all that is trivial masquerading as significant, and reserve your days for those things that truly matter.” — L.M. Browning

Image Credit: ketut subiyanto; pexels; thank you!