#1: Cooking, or feeding everyone. When I sat down to figure out what my highest priorities each day should be, I ended up deciding that food was number one. There's not a whole lot you can do if you haven't eaten, because eventually you'll die of starvation. Also, kids are freakin' MONSTERS if they're not eating healthy and balanced meals, so scheduling out adequate time for preparing good food is crucial to a happy home life.
You wouldn't go to all the work of painting and cleaning your vehicle, only to not fill the gas tank, would you? Same principle for our bodies. We need fuel to function. Period.
#2: Clothing. Once you've got food in your belly, you don't want to run around naked. Laundry, mending, ironing, wardrobe planning--if these things are done efficiently, you can look pretty darn good for not that much money.
#3: Cleaning. It's number three because you can answer the door and check the mail if your floors aren't mopped, but you really shouldn't do those things if you're naked. Cleaning is so important! I despise that cleaning is so important, but it's at the front of the line in maintaining your family's health. Germs cause sickness. Sickness costs money, time, and energy, all of which I'd rather put to use elsewhere. Cleaning kills germs. Plus, it makes your house look and smell nice. 'Nuf said.
#4: Caring. This is kind of a catch-all category, combining office work, planning, and relationships--you know, those "little details" that make others' lives nice. Keeping us organized and putting a little extra effort into relationships make a world of difference in the "feeling" of our home. (One of my kids loves it when I make their bed up all fresh and clean for them. It's a simple thing, but it means a lot to them. I try to find things like that to do for each member of my family.) This category also serves as a "service" category--if all's well in our family, then I cast my eye around for a friend, neighbor, or extended family member to show a little extra TLC.
#5: Creating/Hobbies. I've tried to bump this down the list, I really have, but through trial and error I have had to concede that my personal make-up demands regular creative time or I get seriously depressed. So, #5. We all need a little play once our work is done.
#6: Celebrations/Special Events. Whatever's up next on the calendar, it usually means some sort of advanced preparation. If I'm always including time in my week for ahead-of-time preparations, all those stressful celebrations lose a lot of their stressfulness. When I realized that most of my kids' memories revolved around celebrations, I decided to make sure that I was prepared for said celebrations. Some years I've been too overwhelmed, or too under-prepared, and I'm trying to avoid that from now on.
#7: Church (or "Community" if religion isn't your thing). I struggled with placing this last, but it's a good fit for us. I believe that I shouldn't be extending myself to the Church if I first don't have my home under control. Emergencies pop up in the ward or neighborhood that cancel out my "home first" list, but they're rare. (Part of the definition of "emergency," isn't it?) And I don't want to be that mom who never has time for her family because she's too busy with her calling or volunteer work. So, #7.
Now, of course, this list comes into play after I've put my own oxygen mask on each day. One thing that my back injury has taught me is the importance of self-care, and that you pay for your health in basically one of two ways: #1: Time, money and effort to be healthy (ie. working out, gym memberships, sweating, going to the dentist and doctor for regular check-ups, eating right, etc.); or #2: Time, money and effort to be UNhealthy (ie. being sick and/or injured, medical bills, feeling tired, emergency repair work and their associated fees, paying through the nose for take-out because you're too sick or injured to cook, etc.). Option #1 gives you a lot of control, and Option #2 is a relentless slavedriver that takes over your life without your permission. Take your pick.
So, my own personal physical, emotional, and spiritual health comes first each day. And that's not selfish at all--how good of a wife and mom can I be if I'm sick, injured, upset, or ungrounded? Not that great. In fact, my UNhealthiness takes over my family's days when they have to do my work, and drive me to appointments. Their day kind of sucks when I'm moody or irritable, and their faith suffers when I don't do my part to help feed it with helping them get to church or doing our regular scripture studies and Family Home Evenings. My family is leaps and bounds healthier when I am healthier. End of story.
I have to do my health stuff first thing in the day or I get too busy to do it later. I'm also a morning person, and I do my best work in the morning. By late afternoon I'm pretty much useless, and exercising is totally not happening by that point. Just nope!
Sooooo, that's my mental list of how to order my days. I also like to assign each category to one day a week, and use that day to really accomplish everything I can in that category. Like, on "Clothing" day, despite doing a few loads of laundry every day, I try really hard to get every piece of dirty clothing washed and put away, and also get through the ironing and mending as best I can. I also try to assign each day to a different family member for "caring" for them--a day to really think about them and find little things to do for them, from making up their bed nice, to maybe doing one of their chores that they really don't like, or making a treat or meal (or just a side dish to go with our scheduled meal) that they especially like. Even if I can't get to doing something tangible for them, at least I was thinking about them all day, and I feel like the love I have for them grows, which is a good thing for us both.
Aaaand, if I manage to get through the entire list in a day, I then start over, but with my extended family, friends, neighbors, and/or community in mind. The list is literally endless. If we just took care of each other, we'd have no poor among us. Do my siblings' families have enough food? Do my children's friends have clothing in well repair? Does my pregnant neighbor need a hand with some housework? Would a friend appreciate a handwritten letter? Could I do a crafty de-stash and take it to the senior center? Do I know of a fellow parent with a kid getting baptized or married soon that I could volunteer to bring a platter of food, or fold programs, or run errands for them? Does my ward, stake, or area need some of my extra time? I want to be that person.
But, for now, I'm busy with the highest priority of raising my own children, so...I don't get to look outside my home too terribly often during this chapter of my life. But when my children are grown up and have flown the nest, it will have been good to practice growing a service-oriented mindset as best as I could during these years. It's the best I can do for right now, and I feel good about it.
So, there it is! Just another woman's way of keeping her homelife in check. It works well for us. :)