first things first
Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- Deal with matters of highest priority first; deal with matters in logical sequence.
1830, Christian Observer, On Prophetic Speculation:
- There is a sound common-sense maxim, frequently heard among the wise and prudent of this world - First things first, ...
1922, H. G. Wells, chapter 4, in The Secret Places of the Heart:
- "First things first," said Sir Richmond. If we set about getting fuel sanely, if we do it as the deliberate, co-operative act of the whole species, then it follows that we shall look very closely into the use that is being made of it.
- 1999, July 23, Frank Pellegrini, "House Republicans Quell Mutiny Over Tax Bounty," Time:
- Judging by the polls—which still favor Clinton and his mantra of "first things first" (Medicare and education)—the public senses it too.
- 2007 Oct. 21, Jenni Muir, "Essentials for a wannabe chef—sugar, cream, mouse," Sunday Times (UK):
- First things first, you need the right tools.
deal with matters of highest priority first