Allow us to determine with good approximation in a multi-electron atom which electron configuration have more energy. It is a bit like the Aufbau principle, but at a finer resolution.
Note that this is not trivial since there is no explicit solution to the Schrödinger equation for multi-electron atoms like there is for hydrogen.
For example, consider carbon which has electron configuration 1s2 2s2 2p2.
If we were to populate the 3 p-orbitals with two electrons with spins either up or down, which has more energy? E.g. of the following two:
m_L -1 0 1
u_ u_ __
u_ __ u_
__ ud __