Thursday, September 6, 2007

How Do You Prioritize and Reach Your Goals When You Have 1000 Things to Do?

Some days I long for the time that the only things I had to do in a day included getting up and getting myself dressed, going to school, getting home in time to watch Scooby-Doo, and then deciding whether to ride my bike or play kickball with my friends. I believe the key to having a fulfilling life is to know what is vital to your heart and spirit and to be able to prioritize activities that will allow you to have the life you want.

I happen to be a very organized and efficient person but my problem (other than living in this hectic time in history) is that I have many interests and ambitions. This is not a bad thing but it does tend to fill up my time and schedule with a myriad of choices. However, I always seem to get the important things accomplished and although I do long for a day or two in which I do absolutely nothing, I really do enjoy my life.

I am a list maker and I have master lists, monthly lists, weekly lists, daily lists, strategic lists, lists for work items, lists for chores and errands, lists for home and yard projects, financial lists, and even lists of “fun” things I would like to do. In reality if I wanted to do everything I listed on my daily lists, I would have to add three hours to my day and not sleep at all. You do not have to be super organized or write down comprehensive lists to be able to prioritize, but you do need some system to be able to know the best way to use your time and resources.

A game I play with myself to determine what I really desire is to pretend that anything I wished for would definitely come true. I think of what I want for myself in terms of my home life, work, personal health, family and friends, finances and security, and recreational and leisure time. Then I write these results down and then write down steps to achieve each goal in the various areas of my life. Often a few daily or weekly activities will help you to actually make significant progress towards a goal.

For example one of my major goals was to have a comfortable home I enjoy being in. In order to achieve this I need to do some home improvement and decorating projects, so now I plan to complete one major project a month. Next month’s project is to build bookshelves in my basement to help house and organize my extensive literary collection. This month I have been gathering up my books, cleaning out the books I do not absolutely want to keep, taking the one I am keeping to the basement, and organizing them into categories. I often take just ten minutes a day to these activities, and now a large part of the project is almost complete. I will take one weekend to clear and clean out the area of the basement the bookshelves will be built in, the next weekend to make sure I have all the tools and materials I will need, the third weekend to actually build the bookshelves, and the last weekend to setup and organize my books on the new shelves.

This is only one project towards one of my major goals, but it will really help me enjoy my home more knowing my book collection is cleaned out and organized in one place. So know what you ultimate desires are, and determine both the major and minor steps that will help you to really obtain what you want. Then make sure you are doing something every day or week towards those goals, and try to cut out as many activities that do not help you advance to you desires as possible. You will my amazed at how much you can accomplish and how fulfilling your life will be

1 comment:

Glenn said...

Hi Heather

I've struggled with tasks, todo lists, etc for years. It always seems that the day that I come in to work and immediately write down a list of things that I want to get done that day - and check things off that I get done - those days are the most productive.

I started using an online todo list ( I don't know if it will stick with me but I'm going to give it a try.

Great post!