Do you have a list of things you should be doing, but are struggling to? Do you want to do many things that would make you feel like you´re achieving something, but you just can´t see the end of it and end up feeling tired, lazy or like you´re not achieving much?
I know where you´re coming from. I´ve been there, I know people who have the same problem.
he shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time. “–Sydney Smiles
Most of the time, we want to pack as much as we can in a day. This isn´t a bad thing, if, at the end of the day, we managed to do the things we planned for the day. If we didn´t, then we feel like we´re missing out, we are behind schedule or that we´re not doing as much as we could.
These are feelings normally associated with project related work in an office. Deadlines and stress about missing them. But there´s a BIG difference – in the office, we answer to a boss and most of the deadlines are given to us by the folks up the ladder. But in your private life, you are the only person that sets these deadlines. Now isn´t that liberating, you can decide when to do what. Yeah, I know, it´s bloody obvious, but still, we manage to give ourselves either too many tasks in a short time, or too short deadlines, for no real reason.
You want to learn a language? You want to acquire a new skill, go volunteer, take up a dancing class, plan a long holiday, sell your shit, learn a martial art, go to a ballet class, become a currency trader? Great! You should.
But first, think about how much time you have now, in your life as it currently is, to spend on each project. And how important each thing / project is to you, and how much time do you actually have to do it, what deadline should you think about. Let me guess, in many cases, you don´t have much time each day, but you have your whole life to do achieve these projecst. Great, that removes the pressure and urgency.
So now, you know the importance and urgency of each activity in relation to your life, you can prioritize them and decide when and how often to do them.
This is the part that is difficult. We try to do many things at once, so that we get the feeling like we´re making the most of our life. We plan to do 5 activities each day, but we end up doing 2 of them, therefore feeling like we failed.
So how about we take all the 5 activities, and spread them out, because you do have your entire life to do them. Don´t use this to procrastinate of course, I´m not asking you to put them on hold, but instead, to spread them out more evenly throughout your week / month or even a year.
Let´s say you take the 5 activities, let me make up a random list here:
- learn to speak Russian
- learn to knit like your grandma
- take up kickboxing
- get fitter by running
- learn to dance Jumpstyle (wait until 1:00 min!) and kick some ass, jumpstyle, like these guys. (nope, the first one is not me.)
and instead of trying to do all of them each day or in a week, do this:
- go running every second day
- go kickboxing every weekend (or once a week)
- make each sunday a knitting day
- do 1 hour of Russian three times a week
- go to a jumpstyle class once a month (or even better start one!)
The difference here is that each day, you´ll only have one or two things to do, but you are working on all of these things in the long term. Having 1 or two things to do each day and actually accomplishing them, will make you feel much happier, than having 5 things to do and only managing to do 2 of them.
In each of these cases, you achieve the same result, but only in one case, you´re happy about it :). Which one will you pick?
I´d love to hear any other suggestions, anything that works for you to progress your goals, without feeling stressed.