Dis-traction Dat-straction Everywhere you look
We are busy people with distractions all around us begging for our attention. The latest statistic shows that we are exposed to about 5,000 ads every single day. We have a lot of ideas of our own about what we want to get done but not enough time to do everything. How do we pick what goal we are going to work towards with so many things biding for our time and energy? That is exactly what this article will be answering.
Minimalism in goal setting
Minimalism has gained popularity in the past few years by Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus among others. A large portion of this philosophy is geared towards focusing on what matters and eliminating anything that is unnecessary that would be receiving our attention and energy otherwise. But how do we apply this philosophy to picking our goal? The parallel may seem straight forward in theory but is harder to apply in practice. So, let’s dive into that.
You may be like I am sometimes and have all of these great ideas and projects that you want to start but delay starting any because you don’t know which to choose. This frustrating state has led me to seek a solution so that I can actually take action towards something productive. The most useful information that I came across in this search was mostly focused on making the best use of our time. It may seem like a strange starting point for goals, but it works. Time, unlike most other things in our lives, is one thing that we can never make more of or get back. This makes time more valuable than money or most other commodities people place great value on. Goals have a fantastic relationship with time if we see it in the right way. We can’t fabricate more time in our days; however, we can essentially make more of it. By choosing the right goal first we will in a sense create more time for ourselves. We will come back to this idea in a minute.
You may have come to this article with a lot of goals in your head that you are having a hard time deciding which one to start on or you may have come here without a single one. This will help you with either position you’re in. If you don’t have a single goal in mind just imagine your ideal life 5 years from now. What does it look like? What do you see around you? What skills do you have? What is your position at work? Where are you living? What do people know you for that you have always wanted to be known for? No matter how ambitious your goal is it doesn’t matter. Set aside any self-limiting ideas in this process. Let your imagination run wild. Awake your inner child and discover what you truly want out of life. When you have a few ideas for a goal to pursue then progress to the next step.
Which comes first
Now that you have a few ideas let’s go back to the idea of time. How does time relate to picking our goals? Well, it comes from the newest philosophy on time management that Rory Vaden presented in a Ted Talk. The idea is to pick an activity that will save you time in the future. It’s no longer just about doing the task that seems the most important to get done now, it’s about doing the task that will save you the most time so that you can get more tasks done. Rory has given the simplistic example of automating bill paying. Automating bill paying may seem like a mundane unimportant task compared to other things you need to get done. It may only take you 20 minutes to go online and pay the bills each month so that may seem like the easier solution than spending 1 hour setting it up so that they will be paid automatically. But by doing this first, you are almost creating more time for yourself in the future by never having to spend that 20 or so minutes again.
You can substitute this idea for any goals you have. A way I used this for my own goals is when I decided to write a book to help people achieve their goals. Two of the goals I had for myself at that time were to learn how to type with 10 fingers (yes, I should have paid more attention to Mavis Beacon earlier) and to write the book. I had a very strong desire to start writing the book because it was at the height of COVID and I knew a lot of people had more free time so I wanted to help them achieve goals they may have had in their heads for a while. But I took a step back and realized how much time I would be wasting typing with one-fifth of the finger power, so I made myself learn to type first. Learning to type first saved me a substantial amount of time and it also allowed me the opportunity to practice my typing while writing my book. In two weeks when my book is done I will have accomplished both goals in a shorter amount of time than it would have taken just to write my book with two fingers. This is an embarrassing example for me so I hope it is helpful.
Look at the list of your goals and decide if any of them will help ease the accomplishment of the others. A lot of our goals are interconnected to some degree and it helps to accomplish the smaller ones first. It creates more momentum for you and will also save you time, in the end, to be able to accomplish more goals.
Make sure that whatever the goal you are going for is aligned with your values and not just something that is a popular idea. If it’s not something that you’re truly interested in then it will be much harder to maintain the motivation necessary to finish it. If you do wind up finishing it then you won’t feel as accomplished at the end and you may even regret spending all that time on it instead of something you are passionate about.
Once you know what goal you want to pursue it’s time to layout your plan for completion. You can get my free goal-setting template down below along with a short instructional video showing you how to fill it in!