For this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, Andy asked us why we do what we do. In the big picture, I use GTD 50,000 foot goals, and I translate that down to more tactical stuff in my Epic Life Quest. I’ve written a lot about the tactical stuff, but not the big-picture stuff.
Here are my big-picture goals:
- Be a fantastic partner for my loved ones.
- Enjoy my time on Earth as many ways as I can.
- Retire with complete financial security.
They’re in that order because I’m ridiculously lucky enough to have found a career that I truly love. You know what they say: do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, the flip side of that is that you’ll work your ass off, chasing achievements that turn out to matter less and less over time.
When I first started doing career & life planning, I realized that I was spending all my time planning my career, and none of my time planning my life. I needed to turn that around, so the first step of it was consciously putting the list in that order. That way, when I do GTD reviews, I’m faced to start at the top one in the list and go, “Oh yeah, I suck at that.”
I’ve gotten better at those family-oriented GTD tasks over the years, but not by much. (Then again, I don’t think I’ve gotten much better at #2 and #3 either, but that’s the thing about having role models – you’re always looking up at what else is possible, not down at the stuff you’ve already accomplished.)
For example, as I write this, I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Laguna Beach, writing before Erika wakes up. She wanted to hear the ocean and do some shopping, so we drove up the coast and spent the weekend in an oceanside hotel. I didn’t need a vacation, mind you – we were in Mexico for two weeks in December, and we’ve got trips to Iceland and Paris next month – but she wanted to go, so we went. Why not? She’s got life goals too.
You should try Getting Things Done.
GTD is going to sound very tactical – dumping things out of your brain, categorizing them, then breaking down your calendar into the different kinds of work that you do. And that’s true – it is a productivity book – at first.
But when you clear out your mind from all the stuff you think you have to do, you start to focus on the much bigger stuff, and you realize that some of the tasks are just wasting your time. If something doesn’t match up to one of your big life goals, then categorize it appropriately, and then focus on what really matters instead.