Glorious Five Year Plan

I started to write a whiny post about a season that feels overly filled with angst. Rather than bother you with my continuing mid-life crisis, which began when I was about fifteen and has yet to abate, I figured I would instead bore you, Dear Reader, with some goals that would help me to see the possibility of getting my glass to the half-filled mark.

First, I should say that the angst comes along with–in fact, is probably spurred by–a lot of good stuff that’s happened over the last year.

I live vicariously through my one-year-old son’s daily discoveries. We spent a while this weekend at the new Tarr Playground in Central Park, and seeing Jasper tool around the park and playing with him has to be one of the best things I’ve ever been able to do in my whole life. It makes me indescribably happy.

Over the last year, I’ve been working with the DML Hub, and as a result have had the chance to learn from, without any exaggeration, some of the brightest and most interesting people I’ve ever run across. Many of these folks are people I have read or met before, but I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know their work even a little better, and it gives me the opportunity to think about things in new ways. I am deeply appreciative of that opportunity, and so I am–in a way–thankful for its ability to shake my complacency. As someone who buys the symbolic interactionist position, perhaps the best way to grow as a person is to surround yourself with people you admire.

And these are just some of the things that have just gone right. My partner has made a new career for herself, and although we don’t spend as much time together as I would like as a family, what time we do spend is wonderful. And I’ve managed to build and write some things I’m happy with and proud of. But even with all of this, my attention feels as if it is torn in too many directions, and I feel like too much of my time is wasted on things that are not important. And I feel like I am not able to do my best on either the stuff I’m most excited about or the things I am expected to do regardless of how excited I am about them.

Given this, I need to make changes to make sure I know what my goals are and can effectively meet them. A lot of that comes under the label of “time management,” though that is a deceptive label. Really, it is paying more attention to what I am paying attention to, and prioritizing that effort toward things I want to make real progress on. I used to do 5 hour, 5 day, 5 month, 5 year goals. And I’ll continue to think about general direction, though my problem isn’t too few goals, but too many.

The major goal, though, is to increase my discipline with regard to selecting and accomplishing goals. That is, I have a major meta-goal. To that end, I plan on setting up new habits one-by-one. Here are my first few:

1. Prioritize Quadrant Two activities.

In particular, I’m going to go ahead and organize my To Do list (and keep it up to date) within these quadrants. How do I decide what is important? I choose those items that I believe will result in the largest and most significant outcome.

2. Peas first.

At the end of the day assign myself my most avoided task for the beginning of the next day.

3. Batch email.

Since I won’t be checking email first thing in the morning, that means batching email. Empty it out once a day.

4. Resign.

I need to quit (or push off my agenda for the time being) projects that are not personally rewarding. This means turning down exciting offers, and it means recognizing battles better left unfought.

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One Comment

  1. Posted 4/17/2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I’m a 1, 2, 4 man. Always have been a 2, even as a child.

    Great to see that Jasper is pushing you to the dark side. ECE is where it is at, and there’s no one there doing much. An ECE version of the DML would be so cool. Read sarah grimes?

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