Bottoms-Up Time Management: Moving to the Next Level

In my last article I talked about getting the day-to-day items of our lives under control, because without that, we cannot focus on the things we want to get to “someday”. However, if we remain in a place where we are focused on our daily items, we will never get to the point where we are living to our full potentials.

Get Some Air

Once we have the daily stuff under control, we need to put our heads up and figure out where we are going. It is good to have goals to shoot for, but at the same time, you have to manage your expectations and not take on too much.

Most probably, you have a list of things you would like to do. David Allen refers to these as “someday/maybes”. If you have one, get it out. If not, let’s make one.

The Someday/Maybe List

Sit down and list all the things you would like to do someday. Or just plain might want to do. Don’t be held back by thoughts of finances, time or location. If you want to climb Mount Kilamajaro, put it down. Learn Swahili? Put it down. Clean the dryer lint vent? Put it down.

After about 15 minutes you should have a list to work from. Classify these items. Is this something you are willing to put any time into, or do you just think it would be cool to do? If you are willing to put any time into it, mark it as a someday. Otherwise, mark it as a maybe.

Deciding What to Do Next

There are all sorts of articles and websites devoted to setting goals and getting there. So if you’re one of the sort that can do that, please Google them and run with it.

However, while I do like to plan things out, I am not a goal-setting sort of person. I prefer to turn the boat in a direction and leave myself open to the possibilities. That’s not to say that I expect things to fall into my lap; however, I try to work with the things and opportunities that are currently available to me in order to work toward my general goals.

I know, for example, that I want to be a published writer at some point. So toward this end, I write daily. And I participate in NaNoWriMo, which gives me rough drafts to shape. But this is not a pursue-the-goal-single-mindedly.

Goal-less Living

Right now I am in a goal-less phase. That isn’t to say that there is nothing I would like to accomplish; in fact I am spending a lot of time cleaning out the old project list. However, it struck me as I tried to get the whole knack of setting long term goals and planning them out, that perhaps this just wasn’t right for everyone. Just as no one time management system is right for everyone, no planning method would be right.

This was confirmed by an article on Mark Forster’s blog, Goalless Living? He says that if you live without negative or positive goals, you will probably be doing things you enjoy and are good at.

It’s an interesting thought. Do we really have to figure out exactly where we are going? Or can we float on the stream of life for a while?