“I’m struggling to juggle all the many things I want to do! I don’t know where to start, or which parts are more important.”
Recently, I had the opportunity to answer this great question:
“I’m struggling to juggle all the many things I want to do! …There are so many things I want to learn, practice and achieve! … I feel like my brain is bursting with a desire to do all these things, but I don’t know where to start or which parts are more important.”
I think many people have been in this exact situation. The downside is, when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Instead of going a mile in one direction, you end up going a few inches in many directions.
This is what worked for me when I was in your same position: I started carrying a pen-and-paper notebook/journal in my pocket (in Age of Agility, I explain why this shouldn’t be your phone). Before I started walking around with the new 3x5 spiral in my back pocket, I first wrote down everything I wanted to do. For you, this might be a list of five things or 25 things. Next, I observed my behavior over the next few days or weeks. When I chose to do something on my list (clicked on an article about the topic, spent time practicing it, found myself thinking about it, etc.) I put a checkmark next to the topic.
Here’s the question you and I, along with everyone else, are trying to figure out: What am I naturally drawn to?
In the next few days or weeks, be an observer of your own life.
At the end of the week, if you have a few or no check marks next to something, it’s probably not a priority and you should cut it out of your life because it will become a distraction from your main priorities.
Humans are amazing creatures, but we can only seriously focus on about four things at once, and usually work and relationships are our first two. Your next move should be to take the top two or three things on your list with the most check marks and focus on these topics. Join a class. Buy a book on the topic. Participate in an event or meetup. Start laying the groundwork, and if it’s still exciting in a month, go a little deeper.
Let’s say you narrow your list down to three new activities and after a week, one of them isn’t clicking. You’re not stuck with it forever! If this happens, drop it and go back to the list.
One final note. It is completely possible that one thing will lead you to another, better thing. You might join a yoga class and in that class, meet someone who has a great business idea. If you enjoy the conversation about that business idea more than learning new yoga poses, you may end up ditching yoga class to start a new business venture. Sometimes, the wrong thing leads us to the right thing.
Have a question? Ask me here: andrewjwilt.com/contact
Andrew J. Wilt is the author of Age of Agility, a book that addresses the skill gap between school and work. He can be reached at Andrew.email@example.com and on Twitter @andrewjwilt