Life Goals

When we intentionally do things that bring us joy simply because they bring us joy our perspective shifts. The emails organize themselves. I find that saying, “no,” to some things is actually liberating. It frees me from taking on more than I can manage. It opens space for me to invest time in those things that bring me joy and fulfillment. Those are my true life goals.

There’s an interesting analogy that is attributed to various thinkers, investors, etc. most often Warren Buffett. The guidance is as follows:

  1. Create a list of all you want to do in life.
  2. Rank the items on your list. 
  3. Once you have ranked all the things that interest you or that you think you might like to do highlight your top five. 
  4. Keep the top five. 
  5. Forget about the rest.

The belief is that we can accomplish anything but we can’t accomplish everything. Items six and beyond are just tempting enough to distract us from our main goals. By eliminating them we focus our attention on our true goals. This not only makes sense but will create more space and time for those things that serve us. It prevents scope creep. 

My only suggestion is to be sure some of those top five life goals include savoring the good life. If you’re not doing the small things that bring you joy you may accomplish a great deal. But you will always be chasing more. Be intentional with your time and choose you first, always. Make a good life not just good goals.

Doing Less to Do More

Today I had so much I wanted to accomplish. I had a full schedule and a full plate of all of the things that needed to be done. Since we are re-entering society and school is starting soon, I feel like August has become somewhat like the first lap of the long race through the school year. Birthday parties begin again, school supplies must be purchased, and add that on top of moving and needing to either find or make due with those everyday artifacts that make life nice and I am in a pretzel of movement, energy, and to do items. On top of all of this it is Monday and the regular work of the office needs to be done, dinner needs to be made, and the children need all of the daily things that children require. 

Usually all of this information puts me in a tizzy – the “Michigas,” of it all. I just learned Michigas is a Yiddish derivative of meshugana and I am enjoying wrapping my mind and my mouth around this new term. The general chaos can be overwhelming. Today instead of letting the angst and stress of these things take over my day I took a beat. That’s not true, I took several. 

The breaks included: I started the morning by looking out the window at the trees while I drank my breakfast smoothie. Then while my partner was on a call I folded laundry in the children’s rooms rather than being irritated or marching through his office – which is the only way to get to my office – I just did some small tasks to make life nicer for all of us. I put dinner in the crock pot. I meditated. I let go of control and my partner put the target order in for school supplies. I fed the kiddos and when the dog decided to make a break for it and tour the neighborhood at lunch, I not only got the chance to catch up with my neighbor but I also had the opportunity to walk outside on a gorgeous day. 

I didn’t get everything done because there is only enough time for that which truly needs to happen. There are more tasks for tomorrow but that is what tomorrow is for. I am sure tomorrow will have enough time for these things and others but not all of them and that’s ok. 

The priorities that made the short list today will also make the short list tomorrow – mediating, taking deep breaths, and just enjoying the day and it’s many splendid moments. It was not perfect but you know what, I don’t feel bad about it. In fact, I feel great. I feel like I took care of myself and I focused on my priorities. I feel like I showed up with what I had to give and I did my best. 

I will do better in some areas tomorrow but not all areas because every day is a balancing act and I don’t get better at balancing by berating myself or rushing or yelling at everyone in my life to do better or help more. I do better at balancing when I:

  • Breathe deep,
  • Focus and calm myself with meditation,
  • Eat well, 
  • Get outside, and
  • Connect with friends. 

I am grateful to myself for taking the necessary breaks so that I could move forward with comfort and ease rather than with rage and frustration. By giving myself the space to be imperfect and let others help I actually did less but got just as much, if not more, done than if I had hustled and stressed and rushed. 

I feel more contented with the quality of my work and with the progress I made today. My work is not done, and I suspect in this American capitalist society it never will be. But the work I am going to accomplish today is done and I am much pleased. I feel good about showing up in the world authentically, exactly as the person I want to be in the world. Rather than regretting things I said or ways I behaved because I was so focused on performance and results that I was rude or hurtful. And because of that I got to enjoy the journey and the small cumulative tasks and cooperation it takes to build a life to together with other people. A mutually supportive dance only works when we let others lead sometimes. And even though it is out of my comfort zone, I have to admit doing less in order to do more feels pretty good. 

Have you ever tried doing less to do more? What steps do you take? How do you conserve energy and resources in order to finish the marathon rather than drop out after the initial sprint?