I always thought it was easy to get what I wanted in life.
I’ve always been pretty lucky when it comes to getting the things I have. I have a perfect fiancée, work in a great industry and have no major issues to deal with.
Yet, I always aspire to be more – be a better partner, work harder, design with more innovation, be a more thoughtful friend and push myself in everything that I do.
But, it’s not easy. It’s not easy to become the person I want to be without setting goals in life. Having goals and aiming for them has become central to my way of thinking. I’m a meticulous list writer. I’m always writing todo lists on a daily basis – it’s the only way I get things done. If I don’t have a list, I fall apart because my brain wanders on a daily basis, maybe that’s where my creative side comes from.
Lists breed focus
If you’re having trouble keeping on top of what you have to do, I can’t stress how useful a list is. Got a huge challenge? Write it into smaller tasks in a list. You’ll never be able to achieve one giant task without understanding the smaller tasks that it’s made from.
Go get a diary and write down your tasks for the day. It doesn’t matter what your job is or what your hobbies are – achievement breeds success. I can quickly get into a funk without knowing what I’m doing or what I have done each day. Sitting on your ass and watching movies and eating cake? Write it down. Make a list of the movies you want to watch and know that even if you tick it off, you’ve achieved something.
It’s not easy
Having goals set up in your life are super easy to write. For example, I have a list of major life goals I want to achieve:
- Get married
- Have kids
- Get a dog
- Get under a certain weight
- Run my own company
These are just a few goals that I always keep in mind in everything I do, and they’re huge tasks. Yes, getting a dog is even a huge commitment.
These tasks can’t get completed overnight. And that’s fine. I have to learn to recognise that being a better human being takes time. But using these lists and monitoring my progress towards them is what drives me as a person every day.
You will fail
You will not achieve everything you set out to. Life has it’s ways of throwing up unexpected “tasks” that destroy a daily goal list.
It’s ok to fail.
Failure is what makes you a better partner, worker, friend and human being. Without failure, we have nothing to learn from. If you can fail at something and walk away with a lesson learned or a better knowledge of something, that’s not failure. That’s growth.
Now, now, now!
I currently work in a volatile industry – advertising. You write a todo list for the day, and an event or client issue can swoop in and completely take over your existing tasks. These issues suck, and 99% of the time, they shouldn’t have to interfere with your existing workflow. Other people determine how important an issue is to them, and that stress is transferred over to me to act upon.
It’s up to me to determine how important each task is in order to serve my clients the best way I can. Most of the time, an account manager or boss will take priority over what I feel is the right course of action at that time – which generally turns me into a person pushing pixels around a screen whilst someone tells me where the pixels “should” go.
This is utter nonsense, and it’s also a big reason why I’m leaving the industry at the end of the month to work with a small, remote team on one project. Having full creative control and being allowed to make design decisions from my experience means that I have my stamp on a project. I didn’t have to wait until some person in an office decided to get 10 other people to approve a design.
Most of the time, my clients aren’t designers, but they confuse their business knowledge with design decisions, and quite frankly, that’s not their speciality. They make good business decisions for their business, not so that a button should be a certain font size or colour. As a client, I would expect to go to a web designer and ask for their advice, opinions and expertise – I mean, this person knows what they’re doing, right?
Goals. They’re important in life and work, so here are a few tips to help you get the best out of your lists and focus on yourself.
- Write major goals down, and break them down into as many small tasks as possible
- Do one task at a time
- Expect to fail, and plan accordingly
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
- Consider external issues out of your control
- Read up about #nonzeroday – do something every day