Stuck on my goals

Hi everyone: I have loved this site for a long time. Here is my dilemma. I have several goals that I would like to work on at the same time: fitness, a college degree (50 hours to go), improving my Spanish and a few others. My house is kind of a mess also. I have been stuck for quite a while and would like to jump-start somehow. I use a FC classic planner and love my 3x5 cards.

My mom is having health problems and my grown kids aren't where they want to be jobwise and it all gets pretty overwhelming. Suggestions of any kind welcome and hoped for.

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Do you use GTD? The planner

Do you use GTD? The planner type you use only matters if it suits your style, the real difference is in the method. What you describe would be to me Areas of Focus in GTD, from which projects are created, from which Next Actions flow, one at a time.
If you don't use GTD, I suggest you buy the book, it is great stuff, then join a GTD discussion group (there are several on Yahoo groups)

If GTD is not quite enough to relieve all the bottleneck, I would add a Pending folder for all things you are resisting to move on, so that the rest do not get stuck on their account. That's what I do at least.

Hope that helps.

Yes it helps a lot

Thanks Civil. I wrote a response that didn't show up so here is another one. It helps to take a fresh look at things sometimes and now thanks to you I have some direction. I do have the GTD book but haven't looked at it in quite a while. Just since your post, I cleaned up an area and plan to continue from there. In about an hour I will start on my desk where my goals etc. are located. I like the "pending folder" and the idea of relieving the bottleneck. Thanks again.

One bite at a time.


It is very easy to say "I'm going to turn over a new leaf" and start working on everything all at once. However, I would suggest you not do that, because it leads to burnout.

All of these things you are mentioning are about habits and priorities. I would recommend you pick just one thing to focus your discretionary time on--the one thing that will give you the biggest bang for your time buck. If working on fitness will help you feel better so you'll want to tackle other things, that'd be a good reason to pick it. If your house is hindering your success in other areas, that's a good reason to start with cleaning/organizing/purging. If your mom's problems are regularly interrupting your flow, forgive yourself for not being superhuman and make your goals something like "15 minutes" of working toward what otherwise would be your highest priority item.

You do not have to work on everything all at the same time. Do first the one that will most enable you to do more, the one that feels the best and most satisfying, the one that preserves your sanity and strength the most.

A planner will not compensate for lack of focus, desire, or motivation. Some people find that daily reminders and scheduling are helpful encouragement, others find them to be a stick they are beating themselves up with.. The planner is the servant, not the master.

Give yourself permission to put off doing too much. :) Put the ones you're not going to do right now in your tickler (or other reminder system) to think about in a couple of months. Allow yourself to forget about them for a while and know that you will remember to think about them later. It's really an awesome way to take the weight of "ought-tos" off your shoulders for a while.

The Sidetracked Home Executives have a cool system for working on housework routines, as does Flylady. Flylady's system has a little more cheerleading? along with it. Either way, don't set up all your routines the first day. Start with one, make it a habit, then add another. Bite-sized pieces are very important.

Julie Morgenstern's 'inside out' books are very helpful for setting up time or space to suit how your life actually works. It definitely helped me realize what time I actually have available to work on things I want to work on.

Anyway, keep your ambition, just gratify it in pieces, slowly. :) Make some time for your own peace and happiness and personal satisfaction every day so you don't end up frazzled and cranky.


Some great ideas here

Hi Shris~Some great ideas from you that we could all be reminded of from time to time. Sometimes I just need a review of the basics so I can go on. Sort of like needing "permission" to go on so to speak. I guess I sometimes feel unworthy of my goals especially when I get into a slump, but refreshing ideas like this help me dig out. Thanks.

Old saws


It's that old saw about eating elephants one bite at a time. I've done the 'too big a bite' thing so many times I've forgotten half of them. And the weight of "ought tos" is really crushing sometimes, especially when my physical needs aren't being met (like sleep!).

Ya gotta feel good first. Without that, nothing else is going to happen the way it 'should' or the way you want it to. If you're anxious or tired or stressed or just looking at things from the overwhelming side nothing is going to look good or easy.

I have been on a lazy kick lately--cooking but not cleaning, reading but not vaccuming, that sort of thing. Not good. My desk became a pile of unfinished stuff and it was feeling oppressive. So I grabbed a box and took all the stuff that isn't supposed to live on my desk and stuck it in the box. Box is still sitting there, waiting to be dealt with, but at least I have some of my desk back under my control. :)


Also look at "First Things First"

GTD helps you organize from the bottom up.
FTF helps you organize from the top down.
I am of the opinion that a combination of the two would be better than either one by itself.

You will not miss details with GTD and FTF will keep The Big Picture in focus.

Good luck
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)