Written by Nguyen Le

"How do you prioritise in order to accomplish your goals? If you're trying to learn new technology, if you're working on projects, reading, business, family etc. How are you able to effectively manage and juggle these tasks? That's where I struggle the most, trying to get everything done. I think I tend to put too much pressure on myself but trying to get everything done can sometimes be overwhelming." This was a great question sent in by Ian one of our readers.

I used to never set goals, I just went with the flow. And that worked for a while – until life threw all sorts of shit in my direction that made winging it a lot less productive. So I wanted to be more purposeful with how I planned my time. And how I could get the most shit done on top of family life, health, work, business and just having a fucking good time.

How do I get so many things done?

The key is focus, which comes through prioritisation. So how do I prioritise and focus? What I do is to pick just 1 major goal for the year. So think of it as a pyramid.

At the top is your goal. Let's say hypothetically it’s:

1. Goal

Get a new job at a top tier tech firm. 

2. Strategy

Next in the pyramid is brain storm as many strategies as you can which can help you accomplish your goal: So for example you could -  Connect with hiring managers/design leaders, get better at the design process, create a wicked folio, learn how to code etc. Out of all the strategies pick the few that you are excited about, find effective and execute them throughout the year, which leads to step 3. 

3. Actions

At the bottom of the pyramid is the actionable stuff. What do you have to do day to day and month to month to support your strategy (which will move you closer to your goal) So you can say after every weekday I’ll spend 1 hour learning how to code. So you’ll do that for 1 month. Which will make you more proficient in that area. Then in month 2 you can connect with influencers via twitter and dribbble where you spend that hour everyday tweeting people in the industry and building relationships. 

So you focus on small day to day tasks that aid with 1 big goal. This will help you move whilst still managing to balance other important areas of your life. If you respect the process the results will come. If you try to do too much at once it leads to spreading yourself thin without much progress or impact. Worst yet you might feel overwhelmed or even burnout as you try to juggle too much. When you focus and see little results it also allows momentum to occur. Make yourself accountable to these daily tasks even if it’s just an hour a day. Cut out TV or anything that is not bringing great value to your life.

Effectively achieving your goals is about reverse engineering small actionable steps that help you execute on your strategies, when your strategies align together they position you closer to reaching your goal. They all stem from daily bite sized actions rather than lofty goals with no direction that you try to achieve in one night.

If you are feeling overwhelmed for prolonged periods, take a break because it'll lead to burnout. Don’t be too hard on yourself – patience is key. 

Another tip is to pick a goal that by proxy will support other areas that make you happy. You should push your comfort zone a little, and some days will suck, but overall you should be enjoying the little steps. What is the point of reaching your goals when you are hating every step required to get there everyday. 

Example of the framework in action

1. So if my goal this year is I’d like to help and reach 2,000 new Process Masterclass students. To achieve this goal I will need to continue to learn and apply new things (which I love doing). I will need to provide value and help students 1 on 1 as much as I can, which allows me to talk to students and see their growth which is awesome. It will allow me to support my family financially. So 1 goal can actually touch on other aspects of your life positively during the journey and not just the end result. 

2. Some strategies that could work. Build awareness for the class by upping traffic from Dribbble, sponsoring Design Newsletters, Start a Youtube channel, Build my email list to bring more awareness to the class and to provide upfront value etc. 

3. So 1 day to day task that I can be applying from January-March is to be posting daily on to Dribbble. Which brings people to my newsletter and the Process Masterclass site – read some of my content and see if I am a right fit for them. If I just work on this I know I will be moving a step closer to my goal. And from here I execute on various strategies every month or so. 

You can use this framework to achieve your big goal for the year. What is the 1 big thing you hope to achieve this year? 

I’d love to hear it – comment below, email me or tweet at me. If I can help in some small way, I would be more than happy to help you on your journey.