0

How to Prioritize Your Life

6-2-17 How to Prioritize Your Life

It’s been a hot minute since I posted anything here on the blog, and I’ve been really sad about this. But now I’m back on a new day with some thoughts on how to remedy this!

My big problem during the last month and half was that I felt like all my life priorities had gotten WAY out of whack. Do you ever have times like this? Where you’re running on fumes but keep telling yourself, “If I can just get to X, then everything will calm down and fall back into place!”

Well, sometimes this might happen. In a magical-not-very-realistic world, maybe. But in my experience, it’s never actually worked out that way.  Instead, I’ve usually come to a crashing halt because I end up getting really sick. Being sick usually affords me the time to take a critical look at all my responsibilities and commitments because my body’s stopped obeying my intense go-go-go drive temporarily. Not that it’s a pleasant way to essentially be forced to reevaluate your priorities, but I guess I just tend to take life as it comes to me.

Pre-getting-the-cold-from-hell I’d release this video on my summer plans to slow down my video output. (We’re going to do just Thursday videos from June through August!) I had already seen my mental wellbeing and productivity careening off the rails so I thought I’d take early action to try to mediate the coming chaos. I still got sick, but at least I only had one video to worry about instead of two!

You see, I want to do ALL THE THINGS. And I also have incredibly high expectations for myself on anything I set my mind to do. Unfortunately, these two attributes don’t usually play nice together. It’s physically impossible for me to always be DOING MORE while keeping up my 110% standards.  This usually results in me crashing into pits of self-doubt and hate because I feel inadequate. Or overextending myself to the point where I freeze up and don’t accomplish much of anything for fear of failure.

None of these are very good outcomes, but what do I do to better prioritize my life and goals and interests?

For me, it’s about reevaluating where I’m at and making new and updated task lists continually. I legitimately have a list for everything. It helps me feel in control of the chaos that’s constantly writhing under the surface of my life. And it keeps tasks, ideas, and interests that I don’t have time to accomplish at the moment, still in my mind.  As life morphs and grows with time, I can see when something that’s been on the backburner might be a welcome change to the routine. Or hopefully know (when things just get a little too overwhelming) how to reorganize my commitments to take off some of the stress while still allowing me to feel creative and productive.

It’s certainly no easy task! But it’s been on my mind a lot lately as I think about where I am now and where I want to be in the future and what that means for how I prioritize my life. In the short term, I’m going back to producing one video a week for the summer and I’m changing my blog release day to be Friday. There was something about releasing all this midweek content that was exhausting me so we’ll see what happens with a Thursday/Friday double hit! Furthermore, I really want to spend the summer organizing and creating a website for iIMAGINEblank so that my videos and blogs (and just generally ALL my content) are in one place and better cross-promoted. I’m also thinking about some big, more awesomely creative projects I’d like to do with iIMAGINEblank, and I’ll hopefully be able to do lots of pre-production on them so I can put my plans into action in the coming months!  I have lots of cool ideas to stretch my skills and grow my brand beyond just life advice videos and I feel like now is the time to seize the day and do it!

So here’s to a productive (but enjoyable!) summer!

0

Why Is It So Important to Make a Life Plan?

lifejourney

I remember working on a scholarship application in college that asked me to outline my life plan. Where would I be in five years? Ten years? Fifteen years? It was so insulting to me to have to explain to some stranger how I imagine my whole life playing out.  At the time I was 19 and five years seemed like an eternity.  How could I possibly know where I was going to be in one year much less five? I remember wooing them with my “I want to keep all my options open because I’m young and creative and I don’t want to set limits on myself,” but after nearly two years out of my undergraduate career, I’m starting to see the benefits of a “life plan.”

I still believe that setting limits on yourself in the process of creating a life plan is detrimental to growth, but I think I’ve also learned to be less adverse to the idea of “life plans.”  Seeing many of my friends benefit from some certain semblances of their own “life plans” has definitely made me start rethinking my own “fly-by-night” attitude.

It’s not that the last two years have been bad.  In fact, I’ve probably learned more in my two years out of college than in all four years in college.  But at 23, still living at home and in my first job, I’m really seeing where I could benefit from some kind of plan to help guide me toward my goals.

1. A plan isn’t a limit. It’s a set of goals.

This is something I’ve definitely needed to learn. I’ve been so afraid of putting “limits” on myself and not reaching my potential that I’ve failed to see how setting a timeline of goals could give me something to work toward.

2. My life won’t be ruined if I don’t reach the goals “on time.”

I know one of the reasons I’ve been scared to make a life plan is that I won’t be able to accomplish it so I’ll feel like a failure.  However, isn’t it just another form of defeat if I choose to never try?  Five years. Ten. Fifteen.  They are a good place to start, but life tends to take us places we would never expect.

3. My goals can change.

I’m still young and figuring it out, and nothing is wrong with me if my goals change as I work on my life plan.  In fact, my hope for creating my life plan is to set overarching goals on the long-term and more specific goals that may change and grow as I do on a shorter timeline.

4. Planning is good.

Anyone who knows me know I love to plan.  I love to make lists and outlines and cross off my accomplishments, but making a life plan has always really scared me.  I think because I’m afraid of feeling compelled or forced into a “cookie-cutter” middle class lifestyle with a reliable job, a husband, and kids.  Those aren’t bad things, but they don’t fit my personality or life goals or vision for myself.  Essentially, I know those things won’t make me happy as much as society and the media likes to tell me most of the time.  Even if I don’t want the stereotypical sought-after life, planning my future and goals on a more specific level will decrease my anxiety and help me plan my daily life better so I don’t always feel like I’m missing out on opportunities.

I know I have so much to offer the world, and I desire to use my creative skills for good, but until I really start focusing my efforts I am going to feel like I’m wasting my time.  A life plan won’t make me reach my goals but it will certainly make the path seems less daunting.  Now if I can just make myself sit still long enough to think about my future in depth without getting too scared!