One of the first things that I do when I coach a professional who’s looking to make a significant shift in their life, job, and/or vocation (perhaps moving away from their 9-to-5 into their own gig, project, or business) is ask them to list out comprehensively the projects that are currently “in flight.”
I ask them to also include any “projects” that they’ve started within the past 12 months as well. I ask them to provide the details about what they are and what they are hoping to accomplish with them. If the person gets defensive then that’s a good thing as it brings to light their chief motivations for starting them in the first place. This also allows us to start the process of seeing with utmost clarity how insanely busy (or distracted) this person may actually be.
It’s just a healthy activity I recommend for most people as there are few things better than coming face-to-face with oneself and looking, in the eye, your projects and your own justifications for why you’ve chosen to spend your most valuable resource, your time, on these things. You may discover some very interesting findings.
You see, a review of those projects “in flight” is critical so that this person can get a good idea of where they currently sit. It’s amazing how many people do not really have an idea of what they are currently involved in – how can you optimize yourself or your time if you don’t have an idea of what needs optimization?
Some people will include their family and relationships as “projects” – this is good and well and I often encourage this too. People are not projects so don’t be feel bad about objectifying them in this activity – it’s simply a bucket and term for time commitment.
Here’s a good model to follow:
- Project Title:
- Project Details:
- Current Status:
Note: The more detailed you are the more helpful this will be in future activities! “Current Status” means where the project is right now (in progress, in concept, on hold, nearly forgotten, etc. You make up your own terminology) and “Why?” is attempting to answer the question of “Why did you start/have this idea?”
A very typical outcause of such an activity as this is that one realizes how impossible it is to sustain such busyness as well as how incredibly hard it will be to move forward with a new project or new career or vocation while having all these other things in tow.
Better start dropping them before you capsize.