Choosing Five Projects

the-power-of-lessAs a self-described Renaissance Person, I always have dozens of interests, goals, and aspirations. I’ve come to realize, however, that with project management, less is more.

A few years ago, I got really into blogs and books about minimalism (radical simplicity). While I’m not quite that hard-core, one idea did really stick with me. In The Power of Less, Leo Babauta (author of the blog Zen Habits) suggests that people can only handle 3-5 projects at a time before they start spreading themselves too thin.

Always ambitious, I decided to go with the maximum amount in his recommendation. After a lot of list-making and thinking, I’ve narrowed it down to five major projects to complete within the next 1-3 months.

  1. Stick to a vegan/gluten-free/unprocessed/budget-friendly diet. This will require me to up my batch-cooking game and get smarter about shopping.
  2.  Memorize 50 jazz tunes. I wrote about this yesterday on my other site – this will require me to stick to an efficient and effective practice/study schedule.
  3. Revise the draft of my e-bookWhile I’m simultaneously excited and terrified of going up the learning curve with marketing and publishing instructional materials, I need to finish the damn thing first.
  4. Write four blog posts per week. This is very meta that I’m blogging about blogging, but I’d like to be on a more consistent schedule and have my posts be focused more on central themes.
  5. Create and stick to a budget. Ironically enough, I was much better about budgeting when I was in a more financially dire situation. Now that I’m in a cheaper living situation and expanding my income sources, I need to start worrying more about big-kid things like debt repayment, savings, retirement, etc.

The question that you may or may not be asking yourself is how and why the heck did I select these particular five. I used three criteria which I hope to apply to future goal-setting:

  1. Is it the most important thing that I need to be doing in my primary areas of interest? These areas are, in order: wellness, musicianship, instructional design, writing, and “adulting.” 
  2. Is it the next logical step in a series of larger goals? For example, as I mentioned, I need to finish drafting the e-book before I can publish and market it (as well as future publications).
  3. Is it going to help me achieve other goals? For example, eating well and sticking to a budget will help give me more energy and financial resources for future projects.

While not everyone has time for five projects of their own choosing (I’m very lucky to be self-employed, which allows (and requires!) me to be so ambitious), I think that most of us can benefit from identifying and honing a few key goals.

If you had to narrow your goals and/or projects down to 3-5 (or less), which ones would you choose?


Author: Leah Pogwizd

Bassist and Instructor

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