On Saturday I had breakfast with a savvy friend to talk about an idea I have flitting around in my head. We enjoyed a good meal and had fun catching up. This particular friend lives quite intentionally and has made some big leaps of faith to craft a life that is in alignment with her faith, her talents, and her goals. I could choose to be intimidated by her but instead I chose to pick her brain!

When I got home from breakfast I felt abuzz with everything I was thinking about doing, and I decided I needed to write it all down. I’ve written before about how I’m not good at goal setting, but lately I’ve sort of felt like I was stagnating in a rut of getting up, (maybe) exercising, going to work, plodding through the day, coming home, cooking dinner, watching TV, wash, rinse, repeat. And I know that, explicit goals or no, I am capable of so much more than that.

So on Saturday I took a piece of notebook paper and sketched out what I’m dubbing a “life map.” I wrote down all the different categories of things I want to do or am trying to do and attempted to list out some concrete steps or activities underneath them. I also included things I do that I just have to do–I’m obviously not walking out the door of my job, and I’m not going to stop feeding us. And then I threw some fun things on there, because a girl’s gotta have balance!

My list looks a little something like this, in no particular order (though a few elements are personal and not listed here, and a few I’m not ready to detail just yet):

  • work
  • responsibilities at home: lunches and dinners, grocery shopping, cleaning kitchen and bathroom, de-cluttering
  • exercise: 3 times per week, yoga once a week
  • this blog: 3 posts per week, comment on other blogs, write guest posts, place an ad?
  • learning: Code School-1 video per week, monthly Rails Girls meetups and associated homework (to-do app project), Exercism.io with Andy, create "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" web app
  • The Advocator (neighborhood newsletter I've been editing): continue editing, write 1 article per month
  • freelance editing (something I want to explore!): build O-desk profile, apply for small O-desk jobs, read The Artful Edittweet about my interest
  • social: book club, trivia, coffee dates with girlfriends, dinners with friends (out, entertaining at home)
  • Andy: hiking and backpacking, playing games, continuing to discover shared interests
  • me time: reading, pool time, long walks, ????
  • faith: make time to pray and read, church
  • begin laying groundwork for the Big Scary Idea I have (I'll post about it eventually): online research, meeting people, visiting places, using social media to assess needs and interest

And at the top of the page I wrote, “Get 7+ hours or sleep per night!”

Whew! When I write it all out like that, it looks like a lot. And it is a lot. When there’s this much rattling around in my brain, it’s easier to succumb to inertia than to push through and make it happen, ESPECIALLY because I really haven’t been getting enough sleep. I know I need to make that priority numero uno, because it will make it so much easier to do the rest. Also, “me time” and “faith” feel the least fleshed out, and I know I need to figure out how to satisfy those areas in order to feel content and fulfilled. So I’ll be thinking about how I can pamper myself and cultivate my spirituality along with the way.

I’m obviously not tackling all of this all at once, but my plan is to include one element from each category on my weekly to-do list. If I do more than that one thing, great, but if not, at least I am beginning to make strides. For this week my list included write 2 blog posts, finish Rails for Zombies, pass O-desk readiness test, and read Ch. 1 of The Artful Edit. I want to get up at 6:00 every morning and either exercise or work on one of these things (I tend to blog well in the mornings), so I need to try and be in bed at 10:00! If I’m “working” in the morning then hopefully I can enjoy my evening time with Andy or doing something like reading or watching a TV show.

This is where the rubber meets the road, y’all. Because it’s easy to say I’m interested in a lot of things, but how I spend my time is more telling than the words I say. I’m not going to beat myself up over this, but it’s time to place a little bit of structure on the trajectory of my life.  

What’s overwhelming for you right now? Are you working toward a goal?

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman