One lifetime is not enough

Winter holidays are typically the time of the year to evaluate your achievements of the last year and to review your goals for the next year. Of course, you can do this at any point in time, but there is something about ‘new beginnings’ that is super motivating.

New Year's resolutions

That’s what Passions Pilot is doing now. I was having a look at all the things that I have done in the last year, that I have going on and what I still want to do and it’s an awful lot. I don’t mind when I have a lot to do, but I do mind when it’s things that I don’t like but have to do. These are in general the tasks I procrastinate.

My heroine is Hermione in the Harry Potter movies. She is my role model. She can be in two places at the same time by going back into time. I wish I could do that too.

I don’t have time to do it all!

One thing I realised was that each of us is playing different roles and in each of those roles, I want to be the best possible ‘Me’. I’m sure that’s what you want too. But that is also where the frustration starts because each of those roles demands more time to be my best possible ‘Me’ than the time I have. It’s like my passions and projects are all pulling me in all different directions at the same time. I think you know the feeling…

A to-do list on sticky notes

I want to spend a good amount of quality time with my family, be a good mum for my son. So for instance, instead of getting some work done, this afternoon we were playing with Lego blocks.

I also like my day job (I really do!) and so, count 40 hours per week and commuting 2 hours per day to get there and back. In my commuting time, I listen to podcasts, so my time isn’t wasted, and I learn on the go.

In the weekends, there are the house chores to be done and errands to run. The best part is when I can go shopping for more exciting things than just errands. Weekends are also to get some admin and other paperwork done.

Then there are the regular visits to the dentist or another doctor, maintenance for the car, events of associations I’m a member of (at least this last one is fun), etc.

Are you still with me? I don’t mean to rant but this is just reality, and when I see around me, I see a lot of people with similar lives.

Is it a wonder that any hobbies, sports, reading books and other interests, passions and projects get only a few hours on a Sunday afternoon?

Building your way to do it all, from vision to action plan

Is there a way to do it all? One given is that we all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 52 weeks in 1 year. You also need to sleep eight hours per night, some a bit more, some a bit less. You can’t be productive, feel good and be motivated to do stuff when you’re not feeling fit so, sleeping less is not a good option.

Full agenda or notebook

In my opinion, the first thing to do is to be very picky about what you do and what not. And to be picky, you need to know exactly why you are doing what you’re doing. It can help to use the top-down approach below.

  • Define your vision: Your vision is one big picture of how you want your world to be. This is a high-level global view, and it is your big WHY. It directs all the others. Example: My vision is that everyone has to have the possibility to reach their highest potential.
  • Mission: Your mission states what you will do so you will achieve your vision. This is a high-level statement of WHAT. There is only one mission statement. Example: My mission is to learn, to work out creative ideas and to develop strategies to push myself and others to reach their highest potential.
  • Core values: Core values are ethical rules and constraints that you choose to follow while working on your mission. Examples of core values are honesty, integrity, respect, freedom etc. You usually have 3 to 5 core values and a few other additional values. You can choose which are the most important for you.
  • Strategies: While you have one global vision and mission, there can be many strategies you can use to get to your mission and to make your vision a reality. We are levelling down, and we’re getting to more practical ways. Strategies are the outlines of a plan. I think it’s a good idea to write down a strategy for each critical role you play in your life’s movie and don’t forget your private YOU. Example: One strategy to reach your highest potential is to see that you keep being healthy. Another complementary strategy is to keep on learning new things that are useful for myself and others.
  • Goals: Goals are your main milestones in the process of implementing your strategy. In the strategy of keeping to be in good health, one goal can be to eat healthy and another one to exercise regularly.
  • Objectives: Objectives break down your goals into practical and measurable smaller steps and milestones. Examples of objectives are: working out at least three times a week for minimum one hour. Or: eating five portions of vegetables and fruit every day.
  • Action plans: Action plans are the practical plans to achieve the set objectives. An action plan has an objective, scope, budget (in time, energy and money) and a schedule. These are the baselines of your plan.

The big advantage of doing this exercise is that it makes it easy to say “NO” when things are not aligned with your vision and your plans.

In practice

Thinking about strategy first, for a few days can save you days, weeks or months of time. But it’s not enough to just think of it. You need to write it down and here is why:

When you have to write things down, you are forced to think about what you are writing and, if the content makes sense. You also need to think about using the right words to translate your ideas into common language which helps to get your intentions clear.

Making a plan, writing things down

At the start, it’s not an easy exercise. But you can start with a ‘good-enough’ version and modify and tune it until you feel that it really reflects what you want.
Once you’ve done this exercise, you have to review it every three months or so. In general, the higher the level, the more long-term and the less it is subject to changes.

So, your vision may remain the same for your entire life. At the other end of the spectrum, your action plans and objectives can change every three months, when you’ve completed them, or when you need to adapt them to your evolved situation.
Anyway, take a piece of paper and something to write or start a new document on your computer and start developing your vision, mission, values etc., all the way down until you have actionable plans.

Your thoughts?


One lifetime is not enough

4 thoughts on “One lifetime is not enough

  • January 27, 2019 at 04:11

    Hi Nickita
    Its so true – we all have so much on our ‘to do’ list – prioritising is so important.

    We want to do it all, and do all the things that we do ‘super well’

    I think that as long as we have a list of ‘to do’ things, and we then edit those down to a ‘top 3’ or ‘top 5’ and regularly cycle through these on a semi consistent basis, then we should be serving them all in a way that is meeting our needs.

    Of course some ‘to do’ items make themselves more known than others (for example playing lego with your son) – that just means that there is a hierarchy even within the top list of priorities.

    The important thing is to not beat yourself up if you dont get to EVERYTHING. You are likely achieving more than folk who don’t make a list at all.

    Have a great week


    • January 27, 2019 at 07:39

      Hey Shaun,
      Thank you for this sound advice.
      I work top down. I did the exercise to develop my vision, mission, strategies etc. and then when it comes to really decide what to do on a particular day, I use the approach that you describe.
      And you’re right, beating yourself up because you didn’t get it all done, is useless. It doesn’t serve anyone.

  • January 27, 2019 at 20:54

    Brilliant exposé, almost holistic approach to structuring our life.
    Dear Nickita, I understand that your rational mind seeking permanently the efficiency, pushed you to handle life within a methodical framework similar to PRINCIPLE 2, Or, even to Agile 🙂
    Undefeated method for so many tech &other issues indeed.
    Designing a Strategy, Policies and Best practices should avoid us a max of issues. But not all of them.
    Do your assumptions were for a solo/ celibate person? I ‘d bet so.
    I’d be glad then to see within your coming posts some ideas, how should we negotiate with our partners, even with children our Strategy.. etc.
    And these aspects are not always so easy to cope with:-)
    I’d like to contribute a bit more indeed in all these fields. It’s a matter of time once more. Should I review my Strategy of today’s 🙂 Definitely yes.
    All the best,
    for continuing your lovely blog.

    • January 28, 2019 at 06:34

      Thank you, Pierre.
      Yes, I try to approach life in a holistic way, because everything is linked.
      Indeed when doing this strategic exercise, it can be a good idea to involve your partner or even children and not just decide everything over their heads.
      That’s a good subject to write a blog post about.

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