Activities (focusing our time on achieving goals!)

Day 4 on prioritizing: choosing activities that reflect our goals and values.

Before we start spinning our wheels too quickly, let’s take a quick moment to review where we are. We are working on a process for making the most of our free time, outside of work and aside from our day-to-day responsibilities. Over the past week or so, we have worked to identify our broad values and the goals that align with those values. Today, we’ll think about what activities will bring us closer to accomplishing those goals.

Good? Good. So, what kinds of questions are we asking ourselves today? How about:

  • When given the choice, how do we really want to spend our time?
  • What are the activities that bring us closer to achieving our goals?
  • If we know our values and goals, then how should we divide our time to reflect them?

Last time, we put together a set of one or more goals for each value we identified. Let’s pull those out to use as our starting point for today. Today’s objective is to get a list of specific activities and timeframes together so that next time, we can start seeing where they may fit into our schedules. To do that, we need to think VERY specifically about these activities. I think the best way is to:

1)      Define the activity very specifically.

2)      Think about how much time you want/need to spend each time you engage in that activity.*When thinking about how much time, make sure to consider any prep time that activity requires (for instance, travel time to the gym, or time to make yourself pretty before you go out with friends or on a date). Also, if the activity varies in length (say, a phone call with a family member), then estimate how long you would usually spend…or even better—for time management’s sake, at least—how long you would ideally like to spend.

3)      Think about how often you would ideally like to do whatever it is you described. Let’s think about it in terms of how many times per day, week, month, or year (pick a timeframe for each activity).

Okay, so let’s make another table starting with the goals from last time in the left column.  (I’m inserting my values above each set of goals, just as a reminder. Although it’s not necessary, I think it’s helpful to do.)

Starting from the top, we’ll go through each goal and think about activities that will bring us closer to achieving that goal. As we’re going through, we may find that many of our goals are actually activities themselves. That’s great! In those cases, most of today’s work is already done! Just add the goal to the “Activities” column and specify how long it will take and how often you want to do it. We also may find that the same activities may achieve more than one goal. Again, yay! That makes our lives easier—if I can get a step closer to two or more goals with just a single activity, then I’ll take it!

Are we ready? Let’s do it!

Goals Activity (how long, how often)
Kids’ Health and Development
Take Jackson to the library at least twice a month.
  • Go to library (45 min, 2x/month)
Read to Jacob most days of the week.
  • Go to library (45 min, 2x/month)
  • Read to Jacob (15 min, 5x/week)
Take kids on walk to park once a week when weather warms up.
  • Walk to park (1.5 hours, 1x/week)
Set up a play date for Jackson at least once a month.
  • Call or email Jackson’s friends’ parents (10 min, 1x/month)
  • Supervise play date at park or at home (1.5 hours, 1x/month)
Look up online different activities to enhance Jacob’s development at least twice a month and share with sitter and husband.
  • Go online and find baby development activities (15 min, 2x/month)
  • Print and post baby activities for sitter (15 min, 2x/month)
  • Discuss baby activities with husband (15 min, 2x/month)
Relationships with Family
Spend time with husband at least three times per week.
  • Get a sitter and go on a date (3 hours, 1x/month)
  • Have a date night at home (2 hours, 1x/week)
  • Watch a show on Netflix together (1 hour 2x/week)
Call brother, sister, and parents at least once per week.
  • Call brother (1 hour, 1x/week)
  • Call sister (1 hour, 1x/week)
  • Call mom (1 hour, 1x/week)
  • Call dad (1 hour, 1x/week)
Call grandma and aunt at least once a month.
  • Call grandma (1 hour, 1x/month)
  • Call aunt (1 hour, 1x/month)
Check at the beginning of each month to see what birthdays are coming up. Record birthdays in calendar with reminders so I remember to send cards/gifts.
  • Check for birthdays and add reminders to weekly calendar (20 min, 1x/month)
  • Go shopping online or at stores for gifts/cards (1 hour, 1x/month)
  • Mail gifts/cards (20 min, 2x/month)
Relationships with Friends
Check in with out-of-state friends every couple of months.
  • Check for birthdays and add reminders to weekly calendar (20 min, 1x/month)
  • Send e-cards or mail cards (20 min, 2x/month)
Have friend(s) over to the house at least once a month.
  • Extra cleaning (2 hours, 1x/month)
  • Food prep (3 hours, 1x/month)
  • Have friends over (3 hours, 1x/month)
Go out with friends at least twice a month.
  • Go out with friends (2.5 hours, 2x/month)
Physical Fitness
Do something active for at least 45 minutes 6 days a week.
  • Take a walk to park (1.5 hours, 1x/week)
  • Teach step aerobics class (1.5 hours, 1x/week)
  • Kickboxing class (1.5 hours, 2x/week)
  • Practice step aerobics for class (45 min, 2x/week)
  • Elliptical machine or treadmill (45 min, 1x/week)
Lift weights three days a week.
  • Weightlifting class (1.5 hours, 3x/week)
Limit dessert to once per week; substitute fruit/Greek yogurt for dessert on other days.
  • Look through books/online for healthy dessert recipes (30 min, 2x/month)
  • Prepare/cook/bake recipes (1 hour, 2x/month)
Cook dinner using fresh, natural ingredients at least twice a week.
  • Look through books/online for recipes (15 min, 1x/week)
  • Cook dinner (1 hour, 2x/week)
Cook batches of healthy food on the weekends to pack in work lunches and freeze.
  • Look through books/online for recipes (15 min, 1x/week)
  • Cook and bake (2 hours, 1x/week)
  • Pack up into freezer/fridge containers (15 min, 1x/week)
Have fresh fruits and vegetables and dips ready to grab for the weekdays.
  • Wash and cut up fruits and veggies and put into containers (30 min, 2x/week)
Maintaining Sanity: Being Happy
Get 8 hours of sleep most nights.
  • Sleep! (8 hours, 7x/week)
Read for fun at least once a week.
  • Bring something to read on elliptical or treadmill (30 min, 1x/week)
Find time to make a piece of jewelry at least once a month.
  • Look for inspiration for jewelry ideas (10 min, 2x/month)
  • Make a piece of jewelry (2 hour, 1x/month)
Learning and Growing: Trying New Things
Check the news online or on the radio once a day.
  • Log onto news site and read headlines (10 min, 1x/day)
  • Turn on news when in car (10 min, 1x/day)
Try a new recipe at least twice a month.
  • Look through books/online for recipes (30 min, 2x/month)
  • Prepare recipes (1 hour, 2x/month)
Find out more about the blogging world—try to post at least 5 days a week.
  • Read other blogs (10 min, 3x/week)
  • Write (1 hour, 5x/week)
Becoming a Better Person: Learning from Mistakes
Reflect for a few minutes each day on how the day went, what I learned, what I could do better next time, or who I can go to for help/feedback.
  • Think or write about lessons learned (5 min, 1x/day)
Being Thankful
Reflect every day on what I’m thankful for.
  • Think or write about what I’m thankful for (5 min, 1x/day)
Integrity: Being True to Myself
Reflect at the end of the day on how that day fits with my values and goals and what could be better tomorrow.
  • Think or write about how my day fit with my values and goals (5 min, 1x/day)
Making a Positive Difference in Others’ Lives
Carve out some time to explore what kind of service/volunteer activities I could reasonably fit into my schedule.
  • Research volunteer opportunities (30 min, 1x/month)
Reflect each day on interactions with others, how positive I was, and what I could do better.
  • Think or write about how my day fit with my values and goals (5 min, 1x/day)
Keeping Life (House, Car, Office) Clean and Clutter-Free
Work a little each month to clean out attic.
  • Clean attic (1 hour, 1x/month)
Go through old clothes, purses, and shoes a little each month and give the ones I don’t use to Goodwill.
  • Go through old stuff (1 hour, 1x/month)
Set a weekend every month to clean out car.
  • Clean out car (1 hour, 1x/month)
Set a weekend every month to dust and vacuum.
  • Dust and vacuum (2 hours, 1x/month)
Go through the mail and Jackson’s old school papers once per week.
  • Go through mail and misc papers (1 hour, 1x/week)
Work a little every couple of months to put together photo albums and scrapbooks from memorabilia in the attic.
  • Organize memorabilia (1 hour, 1x/month)

Wow…that was exhausting! And, we were only thinking about the activities and not actually doing them!

So, I’ll give you all a couple days to figure out your activities. Next time, we’ll take a look at the hours, days, weeks, and months that comprise our lives and see where all these activities can possibly fit in.

Until next time…


Posted on April 13, 2011, in The Balancing Act and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Finally got my activities finished. Looking forward to the next segment.

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