Do whatever you want

Unclear pathsAre you doing what you want to be doing?

This seems like a simple question, and it seems like most people should be able to say yes. And yet, many of us can’t say yes. Instead we say things like:

  • I want to like my job, but I feel like I’m burnt out.
  • I don’t know how to make the right career decision.
  • I am always busy, but never satisfied.

Clearly this question is more complicated than it seems!

Let’s break it down.

Are you doing…

The first three words of this question are packed with meaning. To be able to answer this part, you have to know what you’re doing. How do you spend your time? Not in a general sense, but hour by hour. Where does your time go?

Try this: Spend a week writing it all down, including your personal activities. Keep it simple. Write a list or perhaps use a free timer app like Toggl. Just don’t get wrapped up in the process of tracking. That’s not the point.

… what you want to be doing?

Most of us feel like we have a sense for what we want out of life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or dissatisfied, consider taking a closer look.

Have you thought about your values in concrete terms lately? Do you have a set of actionable goals that you’re working toward that relate to your values? Are they manageable when taken  together?

Can you rattle off these answers on a moment’s notice, or do the questions feel more complicated? If it’s complicated, take a break from whatever is filling your time so you can reprioritize your activities.

Get physical

My wonderful marketing coach Danielle Ross has taught me the value of writing down goals and checking in with them every single day. The truth is, humans are not very good at estimating or recalling. We might tell ourselves “Oh, I spent about 10 minutes on Facebook today,” but if you set a timer or use an automated tracker like RescueTime, the truth comes out!

There’s nothing like setting aside a brief time each day to capture how your day went and reconnect with your goals. The more concrete your tracking is, the better. You might create a physical bulletin board and use index cards or Post-It notes to show your goals and your daily progress toward them. Doing something like this in the physical world, outside of your computer, is more compelling and motivating, but a spreadsheet is better than nothing!

Say Yes!

Try some of these techniques for a while, and see whether you can transform your answer to the question.

Are you doing what you want to be doing?

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