- Find some paper. The bigger, the better.
- Write out what you are doing, who you are doing it for, and why you are doing it. Be brutally honest.
- Take a good look at the paper. Don’t do anything but look at it and reflect on what you’ve written. In fact, drink a cup of tea or coffee while doing so, and don’t do anything else until you have drank the last drop.
- Start crossing out the stuff that doesn’t resonate with you on some level that is deeper than “I have to do this”. If you look at all of the criteria, you can avoid the “have to” items and get to the “want to” items.
- Take the items that you crossed out and write them down on a piece of paper. The smaller the paper, the better.
- Take the items you didn’t cross out and write them down on a piece of paper. The bigger the paper, the better.
- Compare the two pieces of paper. While doing this, you should (hopefully) realize that the smaller stuff shouldn’t get in the way of the bigger stuff. The small paper represents stuff of little import, the big paper represents stuff of bigger import.
The next steps are up to you. Either live with two pieces of paper or try to make that smaller paper even smaller — which will make the other paper seem even bigger. If you need to prioritize the big paper stuff, then go ahead. Make it one giant to do list. Whatever you need to do to make it the focus.
The big paper stuff is the big picture. The small paper stuff just blocks your view. Get it out of the way so you can see your big picture clearly.
Photo credit: Shawn Campbell (CC BY 2.0)