Most people have a mental image of them doing something they have wanted to do since their childhood. But as we grow older, responsibilities start to kick in and the dream that once was our driving force sits in a closet somewhere collecting dust. This is the case for most of us who feel they don’t belong to their current job, as it involves juggling work time and family time. And when we finally have some time to ourselves, we are too exhausted from work and family to do anything but rest.
But what if you wanted to change that? What if this work-sleep-repeat cycle isn’t your jam? What if your dream is too important for you to forget? Should you quit your job entirely to pursue it? Well, let’s first take a look at what Steve Jobs had to say about it:
“I would suggest you focus on both. you can not get success with hands in your pocket, and you can not achieve your passion without the help of others.
Whatever your age is, it’s for gaining experience. Do your job which helps you to survive, besides be consistently focused on your dreams. One day your patience and consistency will lead you to achieve your goal.”
But what if I don’t have time to focus on my goal?
What if I am too busy to focus on my dream?
You work in cracks and crevasses. While working at his day job, Stephen King used to write during his lunch break. Chris Gardner, being a homeless single parent, used to prepare for his job selection exam in whatever time he had in between an unpaid internship and taking care of his son. You need to pinpoint those cracks and crevasses in your daily work management plan and use them to work on yourself. Find the slivers of free time between responsibilities, and do your best to utilize that time to the fullest.
In fact, you can do the math for yourself. In a 168 hour week (seven days) you get about eight hours every day to work, eight to sleep. If you give three out of the remaining eight hours per day to your family and friends, you get five hours per day to work on yourself. Contrast this with Elon Musk, who sleeps less than seven hours a day, and frequently logs 120 hours out of a 168 hour work week. He doesn’t leave Tesla factory for days at a time. Even the most successful people have to compromise on sleep to work on something that they really care about. Time is short, and you never have enough; but you have to find the little time you can.
To do this more effectively you need to consider what you want to achieve in the near future and organize work list accordingly and create a strategy. Here are a few tips:
- Make a prioritized task list with strict timeframes. You must only fill your task list with tasks that are urgent and important. According to Pareto’s law, 80% of outputs depends on 20% of the inputs, as in two-out-of-ten tasks would give you 80% return on efforts, and the rest can be delegated, delayed, or even discarded. Here’s how you can find the top 20% of the most important and urgent tasks and save some time to work on yourself.
- You will always have to compromise on time. There are never enough hours in a day, and time is finite. You’ll have to plan effectively to borrow time from other sections of your life without hurting yourself. It could be taking time out of your lunch break, leisure time, or even sleep (as a last resort). It’s recommended you never take time out of family time, or other business time; that’s setting yourself up for failure and hardship.
- Do not multitask. People who struggle with time often try multitasking to compensate for the time lost. It’s tempting; splitting your time between two or more tasks might put you ahead further than having to plod through each one individually. However, this is far from reality. There is a rule when it comes to work management that mustn’t be violated: focus on one thing at a time. There is compelling and extensive evidence that multitasking has an adverse effect on your brain. Thus, try to commit to one thing at a time.
- Learn from others to craft your own plan. One thing that helped me work towards my goal is observing how successful people did it. A common trait I observed is that successful people make their plans non-negotiable. Once they have a plan in place, they don’t allow any unnecessary interference in between. Be it working or taking a break; they do what they plan to do, and stick to the plan.
What if I am afraid to focus on my goals?
You might be afraid to focus on your goals when you have bills that need to be paid. However, remember that we can learn from other successful plans; follow the path of those who have achieved success, or use their experience to help craft your own path.
When your dream seems buried beneath never-ending responsibilities, it might be necessary to pour a little extra positivity in your life. There are countless people who also have encountered severe challenges on their path to success. It is critical to infuse positivity into your mind because the fees of living your dreams is paid-in-full upfront before you see the desired results. In simpler terms, this means that you’ll encounter tons of challenges before you begin to see positive results with your bootstrapping. You must have a strong mindset to survive because, once you achieve your goal and are living your dream, the fees will be worth it.
One of the most important aspects of chasing your goal is to realize when you need to reassess. If you cannot endure it, then you must not really care for it. This isn’t inherently a bad thing; it just requires you to find the thing that you really want. Steve Jobs again explained it well: “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”
What if I don’t have a goal yet?
If you feel like you don’t belong in your current employment, but also don’t know what you want to do with your life, then you might want to consider the following:
- Career – What level of success do you want to reach in your career, or what do you truly want to achieve?
- Financial – How much do you want to earn, and by what stage? How is this related to your career goals?
- Education – Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve other goals?
- Family – Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family?
- Artistic – Do you want to achieve any artistic goals?
- Attitude – Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of your behavior that upsets you? (If so, set a goal to improve your behavior or find a solution to the problem.)
- Physical – Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve, or do you want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
- Pleasure – How do you want to enjoy yourself? (You should ensure that some of your life is for you!)
- Public Service – Do you want to make the world a better place? If so, how?
Think critically about what you want to achieve. Think about what time feels right to achieve it, and make sure you have the right reasons for doing it. Sometimes, we do things just because they are trendy or most of our friends are doing it, which won’t get you far enough. You must make sure that you are doing it because you really care.
We live on this planet for a finite amount of time, and most of us reluctantly waste it fulfilling someone else’s dream. We end up unhappy, and in some cases even depressed. You deserve to follow what you like in life and to do that, you need to think long term and big picture. Follow these guidelines and identify what you really need to do to take that next step towards making a change in the universe. Even if the universe starts with just you.
Have any tips for achieving your personal dreams? Have you applied these tips to indie hacking? Share your thoughts, dreams, and aspirations below, to start the conversation!