If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the goals you’ve set and all the routes that can get you to your destination, this life mapping activity should help streamline your goal-setting process. All you’ll need is a pad of sticky notes and a blank wall to get started! First things first, start brainstorming all of the things that you currently have on your plate (or rumbling around in your head). Capture each one down on an individual sticky note including things that you’re currently in the process of doing (projects), tasks that are on your to-do list, life changes that you want to make, day-to-day time commitments, and so on.
Next, create one sticky note for each of the following four categories: vision, strategy, projects, and tasks. Then start sorting all of your brainstorming sticky notes that you originally made under one of these categories. Ones that are major changes to the overall quality of your life will go under the “vision” category, those that will help you achieve that lifestyle go under the “strategy” category, the “projects” are goals you need to achieve so that your strategy can be more successful. And finally “action items” are the day-to-day things on your to-do list. For each vision, you’ll have a strategy sticky notes, as well as some project and task sticky notes (see the example of a chain of steps below).
• Vision – your big goals that describe the overall quality of life that you want. They can take years to complete and have no due date.
• Strategy- the things that you need to achieve to turn your vision into a reality. These might be subject to change, even if your vision stays the same.
• Project– steps you’re currently taking (or need to take) to achieve the major goal.
• Action Items – things on your immediate to-do list that will get the ball rolling
Make sense? Good! Continue this process until every one of the original sticky notes falls under one of your four categories. Now take a step back and see what changes need to be made. Is there a particular strategy that can replace another? Is there a simpler project that you can complete that might replace an entire strategy? (a certification versus a college degree) Or, have you realized that one of your life visions does not yet have a strategy in place? Even better, have you taken a look at the steps you need to take to achieve a goal but you feel totally unmotivated by the process? In this case, this vision might be something that you just need to bless, release, and leave behind.
Once you’ve decided what visions or strategies need more planning or need to be removed completely, keep your life map visible and make changes as frequently as you need to!
Adapted from Stever Robbins, Get it Done Guy