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Every new idea that I had, I want to pursue, but cannot because of limiting factors such as:

  1. Time
  2. Experience
  3. and too many things to do.

    • I am a software engineer. I love programming and have to learn many new technologies and concept. I'd like to open my own company.

    • I participate in dance classes. I love dance and would like to use some time to practice and choreograph new steps.

    • I enjoy photography.

    • I create some small creative videos and work on my new website design. Lack of skills in these areas results in excess time spent.

    • I have a family and home that are high priority.

I need a way to organize and prioritize both my tasks and my time.

I struggle with self-expectations when my knowledge in limited in a field and this causes to feel depressed.

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5 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

As the others have mentioned, look at GTD first. Use it to neatly sorted out your life into checklist format. Another good book on why checklists work is The Checklist Manifesto. It's a more pleasant read than GTD, as entertaining as a good novel, so you may want to check that out first.

I'd highly recommend The 4-Hour Workweek as your next stop. It explains how to simplify your life and have more time for yourself.

Take note of the Pareto Principle. 80% of the fun in your life comes from 20% of the things you do. Find out that 20%. For many of us, it's spending time with the family, as well as working on a set few hobbies that we turn into our careers. Ruthlessly eliminate the 80% of hobbies that aren't making your life amazing. It will hurt at first, but it's likely you can learn to live without them.

You'll likely have a lot of things on your list that are boring to do, but necessary. Things like writing letters, doing research on particular people, or finding out the best place to buy that car or house you're looking at. If you live in a first world country, outsource your chores. If you're making $15 an hour, consider paying someone in a poorer country $5/hour to do all that time-consuming work. Sites like Elance and Odesk are great for this. And you since you love programming, you can make back that money from those outsourcing sites doing something you enjoy.

Once you decide on a hobby, powerlearn it. We're taught since childhood that in order to be good at something, you have to learn everything about it and get good grades. This is false. There are a few key concepts that make all the difference. Again, apply the Pareto Principle and find the 20% of things that are used 80% of the time. In programming, it's things like functions that fall into that category, even though many of us have spent so much time learning to use pointers. In cooking, it's the simple ingredients like garlic and ghee, and not the $50 saffron and $200 wine. Find the right 20/80 ratios for the field you choose.

As a side note, I don't think you actually want to open your own company. That involves working 12 hours a day, several days a week until you drop. Read the E-Myth Revisited for an eerily accurate explanation of how many small businesses end up. If you like programming, be a programmer. If you like entrepreneurship, start a company. But you can't have both. Once you have your own business, you spend the rest of your life finding people to program, teaching them to program, and never actually doing it yourself.

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I am very impatience to ready any book. But thanks for the resources you suggested. –  articlestack Jul 23 '13 at 11:43
    
Ah, just recommendations. If you don't like reading books, you can just look at the summary on the Amazon pages, but I've also summarized it in the post. GTD is essentially about writing down everything you plan to do, in three types - what you're going to do next, what you'd like to do someday, and what you're storing as reference. –  Muz Jul 23 '13 at 23:56
    
GTD helps, but in my case, not completely. I don't like mobile app for this, and can't take my PC to any where ... –  articlestack Jul 24 '13 at 7:53
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I've found that taking the time to write down the steps to achieve each goal is hugely important. Use whatever tool you want, but make it so you can cross things off, check them off, etc. as you go.

As another poster mentioned above, the Checklist Manifesto is amazing and will change your life. If you're not willing to make a quick checklist for whatever the goal is, I've found it usually means I'm not really invested in achieving it.

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The first thing to do is accept that you can't do everything that interests you, at least not at the same time. This is a lesson I continue to struggle with.

The second thing to do is find a process that works for you to help organize and prioritize the things you want to do. Covey's Urgent/Important matrix (search the web, many good references available) and David Allen's "Getting Things Done" higher levels of focus (http://www.gtdtimes.com/2011/01/26/the-6-horizons-of-focus/) have both been very useful to me.

Use the tools and monitor your activity to make sure you are putting time into the things you have decided are important now. One technique that I'm experimenting with for that is logging the time I spend on each of my GTD 20,000 foot Areas of Focus, and monitoring that data to see if my time is distributed as I would like it to be.

Also helpful in my experience is a "Someday/Maybe" or "bucket" list. The things I want to do but don't have time (or other resources) for now go on that list, where I can review it regularly and see if anything has changed that would let me make progress now.

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What you are going through is something that many people experience some time in their lives. First and foremost, it seems that you do not follow any productivity system to organize your work. You should consider to start using any technique that you find easy to take up. Have a look at .

Once you have a system up and running, break down big tasks into smaller chunks and work through them.

Prioritize tasks and allot time to each dependent on priority. For example, if you consider your blog more important than dancing, then give a bigger chunk of time to blogging.

As you distribute your time over all the tasks, you will realise that the total time you need may exceed the total time you have. Thats where a little prioritization and introspection will help. Do you want to become an expert dancer or just a good dancer? Do you want your blog to be famous or you just want to write?

By answering such questions you will be able to hone in on your real and most important interests and focus on them. As you spend more time on a lower number of tasks, your expertise in each will increase, thereby requiring less time next time you do it.

So, you will end up with more time in your day for more tasks by focussing on a smaller number of tasks in the beginning!

In essence, prioritize interests, reduce number of interests, work on selected tasks, achieve objectives, diversify interests.

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I would recommend you to get a lynda.com subscription. You can get 7 days free trial, and look for time management fundamentals by Dave Crenshaw(it is all about gtd idea), and I personally use omnifocus, so maybe omnifocus essentials to gather all your thoughts and task floating around in your head. or any other tool that you like.

Personally, I had same problems as you and these things have helped me to prioritize, gather, plan, and finish what's planned.

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