At my work, we develop goals on a quarterly cadence, and we do so pretty thoughtfully in order to limit our focus on what the key achievements we’re striving for are.
This works great for me; Rosemary Orchard and I have spoken numerous times of the twelve week year on Nested Folders. What gets me every time, though, are the all-the-other-things: projects that might be needed or wanted, but which aren’t in service of my goals.
I think a lot about how full everyone’s days are. We consume content and ideas in all our waking hours. Anything we do is not just a thing we have chosen, but also a signal of something we have forgone. Silly finite time.
In consideration of all of this, I now have two root folders in my task management system:
Obviously, goals contains the (small) number of projects and their associated tasks that map back to my goals. Everything else goes in Distractions.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t work on projects or skip taking action on tasks inside the Distractions folder. I’d love to, but that isn’t practical.
What it does mean, though, is that I am reminded at every turn that a step towards project in Distractions is a step away from outcomes in Goals.
Choices have consequences, and I need to make sure I remember that. It might seem harsh to call critical things distractions, but left unchecked, the urgent and the critical will eat my goals for lunch.