Most people often write their bucket list (life goals list) and don’t give a second thought to the order of the items on the list. So why do you need to prioritize items on your bucket list and how are you to know which items you should focus on?
You have limited resources
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need to rewrite the list. Why? Because of the limited resources that we tend to have; if not money, then time or attention. Sometimes you may not have support from people.
Limited resources mean that you need to prioritize what you focus on first.
Also, some of your bucket list items may depend on others. For example, you may need to save a certain amount before going on a vacation in Italy.
Or you may want to consider your feelings. For example, you will feel good when you look at your Italian vacation photos because you look slim and fit. So, you may need to lose some weight first.
You may also have limited attention to devote to multiple projects. For example, you may want to write a non-fiction book and a novel. You also write for your day job and it tends to exhaust you. Then, you will need to prioritize either the non-fiction book or the novel. Choose the one that will make you feel good in the near future.
Rewriting your bucket list and giving an order to which goals you should go after first will allow you to optimize the resources (money, time, attention) available to you. In the end, time and attention tend to be our most precious resources. People can gain and lose money. However, we tend to lose more when we don’t act soon enough or if we are distracted. These, in turn, keep us from living the life we were meant to live. We reap success when we focus our attention and we reap compounded results when we invest our time wisely.
How to prioritize your bucket list?
First, categorize your bucket list item according to goals that are precursors to others. For example, as stated before, establishing a consistent saving is the precursor for going on a vacation in Italy. You may want to write this as:
Establish consistent saving -> Vacation in Italy.
Now, not all goals are precursors to others. For example, learning how to dot-art paint is not a precursor for writing a novel. In this case, you put these on two different lines:
Dot-art paint -> Paint a large wall dot-art paint. Write a novel -> Sell a minium of 1000 copies of my novel.
The result of this example is two independent paths to achieving items on your bucket list.
After you have categorized and rewritten your bucket list with precursors and independent paths, take a look at the number of independent paths that you have.
The first goal of each independent path is a critical goal. A critical goal is one that must be accomplished and which other goals depend on. Oftentimes, achieving the critical goal will generate momentum to go after the other goals dependent on the critical goal.
Also, by rewriting your list you will clearly see which paths are long paths. The earlier you get started on the critical goals of long paths, the higher the likelihood that you will accomplish your eventual dream associated with that path.
Choosing critical goals to start with
When I did the previous exercise I ended up with 9 critical goals.
The last step is to determine which goals require the most money, or time, or attention.
Determine which critical goals which cost the least and which ones will cost the most.
How you choose from here depends on which ultimate dream you want the most. I ended up choosing to work on 3 critical goals with long paths (so that I get started earlier), 2 critical goals with short paths, and 1 critical goal that have multiple chunks of the same thing (e.g. writing several short stories). Of the 3 critical goals with long paths, one of these has moderate costs and the other two are low cost. The 2 critical goals with short paths and the 1 critical goal that have multiple chunks are also low cost. Of the two critical goal with short paths, one of these has multiple chunks.
I will not focus on all of the 6 critical goals at the same time as two require similar skills and thus similar attention.
Now I can stratify how I do these goals in one year. I know some of the goals will not be completed in one year. But, at least, two goals could be accomplished, and I am okay with this because I know the other goals will be accomplished once I persist with it. For example:
|March||GoalL1||GoalL2||GoalS4 Chunk 1||GoalL6|
|April||GoalL1||GoalL2||GoalS4 Chunk 1||GoalL6|
|August||GoalL1||GoalL2||GoalS4 Chunk 2||GoalL6|
|September||GoalL1||GoalL2||GoalS4 Chunk 2||GoalL6|
|October||GoalL2||GoalS4 Chunk 3||GoalL6|
|November||GoalL2||GoalS4 Chunk 3||GoalL6|
|December||GoalL2||GoalS4 Chunk 3||GoalL6|
If 6 goals are too much to pursue then choose just 2 goals: one with a long path and another with a short path.
Organize your bucket list and prioritize your goals. Check for the number of independent paths to the life you desire. This will help you to optimize your resources and gain the necessary momentum to go after life long dreams.