(A collaboration of the Engineer and the Un. The Un is the perpetual adolescent in all of us. The Uns want to do things differently, bass-ackwards. The Engineer is the practical problem-solver in all of us. The Engineers are always finding ways to get things done.)

Which goals?
The big Goals, of course. The Goals everybody said you are supposed to have. The Goals you haven’t looked at in a while. Housecleaning you save for spring. But goal cleaning you can do any time.

If you don’t have goals, other people will provide them.

Maybe I don’t want to dump my goals.
Then keep them. They’re your goals. You can do what you want with them. Keep them. Wait for them. Wish for them. Plan for them. Update them. Revise them. Work for them. Or dump them. You choose.

Choosing is the first step toward being in charge.

I can’t do all those things at once.
Not on the same goal. But most people are doing all those things at once, just on different goals. They just don’t notice. A person can only focus on one thing at a time. So pick one goal and focus on it.

The easiest way to do many things is to do one thing at a time.

There are too many. How do I pick one?
Unload your brain. Get a scratch pad and write and goals that you think of. Don’t bother to organize them. Just leave plenty of space.

If you see a goal that you don’t want any more, dump it. Don’t just say that to yourself. Tear it off and put it in a dump stack. If you’re not sure, make another stack for that kind. If you see a goal that’s a keeper, put it in the keeper stack.

Some of these goals depend on each other. That’s one of the advantages of writing them down. If they depend on each other, put them together.

How do I know I have thought of all my goals?
Pay attention to what you do. Pay attention to what you want to do. Figure out where those doings will take you.

Your goal is where you are going. Whether you know it or not.

Now that I’ve got these stacks what do I do with them? Pick the goals that used up most of your time and effort last week.

Is that the way you would have spent your time if you had been looking at the stack of goals in front of you? If so, feel smug. If not, there’s always next week. And you’ve got that stack of goals to look at.

Or you can forget about the stack of goals. Set them aside for later. Even dump those goals. Works out the same either way. Except that if you dump them, you know what you are doing.

Author's Bio: 

Selby Evans was formerly Professor of Psychology at Texas Christian University and an independent consultant in behavioral research. He retired some years ago. Not yet having attained the age of senility, he now provides consulting to the Applied Cognitive Research Lab at Texas Christian University and maintains a website, thinkerer.org, intended to disseminate the findings of applied cognitive research to people interested in self-improvement, self-growth, and self-direction. He also maintains a blog at thinkerer.blogspot.com