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As the new year begins it’s always good to look back on the past year. Surely, you’ve had some good times, but there might also have been some bad times. This isn’t, in any way, meant to make you dwell on any regrets you’ve gotten in the past. Rather, the idea is much simpler: organise your methods, and focus, just allow this year to be a major improvement.

The suggestions here wont work for everyone as is; you might, as always, have to adjust them a little for yourselves. What’s shared here is more what has been working perfectly for me since the start of December 2022; I would hope it can be usefull to others.

1. Prioritize Where You Focus

I enjoy the fact that I have hundreds, if not thousands, of hobbies, and skills. It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to do a ton more than others. It’s also a bit of a curse. Consider my main programming project Active e-Fitness, coming to Android soon. Then consider my 2 game concepts, and my game engine work. Then consider my 3 personal software projects; budgeting, NaNoE, a second financial project. Then my novel, unpublished, and 2 planned for the future. This is just a small number of the main projects I was jumping between on a regular basis. Sure, it was built on the idea that we’re asked to stay careful at home, but it would help to actually finish them. Once in a while, mind you.

The easiest way to do this would be to take the time to get an understanding of the long lists of things you always want to do. Put them into simple categories; then prioritise a single thing in each category for you to do. This way you have a few areas you can swap between to keep yourself busy, still, but you can minimise the amount you jump around. This way you can start to finish things for yourself again.

I’ve created a simple excel spreadsheet, you’ll need WinRar, for organising my own priorities. The idea is simple – have a few sheets of what you want, and need, to do. I’d suggest sticking to a maximum of 5. One is for purchases, and 4 other areas you’d like to focus in. My 5th category happens to be this website content – that’s why I’ve managed to start finishing things again, and posting more.

The summary sheet

Using the notes on the right, stick to a single item listed as what you need to do on the other sheets. You can see the formulas used in the ‘To-Do‘ column in excel if you need to add more – it just prioritises a single row marked ‘in progress‘. Simple to understand, easy to use.

Example sheet

The intention is to have a place to put everything you ever need to do, and prioritise and focus on singular tasks to completion. The only thing different for ‘Purchase‘ would be that you can have multiple things you need to buy. You can just list whatever you want to buy there, and towards the end of the month you’d mark each item you will purchase with ‘in progress‘.

This isn’t another programming project, yet – mind you, because of me following this rule. That’s why my focus is on my next fitness app, which I intend to release soon. Simpler can be better.

2. Split Everything; Smaller is Easier

While I don’t enjoy splitting my projects up too much, it fits in easier into the To Do above. I have 2 game concepts that I’ve been designing, after a few small play tests, that I want to put into my own game engine, EVx. Sure, I built the engine over XNA, and DirectX 9, in the past; I just wanted to try get it around Vulkan now. While I could do either game with the engine, it’s easier to do the engine on its own. Split, and separate, your tasks as much as you see would fit and work for you.

Consider it like a programming team project at a company. You will have broad topics, such as create Super Software Version 2, and small topics inside that. It is easier to split the project up into smaller sprints of work. Sprit 1 focuses on the login system, in that there are many more tasks; such as login page layout, password encryption, the database layers, and so on. Sprint 2 will focus on The First User Application Needs, with it’s own sub tasks as well. This isn’t to teach you everything about sprint planning, and focuses in software development, no. Just to give an example, so you can hopefully understand that making the steps for your tasks into smaller chunks will also help you achieve your goals.

This can even be seen in places like your bodily fitness. If you can’t do the hardcore exercises you googled just stop right there for a puase. Take the moment to get easier smaller exercises; then then try those. There are always hundreds more you can try out for yourself. It’s rather close to the age old Rome wasn’t built in a day, walk around the block after work every day if it’s safe for you, then in a month try the first exercises again. Smaller tasks allow you to start somewhere, instead of getting lost in time and space just saying you will do something about it.

3. Don’t Make Other People’s Problems Your Own

You’re forever welcome to help people out whenever you can, it helps with feeling better as a person, it also means people will do more for you. To help keep your focus in life on yourself always just take a moment to consider if that person actually needs that help.

A best friend needs a quick car repair and they ask you for help? If you can with comfort financially, just go for it, that’s what best friends are for. A close person asked you to help them with fitness, and exercise, then barely did anything? Don’t be the one doing all the work if they aren’t even going to use the help they ask for.

That’s why this is my 3rd suggestion – I spent near 2 years making other people’s problems my own. It’s detrimental and it slowly grinds you down. It removes the enjoyment you have with their company that they just make their problem yours and do nothing more. It’s fine to help people that deserve it; it’s never a good idea to help people that don’t use the assistance they ask for.

Final Thoughts

Let’s all have a fantastic year ahead; and I hope these small adjustments will help you as much as they’ve been helping me since March last year. Prioritize what you will focus on; achieve things through smaller, simpler, goals; and don’t make other people’s problems your own!