Trying to Accomplish Too Many Goals At Once

31. January 2015 Life Advice 0


Many people in life look to better themselves in numerous ways. Some are just happy with accomplishing one or two goals. Others have way too many goals to accomplish collectively. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but depending upon the plan of attack or Goal Execution Strategy, success is either gained easily or very hard. Much of this has to do with the human mind or psyche.

This article is geared toward people who have many aspirations and who are very ambitious. People who fall in this category strive to be outliers; standing out from the crowd is a major goal in such a competitive world. Generally, outliers have numerous goals which justify the means, allowing them to stand out. However, many people execute their goals in such a way that is counterproductive. After reading this article the pitfalls of a bad Goal Execution Strategy can be avoided.

Why So Many Goals?

As mentioned previously, those who generally have so many goals are people striving to be outliers. Sometimes it’s the result of just trying to be an expert at everything. For example, John is trying to become an expert Game Engine Programmer while also trying to become an expert Guitar Player while also trying to become an expert Boxer. It sounds like John has many aspirations and interests and this speaks highly to his character. Certainly this is the inverse of someone who just gets by in life without much motivation or interest in anything.

Anyone like John is passionate about life. Career success is important but so is digging into the creative soul. Family is likely also important and keeping that relationship healthy is also a large goal. People like John are attempting to be superheros which is respectful and admirable. It’s hard to compare Superman to an average Joe so perhaps becoming excellent in many different things sounds rather appealing when looking at it on the surface.

Each goal could be considered to have a different level of importance but belong to different goal categories. The practice of being impatient generally leads to trying to do too much at once with too little time. Everyone has heard the complaint of too much to do with too little time. This is a major obstacle outliers face when trying to be superheros.

The Reality of Time

If someone can relate to John then the concept of not enough time has definitely arisen. Most people have full-time jobs, a family to take care of, friends to entertain, hobbies to indulge in, higher learning to focus on, or just general chores such as painting the house or fixing the sink. When trying to do too much at once all these things can be devastating on the psyche. It’s very common to hear of people trying to get too much done at once and then realizing they never could really finish anything.

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That’s a huge concept to understand. With so much to do all that can happen is the division of time to each desired task or goal. What generally happens is not spending enough time on a task and getting sub par results as a consequence. Other times the mind can mentally break down and procrastinate due to the overwhelming feeling of so much to do and not enough time.

To make matters worse when something unexpected comes up and that interferes with an important goal, the feeling of being derailed can also cause further setbacks. Depression and guilt are very common when an extremely ambitious person is unable to meet the demands of their goals.

The important take away is it’s counterproductive to try doing too many things at once. More often than not being unrealistic and trying to do too much at once will actually set most people back due to the feeling mentioned above that hardly any goals will be accomplished or met within a realistic time frame. It’d be the equivalent of not having the goals at all. This is a sad state of affairs when it strikes and can be detrimental to the success of a person. Fortunately, there is a solution that works.

The Solution

Solving this issue is as simple as reducing the amount of active goals being worked on simultaneously. Only focusing on a select few tasks or goals at the same time will allow the mind to properly focus and feel less overwhelmed. This increases productivity and progress ten-fold. No longer will the psyche become overwhelmed, depressed, or exhibit procrastination. Below is a list of guidelines for getting the most out of goals.

  1. Increase focus by limiting active goals.
  2. Prioritize goals in order of most importance and focus on what really matters now.
  3. Develop a Goal Execution Plan and allow room for unexpected life events.
  4. Once a goal has been achieved, cross it off the list and focus on the next goal in order of importance.
  5. Getting good at something requires a lot of time (research suggests 10,000 hours to become an expert). Limiting your active goals will allow reaching the 10,000 hour mark for a current goal much faster. Granted, the 10,000 hour idea should be looked upon objectively.
  6. Remember that a goal not actively being worked on is still a goal and will eventually be started and finished.

Narrowing the focus on what goals to actively accomplish at a given time greatly increases focus, allows for success much faster, and provides a feeling of accomplishment as the fruits of one’s labor become evident. Gone are the feelings of procrastination, anxiety, depression, and guilt. The mind will feel free and more determined.

The other goals not actively being worked on aren’t necessarily being swept under the rug. Rather, they are put on hold to eventually become working targets. In the example given earlier, if John were to follow the advice given here then he would realize (for the sake of example) that his career is the most important goal right now. Because of this, he’d focus on becoming an expert Game Engine Programmer and put on hold becoming an expert Guitar Player and Boxer.

Once a milestone has been reached then John can begin working on his goal of becoming an expert Guitar Player. Then perhaps once a milestone has been reached on that goal he could work on becoming and expert Boxer. The exact formula will vary from person to person but the idea is to limit what’s actively being persued to allow greater focus and faster results.

This is similar to the idea of working on a plan to pay off debt. Perhaps someone has four credit cards and they are only paying a little bit on each every month. This gives a feeling of hopelessness because it will take much longer to pay all of these credit cards off in contrast to just focusing on paying off one credit card at a time. Granted, each credit card would have to have a payment made but one credit card could have a much higher payment and could be the goal to pay off first. Doing it this way provides a feeling of accomplishment much faster. Dave Ramsey has preached this before and it’s highly recommended and translatable into everyday goals.


Absolutely is the information in this article in no way shape or form the one-sized fits all solution to becoming the most successful with tackling a ton of goals at the same time. Books have been written about being able to do a ton at once in a realistic fashion (here’s an example). However, this may not work for everyone. The content of this article is the opinion of the author based upon individual research. It’s likely that doing a simple Google search will provide similar information. Take the information found in this article and use it to gain an advantage.

Please sound off in the comments below if there are different approaches to solving this solution. Comments and suggestions are always welcome. As a bonus, for those trying to ditch the idea of being great at something by following the 10,000 hour rule, watch this amazing video.

Daniel Eagle

Currently residing in the Austin area, Daniel Eagle is an avid gamer, writer, technology/science enthusiast, software developer, and educator. He takes great pride in spreading knowledge and helping others.

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