Rafi Khan

Senior Software Engineer | Ottawa, Canada

Supporting society through innovation

Prioritize, ruthlessly

If you are someone who wants to get a lot done, change the world, invent new technologies, help people, solve all the problems, you’ve got a lot on your list.

No matter which organization method or todo app I’ve used, my lists keep growing. They’re so large that I come up with ideas faster than I can organize them, and definitely faster than I can act on them.

Here’s one list of ideas out of hundreds. I’ve come up with more ideas in 2 months than I can achieve in 2 years.

But I can’t give up. There is too much to do yes, and maybe I can’t do it all. But the general feeling is one of urgency, anxiety. If I don’t get x done today, I won’t have time for y tomorrow. If I don’t finish this API today then I won’t be able to build that interface tomorrow, to ship that feature on Friday.

It’s exhausting.

It’s ineffective.

Let’s zoom out and get some perspective.

The goal wasn’t to be busy, or to feel like we’re superheroes because we can tick off 50 tasks in a day.

My goal is to leave the world a better place than I found it. To improve the lives of those around me and those to come after me. Towards this end, I have identified certain milestones that I want to contribute to. Personally, I want humans to build civilizations in the galaxy and beyond.

Notice that 95% of what is on my list above doesn’t contribute to this. At all. Some of the ideas might help me get there. I want to start a business that helps me achieve financial freedom, so I can focus all my efforts for the remainder of my life to achieving my goals.

You have to prioritize ruthlessly. Delete anything from your list that doesn’t contribute to your goal. It may not contribute immediately, but if it isn’t contributing at all then you just know it’s a distraction.

This doesn’t come without downsides.

Something I have struggled with for the longest time is how to maintain friendships and community connections while being so focused on these stratospheric goals. I find it hard to build a fulfilling life if I am not working on these crazy missions. But focusing all of my attention on my work results in neglecting my family, friends and community.

If you’ve had any luck figuring this out, please let me know 🙂