Align your projects to live the life you want.

Several things inspired this post: a conversation I had with my mentee, a project that fell through and a podcast I listened to 1 ½ years ago.  My mentee had listed time management as one of the areas she wanted to work on.  In our discussion, I outlined steps I took to ensure my projects aligned with goals to prevent overload and to maximize happiness.  I don’t know about you but, l can keep myself overly busy with the endless projects in a given week, month or year.

I was asked to pitch a project I had in mind to a major corporation not once but several times.   Meaning they approached me. It was one I was passionate about and thought that the corporation was as well.  To make a long story short, I was asked to provide more and more information to the tune of 40 hours of my time when all along they were perhaps not interested.  In hindsight, I should have asked additional questions before giving up my time so freely.  This led to a modification of what I told my mentee.

The podcast was an interview Marin Kate of Escaping the 9 to 5 did of John P. Strelecky and Tim Brownson the authors of “How to be Rich and Happy”.  I know the book title sounds hokey but let me get to the statement John made in the interview, which has had me re-evaluating my life since.

John talks about “the big 5 for life”. In the interview he explains this as “Figuring out the 5 things that you most want to do, see and experience in your lifetime.  Then start aligning all of your activities, all of your moments in your life around those 5 things.”  I just love that!

So if you want to build a life where you kayak on Puget Sound every morning because it makes you happy then do it.  Sounds simple?  I think so and I think we sometimes make life harder than it is.  Later in the interview they add: believing that you can have these things, taking action and surrounding yourself with like-minded others.

So the next time another project presents itself, how do you avoid doing a project for the sake of the project?  The first would be to list your goals and values.  Since my last post on goals I have simplifed my list: family, medical career, increasing active income, and increasing passive income (niche sites, product etc).  If you have any trouble listing your values have a look at this list of values.  After you have your list of goals and values,  ask yourself:


1. Does it align with my goals and values?

2. How much time will it take?

3. Do I have the time?

4. Or is the project simply for fun?


On the last one, if you don’t’ do some projects for fun life would get boring.  And with my recent experience, I would add a fifth question if you are going to be working with someone else or another organization collaboratively:

 5. Does the project align with their goals?  Will it fit in with their time frame? Their budget? Or are they interested in doing it for fun.


Your Turn

How do you decide which projects to take on?


Photocredit:  garycycles3
6 years ago by in My Projects | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
7 Comments to Align your projects to live the life you want.
    • Amanda G
    • What a wonderful article Rajka, this really helps you put things into perspective and start to align your actions you take around your priorities. 

    • Jules44ca
    • Rajka, another wonderful post.

      Being a new mom at an older age, I am very selective in what I take on. 

      Earlier in my career I was a 7-whenever worker. I often left work after 7pm because I really believed I needed to be there. The trouble was, more than once I gave 150% of myself putting aside my interests, husband, family and friends for something that was “urgent”. I felt if I committed myself to the company, the company would make the same commitment in me. NOT TRUE. Corporations often do not see people, only employees and bottom lines. Particularly true in today’s economic times and here in Qatar.

      Now I ask myself Who is it going to impact and how is it going to impact them? Is it a person or a nameless, faceless corporation? Is the deadline real, or arbitrary? Is it a reciprocal relationship? Am I getting what I am giving? I also ask myself, is this something I really want to do because it plays to my strengths? Or am I trying to please others.

      • Rajka Milanovic, MD
      •  Dear Julie

        I am only now seeing this lovely response!  So true!  The company only does see the bottom line!  I have found it takes less and less to make me happy and being with my family is one of those things!  That is why I have really scaled back on the projects. I was asked to present recently and I just had to say there is not enough time.

        Thanks for stopping by!

    • Ken Grauer, MD
    • Nice post Rajka – and Jules44ca is “right on” with his reply. KEY to personal decision-making is to ask yourself the 5 questions you pose – and IF the project doesn’t “align” – then to seriously reconsider if it is really worth taking on (probably not!). Awareness of question 5 (as jules44ca also notes) is KEY – though one walks a fine line if it is one’s boss asking you to do something that “doesn’t align” with you. It is soooo nice when one finally arrives at a point to be able to work “for themself” (much more conducive to “self-alignment”). THANKS for sharing!

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