Over-optimization of Goals

Note to future self..

This is the time of the year when everyone including myself start to reflect back on year and plan ahead for the next year. Setting goals tends to be a big part of all of this and for 2019 I am setting some goals and I am working on building a robust system to pair up with those goals. Now today I want to talk about something that I’ve noticed can hinder the potential benefits of setting goals and that is over-optimizing your life around these goals.

For example, I’ve played with the idea of scheduling every single hour of my day but I find it to be extremely stressful and counterproductive. I’ve also tried to plan ahead and block time to make progress towards my goals. This has also failed for the most part. This got me thinking why is it so hard to optimize your day around your goals? Should I even be doing this?

After thinking about it for a while I’ve come to realize that over-optimizing your life around your goals is not only stressful but it can be counterproductive. Among the many drawbacks to over-optimizing your life this is the biggest one:

We shouldn’t over-optimize our lives around our goals because it allows no space for serendipity.

Serendipity is like that “x” variable in the formula of life. It’s that unknown factor that you can’t really define but that it definitely affects the end result. Not over-optimizing your whole life means that you can get exposed to ideas, people and experiences that you would otherwise miss because your day was jam-packed with busywork.

There are a ton of other reasons why I have moved away from overs-optimizing my day even though I still follow a morning/night routine, journal every day, have daily tasks, etc.

I think the next step for me is to find the optimal balance between over-scheduling my day and making sure that I allocate my time correctly.

Now back to work..