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How to Achieve Big Goals Using a Someday/Maybe List


I love taking online courses.

Just show me a well put together program about drawing, marketing or productivity – and I tend to have my credit card out. In a jiffy. 

But after binge buying everything I could lay my hands on, eventually my wallet – and my schedule – started to complain.

I felt a twinge of anxiety every time I saw an enticing course. I truly wanted to make the purchase. But I knew I didn’t have the bandwidth to take the course. Not in the foreseeable future!

The result? Open loops.

I unconsciously kept track of everything I was losing out on – all the “insider’s secrets”, VIP tips and delicious bonuses.

Soon these desires metamorphosed into negative stress.

That’s when I decided to walk the Getting Things Done® talk and make amends. 

That’s when I returned to a GTD® staple – The Someday/Maybe list.

The Power of the Someday/Maybe List:

Most people who are familiar with GTD know about its famous contextualized to-do lists. You can have one for every area of your life.

@Computer for all the tasks that you have to complete at your computer.

@Agenda to keep those meetings productive and streamlined.

@Home for the house related to-dos.

And so much more.

The Someday/Maybe list, also known as the S/M list, is a little different.

It is a placeholder for the projects and Next Actions that have your attention and your interest but can’t be executed or tackled in the present because of:

  • Lack of schedule flexibility
  • Lack of resources
  • Inopportune timing (Ever delegated something and found that the doer can’t get back to you in the coming months thereby totally stalling your project? That’s inopportune timing)

You’re probably rolling your eyes. What’s so great about this list and what has it got to do with my tendency to hoard courses?


A Someday/Maybe list offers a number of wonderful advantages:

  • It allows you to capture, clarify and properly “label” your ideas – irrespective of how unfeasible they are in the present moment. In short, if you use the S/M list you are less likely to lose the epiphanies that may change your life or your business later down the line. There are no “bad” ideas – only ideas conceived before their time.
  • The GTD flow recommends that you regularly include your Someday/Maybe list in your Weekly Review. This way you can constantly evaluate your priorities and if you find room to “activate” a parked idea, you can shift it from the Someday/Maybe pool to the appropriate contextualized list. This way you not only keep track of your desires, goals and ambitions, you also have the permission to take action on them when your schedule and your Horizons of Focus allow.

Keeping these benefits in mind I quickly created a master list of all the programs and modules I wanted to own. I added about 20% of these courses to my Next Action lists – because they could move me closer to my 1-2 year goals.

The rest I shifted to the Someday/Maybe list. Yes, I also found that I didn’t really “need” quite a few. These I trashed with a clear conscience. Like David Allen says, “You can only feel good about what you’re not doing when you know what it is

The feeling of freedom was incredible!!

Don’t Shrink Your Goals to Fit Your Calendar

Instead let your mind dream and reach lofty heights.

The ideas that are born as a result will always find place in your Someday/Maybe list. And if you do your Weekly Review diligently – you’ll be able to move them forward, without procrastination, as what’s important in the now is ticked off to make space for what can potentially define your tomorrow.

It’s a sustainable way of giving your best to the present while nurturing grand hopes for the future.

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