People ask me how I keep track of time and make sure I’m going in a good direction while navigating through the hot mess that is life. My secret is pretty simple: I write lists.

Since 2009, I’ve been keeping bulleted lists of what I consider to be important goals. These lists are split into months and separated by years. Each year, I look back at the previous years and see what I’ve accomplished. Some things, like a few cosplay ideas, are still not crossed-out. Some things, like going to France and speaking at conferences I agreed to, are. These annual lists help me to keep track of time, prioritize goals, and stay focused while also enjoying my life.

Lists probably won’t work for everyone. For example, my mom says to-do lists make her feel anxious, especially if she fails to do some of the tasks on that list. I find lists to be a good guide and treat failed tasks as a learning opportunity rather than a deprecating one, so perhaps that helps.

In May, I consumed some form of content (I don’t remember which, but if you do, please link it in the comments) that encouraged me to write a list of five career goals to accomplish in 5 years. I filed the list away in Evernote and forgot it existed. This morning, I happened to scroll through old notes and find it. I figured I’d post it here because… why the heck not?

In 5 years, I want to…

  • Create products that help and/or affect people in positive ways.
  • Mentor others and create a more diverse, positive community for design, technology, and games.
  • Work with forward-thinking people to create and practice new design methodologies.
  • Collaborate as much as possible with people who have other skills.
  • Mix art, design, and technology in new, experimental ways.

What are your career goals, and do you think you can get there in 5 years?