So Many Goals, So Little Time

IMG_6118This weekend was pretty darn fun and relaxing. It was the first time in what felt like months that I didn’t HAVE to get something done…some sort of project, work, errand, etc.

I spent Saturday at Sand Dune Park in the morning, watching Polo and playing frisbee at a friend’s birthday party at a state park in the afternoon, and attending an outdoor cinema showing of When Harry Met Sally at Santa Monica High School in the evening. Sunday I played beach volleyball, then hung out around the house reading blogs and a book. Ah, my carefree summer plan is off to a good start! But…

…I have goals…things I’d like to do and accomplish. The problem is there are so many, and I’m afraid that might spoil my plans for a relaxing summer if I take on too much. So, I’m laying it all out there and seeing what you think I should do.

Goal #1: Long-form documentary

I’ve been really inspired by some documentaries I’ve seen recently, like Tiny, which is about a couple building a tiny house in Colorado. I have also gotten a lot of inspiration from Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, The Long Way Down, And Morgan Spurlock’s Inside Man.

For a long time I wondered what my subject would be, but I have since come up with something I think is pretty cool. I don’t want to talk about it too much (in fear of jinxing it), but it has something to do with the “entrepreneurial spirit.”

Pros: It would be a huge accomplishment for me. In the book I’m reading about stress, it says one key to reduce stress is to find meaning in what you do for a living. I’ve always wanted to produce something that would hopefully inspire or move people. I think it would give me something that could maybe help make me like what I do for a living, which can often feel soulless at times.

Cons: Producing it would be a HUGE undertaking, and I have no idea how to start. The three big obstacles are time, money, and other resources. I would also need to rely heavily on other people, something that when it comes to creative endeavors, I’m not always good about doing. Basically of all the goals, this would be the biggest challenge, but with possibly a huge payoff, and not necessarily financially, in fact, probably not much of a payoff there at all. To raise money would be…well it’s something I don’t even know how to begin to do.

Goal #2: Short Videos & Skits

Something else I’ve been wanting to do is write more short skits for viral-type videos and BATB TV. I’ve enjoyed making the ones I’ve done so far, and hopefully people have liked them, but I haven’t been making as many as I’d hope so far this year.

Pros: A little bit easier to find time and resources for this type of project. It doesn’t require a huge undertaking, and the payoff is pretty instant. I could also play around with making a bigger variety of them because they don’t take a huge amount of time to make.

Cons: It still requires organizing resources, like people to be in the skits, which sometimes makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Since most talent volunteers their time, no one is really agonizing over their schedule to make it happen, so trying to get everyone together is like herding cats. Also, I can’t keep asking camera people to work for free. I can always use my iPhone to shoot, but overall, it’s not very professional, and right now I don’t want to spend money on a camera. And if I’m in the video, who will run camera?

Goal #3: Learn more about web design/management

There is another part of me that thinks I should be taking the time to invest in myself as a professional, and to expand my knowledge base. Since WordPress is such a common platform now, knowing that model more could be beneficial in the long run.

Pros: Having new skills can help me out as a freelancer to earn more income other than video editing. It doesn’t require any out-of-reach resources, in fact the cost is pretty minimal at approximately $30/month if I use a site like to learn new things. And I can cancel at any time.

Cons: It’s not as “sexy” a goal as the other ones, and I don’t even know if I’d like doing web design or management after I start getting into it. I don’t know if I’d get bored with it once I start.

Goal # 4: Learn the Ukulele

This was something I had on my original 2014 goals, but it became sort of a “stretch goal” when I realized that I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest in a Ukulele and/or classes. Well it turns out I can borrow my producer’s Uke, and I was going to take a class for $125, but thought what I’d try first was just spending $3 on an app that says it can teach you easily.

Pros: It’s the much mellower of the three goals, meaning it would fit into my carefree summer mold. It’s also a very low-risk investment because if I don’t like it, I only spent $3. But if I do like it, how cool would it be that I finally learned how to play a musical instrument and could play and sing with friends?

Cons: It doesn’t really help me in any way, shape, or form professionally like the other three goals. It’s simply something fun to try and that’s about it.

So readers, I’d love for you to weigh in! Any thoughts about what I should do or how I could approach all of these goals somehow? Do you ever find yourself having too many goals and too little time? 



Tonya is a video editor/producer and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball, playing ukulele, and running. To get the latest updates, be sure to subscribe. To support her fundraising efforts to produce more video for this site, please visit her crowdfunding page!

Latest posts by Tonya (see all)

  • the expat investor

    Hi Tonya,

    I like goal #3, I will have to agree with you on it’s not a “sexy”
    goal, but that should help you earn more income from different sources. I wish
    I can devote some time learning how to build website too, but working 7 days a
    week / 12 hour shift doesn’t really give me a lot of time at all to do much.
    Maybe one day I can transition to a full time freelancer I will have time. Also
    like the idea of goal #4 maybe you can post us a video of you playing whenever
    you learn how to play on it.

    • Tonya

      Finding time when you are already busy is tough. I think time and money are the two biggest obstacles in achieving certain goals, and knowledge, if I’m talking about the first goal. Not a complete novice, but still a huge undertaking. I will have to give this a lot of thought!

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank

    I think you should focus on the ukulele. I have always wanted to be able to play an instrument, but I just plain suck.

    You could even record it and show up your progress. I would love to watch your progress :)

    • Tonya

      Ha yes, little videos to show what I’ve learned. Hmmm, killing two birds with one stone!

  • Natalie @ Financegirl

    I use a weekly action plan, where I focus on 3 areas of my life every week with 3 corresponding tasks. It seems formal, but it actually works! It allows me to accomplish my goals a little at a time. It’s in my post today if you’re looking for the specifics! And good luck!!

    • Tonya

      Thanks Natalie! I will try to implement some of your ideas from your blog today!

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    LOVE the idea about the documentary, Tonya!! Then again, I’m a non-fiction girl all the way around. Our family loved Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, and we still avoid McDonald’s because of it. :-) Love the ukelele goal too – that one just sounds like pure fun. :-)

    • Tonya

      I love that one too. I like his style. He seems like the “every man” type of person that you can relate to.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    I can definitely relate to the too many goals, not enough time issue. I love #1, but that does seem to be quite a bit of undertaking. That said, I think I would focus on either #3 or #4. No, #3 is not “sexy” by any means, but you never know if that could turn into something that would bring some income in. #4 is good to, because it’s low cost/low commitment but could be relaxing.

    • Tonya

      Yeah the uke would be the easiest to start at least. It will be interesting to see how and if I can somehow tackle them all without going crazy. There has to be a way…

  • Cashville Skyline

    Great list of goals, Tonya! I loved and was majorly inspired by Tiny, as well. Your goals all seem attainable. Ukulele! Playing music is a huge stress reliever. I definitely have too many goals and not enough time, but I figure that even if I only hit half of them, I’m still better off than most.

    • Tonya

      And they funded that doc using kickstarter as well. They must have because the guy was always complaining about being broke. So far Ukulele is getting a lot of votes!

  • Kali @ Common Sense Millennial

    The idea of the documentary is freakin’ awesome! I think you’re exactly right in saying that it would be both a huge accomplishment AND undertaking. I think if you sit down and make a plan, though, you can definitely do it :) And I think you could incorporate your goal of web design and management into your plan for a documentary — you could increase your knowledge and skill set in that area and put your newly acquired abilities to work for your own project first by creating a website for your documentary!

    And I also love the idea of learning to play the ukulele. You could approach this goal as a way to relax and decompress after your work for the day is over, especially if you can try to do it on your own with the app and borrowed instrument.

    All that said, I was just thinking about this yesterday, and realizing there are so many things I want to take on and accomplish. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have lots of goals — and a lot of big goals at that — it’s just all about getting organized and having a plan to make them happen :)

    • Tonya

      Thanks Kali! It’s a lot of food for thought for sure, and something I’m going to give some thought to. The good news is there really should be no huge amount of pressure to put on myself. Whatever I chose it should be an enjoyable experience, right?

  • Tim Ramage

    Start with the ukulele! The practice involved with learning an instrument brings with it a zen-like state that will also help manage stress. While you’re contemplating, check out Jake Shimabukuro…the baddest ass ukulele player in the world.

    • Tonya

      Good advice. It definitely is the more doable of all the goals. And if I don’t end up liking it or don’t want to put the time in there is no harm, no foul since the investment is really low.

  • Kim

    I love the idea of making a documentary. Having that out there in the world would be amazing, but I have no idea what kind of things need to happen to make that possible. I have way too many goals and sometimes realize the end payoff is just not worth the effort. I was all set to start some sort of program with the tribe I work for to offer incentives for meeting health targets. I would get the casino to fund it and work it through the government clinic, etc. I got headbutted at every turn and I think I’ve given up. Maybe you can inspire me to continue. Is gain because it’s the right thing as good as actually getting paid? Something I struggle with all the time……

    • Tonya

      That sounded like a great program and sorry you ran into such obstacles. Sometimes when that happens it’s good to take a step back and reevaluate what is going on. No one is holding a gun to my head on any of these, so I should just enjoy the process of working on it instead of maybe the end result.

  • Travis Pizel

    I’d vote for the short Videos. I’ve seen what you can do with them, they’re informative, and super entertaining. :)

    • Tonya

      Awe thanks Travis. That one is way more doable in the short term. Even if I have a friend shoot it with my iPhone…people are much more accepting of lower quality video these days with things on youtube.

  • Dear Debt

    I love this list! Which one inspires you most? Start with that one. Or try to put 20 minutes a day towards each. I have realized all my goals have gone to the wayside: no art, no singing, no learning languages because of my larger goal of paying off debt. I don’t want to put off my goals for three more years, so I am going to invest in the big picture. Glad to hear you are too. It’s hard to juggle time and all the things you want to accomplish/learn.

    • Tonya

      Yes time…the toughest resource of them all behind money. :) Maybe dave ramsey has a snowball method for goals? Like get the easiest goal out of the way first? :)

  • Shannon

    I would LOVE to see a documentary that you created on the entrepreneurial spirit!!! I think you would have such great insight and inspiration for it. Even though, it is a “reach” goal, I think it is important for you to have it on your radar. In fact, I love that all of your goals fall into different categories where some will be “easier” to achieve than others, but they will all inspire you to move forward in great ways.

    • Tonya

      The way I see it in my head, I think it could be really cool, and really relevant. It’s just starting from point A and realizing I have the whole alphabet to go through to reach the end destination. Who knows though. Whatever I chose, the other goals will be there on the back burner.

  • Pauline @RFIndependence

    The documentary sounds awesome but a huge time suck. I just watched blood brothers about a guy working in India with kids with HIV, the film crew probably had to follow him for a couple of months each time, 2 or 3 trips, that is a lot, but it would be amazing if you make it work! Re web stuff I’d hire out, you can find people for a few dollars per hour on Elance so if you have a grasp of what is to be done so they don’t charge you crazy hours, your time might be more valuable elsewhere.

    • Tonya

      That’s a good point about hiring out for the little mundane web things. Not that much cost wise and could save me a lot of time for other things. I’ll have to see if I can make room in my budget for stuff like that.

  • Brian @ Luke1428

    With any goal I think you have to start with questions like, “What do I want to get out of this?” or “Where do I want this to go?” The answers will help determine which project to tackle. If you want to do something just for fun and to relieve stress, learn the ukulele. If to make money, then perhaps the web management. If to build a rep and connections in the industry then the documentary. All these are worthy goals…it’s just the end game that counts. OK…I just realized I was zero help in giving my opinion on a choice. :)

    • Tonya

      ha ha right? I want ALL of those things. Maybe I need to ask myself what I need right now, then maybe later tackle some of the other ones.

  • Megan Michael

    I want to learn the Uke too and whenever I read about you wanting to play it it reminds me that I want to as well. It is chill and such a relaxing sound! I don’t know how much Ukes cost but maybe you could rent to own from a music shop. Take a couple lessons then try learning on your own… I’m one to talk. I have a degree in music, there is no reason for me to have not taught myself the Uke by now except that I’m lazy lol.

    • Tonya

      I can actually borrow it from someone so no cost there, unless I love it and then I can buy something. I’ve been burned before where I bought a musical instrument and then it sat there not being used and then I ended up selling it. I’m going to try some online tutorials first to see how I like it. Low cost investment.

  • Debt and the Girl

    I love Anthony Bourdain’s show. He really goes to some interesting places. I haven’t seen the Tiny documentary although it looks really interesting. I will have to check it out.

    • Tonya

      Me too, although it always makes me hungry watching, unless of course he is eating something gross, like horse. How can he possibly eat that much?!?!

  • Aldo @ MDN

    These are all good goals, but I only have advice on the Uke. I learned guitar on my own just by watching youtube and by going on tab sites like ultimate-guitarcom. I’ve tried many different apps and they haven’t helped as much. You might as well give the free sites a try and see where you get.

    • eemusings (NZMuse)

      Ultimate Guitar FTW!

      I have a uke but no desire to learn how to play. I assume it’s easier than guitar (I could be wrong) in which case I definitely say skip the lessons and teach yourself online.

      • Tonya

        I hope it’s easier than guitar. I tried teaching myself guitar and gave up.

    • Tonya

      Thanks for the tip!

  • Cash Cow Couple

    These are all really interesting goals! I love the documentary idea. We’d definitely watch!

    • Tonya

      I appreciate that! :)

  • Kassandra

    As a musician, you know I’m going to support goal number four lol. However, I really like the idea of you doing a long-form documentary. You’ve listed all the pros/cons so you could to start with the one that really appeals to you the most and the one that will bring you more immediate and/or personal satisfaction.

    • Tonya

      I think Ukulele is wining in the votes. :) It definitely is something I could tackle immediately versus way down the road, and would probably be the most stress-free of the goals.

  • Shannon Ryan

    I really love #1 and 2. The documentary sounds very intriguing to me. Could you do something on kickstarter to generate funds for your project? The project itself may not generate much income but I could see it leading to bigger things for you that would. I love BABTV so I’m always going to advocate for more skits. :)

    • Tonya

      Yes kickstarter would be something I’d look into. I’d have to see though how much I’d need to make it, which is something that is new to me as well. And I would need to produce some kind of trailer for the kickstarter campaign. It’s a big project for sure. For #2 I could probably fudge my way along if I couldn’t hire a videographer.

  • DEBt DEBs

    What? You have BATBTV? I have not seen that. I am in for a treat.

    I am not going to tell you what to do, but I’ll tell you how I approach a multi-faceted decision.
    I make a list with categories i.e. difficulty, stress level, cost, satisfaction etc. and assign points to each for each choice. Total the points for each category in each choice and there’s your answer. Then if I don’t like it, I go back and fudge the figures so I get the answer I want and then I’m all proud of myself because I made a decision objectively instead of emotion and off I go. I would suggest you pick just one though. It’s summer after all.

    • Tonya

      Ha ha, with just two videos! :) I like your system of figuring out what you want to do. I will definitely do that!

  • Molly @ FeeHacks

    Awesome goals. Especially the ukulele one – I taught myself how to play guitar using a heck of a lot of online videos/tutorials. I’m definitely still an amateur – but I love playing! Good luck with the goals.

    • Tonya

      Hey if it works at all that’s a great thing. Someone else suggested online tutorials as well. I’ll have to check that out.

  • Brad @ How To Save Money

    Try Kickstarter or another crowd source funding mechanism for #1. Hire a pro photographer for #2. I’m a former professional photographer and know how we would appreciate the business. Pay that person something. It is the professional thing to do. Learn the Uke too. That sounds like fun!

    • Tonya

      Thanks Brad. Regarding #1 I have no idea how to know what amount I’d need, so that’s something I need to educate myself on. Plus you need some kind of trailer to raise money too. As far as #2, I would LOVE to hire someone, but I have no budget for that right now, and I totally agree that they should be paid. I only did one video where I had a volunteer. As far as doing all three, the issue I run into is time management. And not getting too stressed and overwhelmed with trying to fit too many things in. BTW, do you have a site?

  • DC @ Young Adult Money

    I pretty much ALWAYS have too many goals and too little time, so I can relate. If you learn to play the ukulele I WILL start making time for drawing! Drawing for me is a similar situation where it’s something I would really like to do but serves no practical purpose. Sure, one day I *might* go further into art and make something that actually sells for money, but I highly doubt that will ever happen. So I never make time for it. Ever.

    • Tonya

      ha, I know right? Like you feel unproductive or something. But geez do we ALWAYS have to be doing something that IS productive? I’ll let you know what I decide. :)

  • Liz

    You have some great goals Tonya. I really think it would be awesome to make a documentary. I took a video editing course in college and I have a whole new respect for the art that it is. Not easy stuff! I also love watching documentaries..especially when you find a really good one. The Queen of Versailles ( I think that’s considered a documentary) was really interesting.

    • Tonya

      I’ve seen that one too. Crazy life they lead. Just so out of my league. Not the doc, but the family. :) Editing is one of those things that it’s easy to pick up the tool, but hard to master the craft.

  • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

    I hear you, Tonya. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up… oh crap, I am a grown-up … and I struggle with the time issue too. Some of the things that I’d like to spend time on really don’t generate income, which is something I really need to focus on. I love the idea of a documentary. BABTV is hilarious! :) I’d offer my camera skills, although it’s been about 14 years since I handled a camera professionally. It’s just like riding a bike, right? Of course, I actually wasn’t the best bike rider either. LOL! Web design could definitely help you land new clients and it’s really not that hard to learn. Coding can be nitpicky work at times, but I can’t imagine any less fussy than editing.

    • Tonya

      I think coding might be more painful than editing. lol! Of course that was just me trying to fudge my way through something I have no idea what I was doing. My next step might be running my doc idea by a few people to see what they think.

  • Mackenzie

    I think that you would make an AWESOME documentary Tonya!! :) You are so talented!

    • Tonya

      Awe thanks Mackenzie! In my mind, as I see it, I think it could be pretty cool. Not just to go from point A to point Z! ahhhhhh!

  • Catherine

    Right now I’m pretty focused on just making enough extra money to pay this debt off I haven’t had much room in my head for others! Love the goal of documentary. I love them and honestly some of the best are ones without the billion dollar budget!

  • Ashley Bauer

    What’s the book you’ve been reading on stress? I’m in need of a little stress-inspiration (dealing with stress hives, yikes!) I’m also in need of a little summer relaxation!

  • AvgJoeMoney

    So I’m reading along and then I see “Learn the Ukelele”. My first thought? One of these goals is not like the other….

  • Arman @ thebigmansworld

    You have the most creative goals I have read in some time- I think when it comes to goals, as long as you don’t set them as a ‘must accomplish’ it makes it much easier and achieveable

  • Stefanie @ brokeandbeau

    I find I have to tackle one thing at a time, there’s already so much time devoted to maintaining goals I’ve already achieved, like fitness and my freelance writing- I don’t want those things to suffer while I’m pursuing something new. ps. I’m a HUGE documentary fan, I’d definitely watch yours :)

  • Done by Forty

    It’s so great that you’re sticking with your goals. I’ve given up on all of mine save the rental property one — once again, the chase of money has pushed all other goals to the periphery…

  • brokeGIRLrich

    Good luck! I’ve been reading about the really small houses that are kind of popular among people trying to minimize their eco-foot print. I think they’re awesome (this could come from years of living in a tiny room on a boat and a train)!

  • Jana @ Jana Says

    I think you’d make a kick ass longform documentary! And the ukulele? Good for you!!

    I don’t really pick big goals because they intimidate me. I stick with small ones that I can actually achieve.

  • Amy

    “It doesn’t really help me in any way, shape, or form professionally like the other three goals.” You never really know! One of my favorite things about the uke is the random, eclectic assortment of people I have come in contact with, who I’d consider real friends. People from all walks of life in all careers! You never know who you’re going to meet :)
    Oh, and it’s definitely fun!

    Please please also consider the documentary! What an amazing goal!!

  • Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter

    I still think your goal to learn the ukelele is awesome. You have some great goals! Making a documentary would be so cool. I am sure you can find a lot of resources online about documentary making, and then practice makes perfect. I know what you mean though with so many goals and too little time!

  • Prudence Debtfree

    The documentary idea is exciting, but more significantly, it is extremely important to you. If you make it your long-term, overarching goal, the others can line up in support of it. You could design short videos to get the attention of possible sponsors and/or actors who like your work and believe in you. You could set aside profits from your work in web design to invest in the initial expenses of the documentary. The ukulele could provide you with some balance with your more purposeful goals. And, I say this knowing that I take a risk in so doing: pray about it. Your leisurely summer might just provide the perfect ground for all of the above to happen. Priorities get clarified as you give your heart and mind space. I wish you the best . . . and I look forward to seeing that documentary : )

  • Longyi Kim
  • west

    yeah, I want to start playing the piano again, travel all over the world, become a doctor, learn Swedish and have my own bees, sounds sort of outrageous but I’m not kidding, I am working towards becoming a doctor and hopefully once I’m through with residency I can do some of the other stuff on my goal list