“You may have a lot on your to-do list and you may have a list of goals, but they are not the same thing.
Everything can be separated into three layers.
Layer 1 is the necessities. You breathe. You eat. You sleep. (think Life Below Zero)
Layer 2 includes the actions you perform over and over again to sustain a normal life. …from putting gas in the car to showering to taking out the trash to going to work. I would consider these the chores or habits that happen over and over again. Many of these things are so integral to your routine that you do them once a day or when they are needed without thinking much about them.
Layers 1 and 2 include everything that must be accomplished by you or someone in your household. They are not exciting, but they are, for the most part, necessary.
Layer 3 is the bonus stuff. It’s the more creative, more life-enriching (as opposed to life-sustaining) stuff that we choose to add to layers 1 and 2. For the most part, goal-setting and the majority of goals you will probably set will fall into the layer 3 category.
Layer 3 is where the creative experiments, challenging work projects, and magic are made. These are the things that come after the day-to-day activities, things that you want to add to your life because they make you feel happier and give you something to look forward to. Layer 3 is where the hobbies happen. You don’t have to do the layer 3 items, and that’s what makes them exciting goals to work around.
So how do goals and to-do-list items relate?
Layer 3 (the goal-setting portion of your activities) is made up of to-do-list items. All of your big goals can be broken down into smaller, more manageable steps, and this is an essential part of the goal-setting process. If you don’t break big goals up into actionable items [things you can cross off after an hour or less of working], they serve as nothing more than wishes and will not be accomplished.“
From “Big Dreams, Daily Joys” by Elise Blaha Cripe (pages 21-22).