I’ve had this notion of how we internally assign the completion of our work – Have.  Need.  Want.  For this week, I’m going to spend some time digging into it a little deeper.

Here’s the general gist.


Whether it is my job, family, personal choices, whatever – these are things that MUST be done – regardless of whether I want to do them or not.  If you want to think of Urgency vs Importance, this is the Urgency of what MUST be done, what is on my list TODO immediately.  Haves are not always driven by us but are a result of our actions.  I.e., I have a high-demanding job that takes up a lot of my time because I HAVE to get things done.  I have a crazy workout schedule for this MARATHON that I HAVE to train for.  There is not much science to what we HAVE to do in life and when you listen to people discuss it and talk about it, it is very, very simple – they HAVE to do this, it is not an option or a yes or no decision, it is required that they do it, to not do it is FAILURE.

Generally, we want to keep the HAVE circle small, if we are managing the items we NEED to do correctly, then the HAVES are not overtaking our weeks.


What we see as important are our needs.  These are the tasks that we know should get done because they are important to our job.  They are different than a HAVE to do because a NEED is based on our priority and no external factors such as a HAVE.  So needs are important to us when we completed, we feel a huge satisfaction because we have accomplished something big.  Think about the big things on your checklist, these are the big things that need to be accomplished.
A need fulfils us – in most cases professionally – because we have checked something off that needed to be done.

NEEDS are driven by us, HAVES are driven by others.


What I really want to accomplish either professionally or personally that will satisfy my need for success are my WANTS.  Think about someone who wants to refactor code and doesn’t feel the project is complete until they have done this.  Or the person who wants to get in those last fixes, or touch up the details on a car. These are things that I want to do.  WANTS are where our pursuits come from – I want to complete an MBA, I want to learn to draw or build a play structure for my kids.  No one is saying that I NEED to build this play structure.  I might think I NEED an MBA to get a better job or earn more money, but really I’m telling myself that because there are a 100 other things I could do to earn more money instead of paying for an MBA.  WANTS  equal Satisfaction – they are the easiest of our workload because we have a genuine interest in seeing them being completed.

If you think about it, the WANTS should always be larger than any other circle because there is so much we want to accomplish, so much we desire to do.  The WANTS are not always focused, instead, it is the list of things we want to do at some point in time.  Bucket lists?  Yeah, those are WANTS.

So there it is – HAVE, NEED, WANT – and if you want to visualize it you can think of a VENN diagram of 3 cirlces that neatly overlap each other.

But what about the overlaps?  That starts tomorrow.

Want more? Check out my book Code Your Way Up – available as an eBook or Paperback on Amazon (CAN and US).  I’m also the co-host of the Remotely Prepared podcast.


Write A Comment