23 Sep Work For Your Goals and Make Your Goals Work For You
How your time management success mirrors your vision, for better or worse
Does it ever seem to you that life is coming at you too fast? Every second of the day is filled with things that you could and should be doing. You should take that half hour to go for a jog. You could be using that hour to get ahead on your report, but then again, you should use that hour to answer your emails. Sometimes it feels like there is never an end to things that we want to or have to do.
I have met and spoken with many executives and entrepreneurs about their time management and goal setting habits. The common theme I noticed for the most successful individuals was that they all set specific goals then created to-do lists and tasks that were in line with their goals. The less motivated individuals created goals that only related to one part of their life then when they were done work, they put away these goals in a drawer or file. They forgot about them and went months without thinking about their goals and the reasons they were doing the things they were. Without a specific desired outcome, they would end up floundering with their progress. Finally, months after setting their goals, they would go back to look at them, get discouraged by their lack of progress, and put them away again. After this point, these people invariably start living reactively instead of proactively and end up simply taking things as they come instead of going out and seizing the opportunities they want. Although everyone really has the same amount of time, this less satisfied group of people feel that they don’t ever have enough, while the best entrepreneurs are more resourceful with what they have.
So, do you ever hear or use the phrases “I wish I had more time” or “I just don’t have time to do that”? The honest answer is that you do have enough time in your day for everything you need to do. You just haven’t figured out how to tap that time yet. But there are many ways to do it.
1. You can save yourself a lot of time by making sure that your goals, upon which all of your tasks will inevitably be based, are actually the right kind of goals. Are they your own goals? If they are goals that you set because you thought someone else wanted you to, or because you wanted to impress someone, you will end up being unmotivated by the tasks you will have to complete to reach them. Lack of motivation will cause you to procrastinate and waste the time that you have.
2. Are the goals achievable? Once again, if you feel that a goal is too difficult to accomplish then you will never be able to truly push yourself to work toward it. But setting goals that are easily achieved has the same effect, so try to go for goals that are somewhere in between. This means that they are both challenging but doable. Your goals should also be measurable and clear, meaning that you can create a specific timeline, set of actions, and criteria for evaluating if you have met your goals or not. Another tip: Make your goals positive. Focus on what you do want, not on what you don’t want.
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3. Your goals must be multi-dimensional and should cover all aspects of your life equally well. If your goal to start a successful software company means that you won`t be able to concentrate on becoming a biathlete, while at the same time pursuing your MBA degree, it won’t help you to focus on all these goals at once. Goals that are doomed from the start because they clash with other ones will only sap your drive and energy, and make it more difficult for you to choose where to place your focus. Make a list of all your goals in different areas of your life, such as business, personal development and education, personal relationships, interests, financial, and health, and then compare them and make sure that they work together well.
4. Once you have set goals that are clear, prioritized, multi-dimensional, measurable, specific, motivating and achievable, you are ready to start creating an action plan to reach your goals and manage your time. Create mini goals and timelines for each goal. For instance, if your goal is to become a marathon runner, you might set a smaller goal for being able to run a half marathon in one year. An even closer mini-goal is that you will have trained 3 times a week every week for one month. Starting small is a great way to slowly move up to the bigger goals, while giving yourself a boost of confidence from crossing off something tangible from your list.
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5. One very important aspect is upkeep. You should be looking at your goals and your action plans every day, and each day should move you closer to your desired outcome. Schedule time every day to review your goals, and adjust them or your to-do list accordingly with changes. In order to use your time for the best advantage, you must stay focused and avoid wasting time on tasks that can`t help you progress toward what you really want.
6. Other ways to try to maximize your time include starting your day off with the most difficult task. This will get the anxiety about the task out of the way, freeing up all of your energy for other work during the day. The best way to get something done is to just do it. For procrastinators that can sound somewhat overwhelming, but it really is the only answer. Review what times during the day are your most creative and productive and use those to do your other challenging or demanding tasks. Knowing your most creative times and places is also useful when deciding when you will do other critical and valuable work. Don`t schedule a meeting during these times if you can, because they are usually the times when you are the most reflective and productive on your own.
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Time management isn’t just about finding the time to do the things you have to do, it’s also about deciding whether you are doing the right things. If you learn how to set relevant and useable goals, you’ll find it much easier to use your time effectively.
On a regular basis, ask yourself why you want to achieve what you are striving for, and what it means to you. Why are you doing each task? You should regularly reflect on your progress and acknowledge every success, even the small ones.
Start your day by asking “what am I doing today in order to get one step closer to my goals?”