By Eric Garner
When you use a time management system to reach your goals, you increase your chances of achieving exactly what you want. Here are the 7 steps and tips you need to take.
1. Set Your Mission. The starting point of any goal-achievement is to think about your mission or purpose. What is the point of it all? A mission goes much further than just a goal. It is about manifesting your own values, creating something unique, and becoming all you, and your team if you are working with one, can become. As Steven Covey said: "A mission statement focuses on what you want to be (character), and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values and principles upon which being and doing are based."
Tip: Start by writing down on one sheet of paper the things that are important to you in going for this particular goal.
2. Pick Your Key Areas. The gap between dreaming a mission and achieving it is to break the mission down into key areas that you need to work on. For example, if your aim is to become fit, the key areas could be: Exercise; Diet; Sleep; Lifestyle; and Relaxation. When you have identified your key areas, then you need to spend time finding out about each one of these. This research and information-gathering goes on for the whole length of your journey towards your goal.
Tip: Stick to no more than 5 or 6 key areas.
3. Write Down Your SMART Goals. SMART goals are goals that are defined as: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Realistic; and Time-bounded. For example, if you are planning to lose weight, you could define your goal as: Lose 10lbs; check each week on the scales; it's just within my reach; and take action now and at regular intervals when the time is right.
Tip: Distinguish between SMART goals which have deadlines and Big goals that don't. Follow the 5 steps outlined above to reach your SMART goals by going from now forwards. Dream about your Big goals which have no fixed deadlines by going from their realization in your imagination backwards.
4. Jot Down To-Do Lists. If you are working in a number of key areas, with a range of SMART goals in each of them, you could have as many as 15 ongoing activities at any one time. For example, in our example of getting fit, you might be exercising, dieting, changing your lifestyle, and taking time out to relax. Keeping an occasional to-do list is a way to review all of these activities and keep them at the forefront of your mind.
Tip: Alec McKenzie recommends writing out to-do lists every evening and then working through them the following day.
5. Prioritize Your To-Do List. There are two ways to prioritise the activities on your to-do list. You can decide if they are urgent or if they are important. Urgent tasks are those that have a deadline to them. They are also tasks that we want to do because the time is right or feels right, ie we're in the mood. Important tasks are those that you believe will bring you quickest to your goals. Tasks that are both urgent and important are the ones you should devote time to. Tasks that are not both of these can be relegated down your to-do list or delegated to somebody else.
Tip: You must be ruthless about tasks that are neither important nor urgent and dump them.
6. Schedule Your Tasks. It is much better to schedule tasks than leave them to be done when you feel like it. For example, you are much more likely to exercise regularly if you do it at a set time each day. One of the best scheduling systems is the 60-20-20 system. This means filling up 60% of your diary with your important tasks and leaving 20% for things that crop up and 20% for emergencies.
Tip: Use the luggage-hold method when planning your diary. This means putting the biggest tasks in your diary first and then fitting the smaller ones around them. Just like the way you put luggage in the boot of your car.
7. Check As You Go. A time management system should be a living, dynamic system rather than a dull, repetitive one cast in concrete. That's why you should inject into your system room for surprises, room for learning, and room for doing what you enjoy. In this way, you'll not only like the system, you'll achieve your goals much more quickly than you thought possible at the start.
Tip: Why not create your version of the Daruma doll, an image of an Indian prince that Asian executives use to chart their goal progress? When you set your goals, you colour the prince's eyes white. When a goal is achieved you colour them in.
Follow these 7 steps on all your goal-achievement work and you'll astonish yourself at how reaching your goals becomes second nature to you.
(c) Eric Garner, ManageTrainLearn.com
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