Are you a good time planner? At a recent meeting with a group of public speakers, I found out that the people most regarded by others as the most organized people (in terms of what they achieve) actually think of themselves as messy and undisciplined. Maybe those people have very high internal standards, but given the demands on our time and attention, we could all improve our time planning.
Indeed when people plan goals a calendar is not far away. As you are setting your new year goals and plans, how are you planning your time? As Benjamin Franklin once said – and I paraphrase – if you love life, don’t waste time because that is what life is made of.
So how do we find a balance and not “over-program” the first few weeks of the year with good intentions and forget about our goals by February. Especially as surveys have found most goals are forgotten by then. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Focus on results (not activities)
Rather than saying you will go to gym three times a week, focus your efforts on setting a target for this activity. For example, “I will run a six minute kilometer by the end of the year”. You now have a way to track your progress. What result can you focus your activity on?
2. Have a priority list (for today)
What are you doing today to take yourself forward towards your goals. Many small actions will take you quicker towards your target, rather than one large step. Kick procrastination out through small actions.
The most common excuse you hear from people who don’t reach their goals is “I don’t have enough time”. Which is not true. We all have 168 hours a week and we decide how to invest this time. What can you cut out or down on to create more time? Stop watching TV and DVDs during weekdays. Can you use your travel time to create time to learn? Print out a one month calendar and take a few different colored highlighters and block out time at least a week in advance. When I authored my book this summer, I had to block out “creative time” in my calendar to solely focus on writing, researching and creating ideas. Other time blocks can include family time, health, client work, learning. You can choose other categories that make sense for you. Timeblock at least one hour per activitiy.
Unless you are a CEO, time blocking down to every 15minutes may not be necessary. Just because technology makes this easy to do, doesn’t make it a good idea. Also, add in some buffer time which are unplanned. This will help you keep on track if you run late on a particular activity.
2. Overuse technology
While we are talking about technology, find a balance. Today smartphones and PDAs have allowed us to create and track every single task. But don’t forget that a piece of paper can be more effective. I post up a calendar on my wall and the three dimensional ability to turn around and see my year at a glance is powerful. Technology can be good to create time awareness. Check out a time tracking tool like My Hours.
One of the hardest habits to break is time’s control over us. Any successful person will tell you that the first step to health and wealth mastery is time mastery. Get time to march to your beat.
Warwick John Fahy