Cherish your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements. Napoleon Hill
Time management training most often begins with setting goals. These goals are recorded and may be broken down into a project, an action plan, or a simple task list. Activities are then rated based on urgency and importance, priorities assigned, and deadlines set. This process results in a plan with a task list or calendar of activities. Routine and recurring tasks are often given less focus to free time to work on tasks that contribute to important goals.
This entire process is supported by a skill set that should include personal motivation, delegation skills, organization tools, and crisis management. We’ll cover all this and more during this workshop.
Research has consistently demonstrated that when clear goals are associated with learning, it occurs more easily and rapidly. With that in mind, let’s review our goals for today.
What you will learn today:
· Plan and prioritize each day’s activities in a more efficient, productive manner
· Overcome procrastination quickly and easily
· Handle crises effectively and quickly
· Organize your workspace and workflow to make better use of time
· Delegate more efficiently
· Use rituals to make your life run smoother
· Plan meetings more appropriately and effectively
Part Two: Setting SMART Goals
The bad news is that time flies.
The good news is that you are the pilot.
Goal setting is critical to effective time management strategies. It is the single most important life skill that, unfortunately, most people never learn how to do properly. Goal setting can be used in every single area of your life, including financial, physical, personal development, relationships, or even spiritual. According to Brian Tracy’s book Goals, fewer than 3% of people have clear, written goals, and a plan for getting there. Setting goals puts you ahead of the pack!
Some people blame everything that goes wrong in their life on something or someone else. They take the role of a victim and they give all their power and control away. Successful people instead dedicate themselves towards taking responsibility for their lives, no matter what the unforeseen or uncontrollable events. Live in the present: the past cannot be changed, and the future is the direct result of what you do right now!
The Three P’s
Setting meaningful, long-term goals is a giant step toward achieving your dreams. In turn, setting and achieving short-term goals can help you accomplish the tasks you’ll need to achieve the long-term ones. It is also important to make sure that all of your goals unleash the power of the three P’s:
· POSITIVE: Who could get fired up about a goal such as “Find a career that’s not boring”? Goals should be phrased positively, so they help you feel good about yourself and what you’re trying to accomplish. A better alternative might be this: “Enroll in pre-law classes so I can help people with legal problems someday.”
· PERSONAL: Goals must be personal. They must reflect your own dreams and values, not those of friends, family, or the media. When crafting your goal statement, always use the word “I” in the sentence to brand it as your own. When your goals are personal, you’ll be more motivated to succeed and take greater pride in your accomplishments.
· POSSIBLE: When setting goals, be sure to consider what’s possible and within your control. Getting into an Ivy League university may be possible if you are earning good grades but unrealistic if you’re struggling. In the latter case, a more reasonable goal might be to attend a university or trade school that offers courses related to your chosen career. You might also pursue volunteer work that would strengthen your college applications.
The SMART Way
SMART is a convenient acronym for the set of criteria that a goal must have in order for it to be realized by the goal achiever.
· Specific: Success coach Jack Canfield states in his book The Success Principles that, “Vague goals produce vague results.” In order for you to achieve a goal, you must be very clear about what exactly you want. Often creating a list of benefits that the accomplishment of your goal will bring to your life, will you give your mind a compelling reason to pursue that goal.
· Measurable: It’s crucial for goal achievement that you are able to track your progress towards your goal. That’s why all goals need some form of objective measuring system so that you can stay on track and become motivated when you enjoy the sweet taste of quantifiable progress.
· Achievable: Setting big goals is great, but setting unrealistic goals will just de-motivate you. A good goal is one that challenges, but is not so unrealistic that you have virtually no chance of accomplishing it.
· Relevant: Before you even set goals, it’s a good idea to sit down and define your core values and your life purpose because it’s these tools which ultimately decide how and what goals you choose for your life. Goals, in and of themselves, do not provide any happiness. Goals that are in harmony with our life purpose do have the power to make us happy.
· Timed: Without setting deadlines for your goals, you have no real compelling reason or motivation to start working on them. By setting a deadline, your subconscious mind begins to work on that goal, night and day, to bring you closer to achievement.
Prioritizing Your Goals
Achieving challenging goals requires a lot of mental energy. Instead of spreading yourself thin by focusing on several goals at once, invest your mental focus on one goal, the most important goal right now. When you are prioritizing, choose a goal that will have the greatest impact on your life compared to how long it will take to achieve. A large part of goal setting is not just identifying what you want, but also identifying what you must give up in your life in order to get it. Most people are unwilling to make a conscious decision to give up the things in their life necessary to achieve their goals.
Emotionalizing and visualizing your goal will help you create the desire to materialize it into your life. One of the best visualization tools is a vision board. Simply find a magazine, cut out pictures that resonate with the goal that you want to achieve, glue them onto a piece of poster board, and place that board somewhere that you can view it several times a day.
In order for visualization to work, it’s necessary that you emotionalize your goal as much as possible. Create a list of the benefits you will see when you achieve your goal and concentrate on how that will make you feel.
Margaret and Rachel were reviewing their mid-year profit portfolio in June and realized they were not making enough money.
Rachel then had the brilliant idea of using the SMART way to come up with an achievable goal.
Margaret and Rachel then sat down thought of a SPECIFIC goal they wanted to reach. After lots of deliberation, they decided they wanted to increase their revenue by 10 percent.
In order to keep their goal MEASURABLE, they were going to measure their progress monthly. This would make sure that their goal was ATTAINABLE by the end of the year. It would keep their goal RELEVANT as well. The two decided to make the deadline for their goal in December to keep it TIMED.
After using the SMART way to create a goal, Margaret and Rachel were a lot more confident in the capability of their business to stay productive and make money.
What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Part Three: Prioritizing Your Time
Time management is about more than just managing our time; it is about managing ourselves, in relation to time. It is about setting priorities and taking charge. It means changing habits or activities that cause us to waste time. It means being willing to experiment with different methods and ideas to enable you to find the best way to make maximum use of time.
The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule, also known as Pareto’s Principle, states that 80% of your results come from only 20% of your actions. Across the board, you will find that the 80/20 principle is pretty much right on with most things in your life. For most people, it really comes down to analyzing what you are spending your time on. Are you focusing in on the 20% of activities that produce 80% of the results in your life?
The Urgent/Important Matrix
Great time management means being effective as well as efficient. Managing time effectively, and achieving the things that you want to achieve, means spending your time on things that are important and not just urgent. To do this, you need to distinguish clearly between what is urgent and what is important:
· Important: These are activities that lead to the achieving your goals and have the greatest impact on your life.
· Urgent: These activities demand immediate attention, but are often associated with someone else’s goals rather than our own.
This concept, coined the Eisenhower Principle, is said to be how former US President Dwight Eisenhower organized his tasks. It was rediscovered and brought into the mainstream as the Urgent/Important Matrix by Stephen Covey in his 1994 business classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The Urgent/Important Matrix is a powerful way of organizing tasks based on priorities. Using it helps you overcome the natural tendency to focus on urgent activities, so that you can have time to focus on what’s truly important.
The Urgent/Important Matrix:
· Urgent And Important: Activities in this area relate to dealing with critical issues as they arise and meeting significant commitments. Perform these duties now.
· Important, But Not Urgent: These success-oriented tasks are critical to achieving goals. Plan to do these tasks next.
· Urgent, But Not Important: These chores do not move you forward toward your own goals. Manage by delaying them, cutting them short, and rejecting requests from others. Postpone these chores.
· Not Urgent And Not Important: These trivial interruptions are just a distraction, and should be avoided if possible. However, be careful not to mislabel things like time with family and recreational activities as not important. Avoid these distractions altogether.
At times, requests from others may be important and need immediate attention. Often, however, these requests conflict with our values and take time away from working toward your goals. Even if it is something we would like to do but simply don’t have the time for, it can be very difficult to say no. One approach in dealing with these types of interruptions is to use a Positive No, which comes in several forms.
· Say no, followed by an honest explanation, such as, “I am uncomfortable doing that because…”
· Say no and then briefly clarify your reasoning without making excuses. This helps the listener to better understand your position. Example: “I can’t right now because I have another project that is due by 5 pm today.”
· Say no, and then give an alternative. Example: “I don’t have time today, but I could schedule it in for tomorrow morning.”
· Empathetically repeat the request in your own words, and then say no. Example: “I understand that you need to have this paperwork filed immediately, but I will not be able to file it for you.”
· Say yes, give your reasoning for not doing it, and provide an alternative solution. Example: “Yes, I would love to help you by filing this paperwork, but I do not have time until tomorrow morning.”
· Provide an assertive refusal and repeat it no matter what the person says. This approach may be most appropriate with aggressive or manipulative people and can be an effective strategy to control your emotions. Example: “I understand how you feel, but I will not [or cannot]…” Remember to stay focused and not become sidetracked into responding to other issues.
Elizabeth was feeling overwhelmed by the huge pile of paperwork scattered on her desk. Her co-worker, Annabelle, told her to sit down and to PRIORITIZE her work by making two piles of paperwork. The pile labeled IMPORTANT included items that directly impacted Elizabeth’s work performance. The pile labeled URGENT included items that needed attention immediately, however, did not involve Elizabeth directly. From these piles, Annabelle told her to create four others, in order of importance.
URGENT AND IMPORTANT- items that not only needed immediate attention, but had to directly with Elizabeth.
IMPORTANT BUT NOT URGENT- impacted Elizabeth directly, but they did NOT need immediate attention.
URGENT BUT NOT IMPORTANT – paperwork most likely given to Elizabeth by others.
NOT URGENT AND NOT IMPORTANT- more of distraction than anything else
Thanks to Annabelle’s organization advice, Elizabeth knew she would be able to finish her work by the end of the day.