Goals: Why, What, and How
We’ve seen so far that Time Management is about spending as much time as you can on things that are important, and that there are five ways to reduce the time you spend on unimportant things: saying no, negotiating, delegating, having better systems, and being less of a perfectionist.
But how do you know what’s important? Where does importance come from?
The answer is that it comes from your personal goals. Whatever you want to do in life, whatever you want to achieve, THAT’s what’s important to you. If it doesn’t contribute to you achieving your goals, then it’s not really important.
So, let’s explore goals a bit more…
Many people drift through life: reacting to what happens to them and doing what other people push them into doing, both at home and at work. Imagine if you drove at random, with no map or GPS—where would you end up? Probably somewhere that you wouldn’t like! And life is just like this. Not many people have a clear objective and plan for their life, but the ones who do are much more likely to get there.
Most people don’t have clear goals because they’ve never really thought about it, it’s too hard, or perhaps they are worried about failing to achieve whatever goals they might set. But actually, you are much more likely to achieve significant things if you set them as goals, and the clearer they are, the more likely you are to achieve them.
So, the effect of clear goals is that you’ll be more self-disciplined—less likely to get distracted and put important things off, less likely to do fun things instead of important things—because you’ve got your goals to work on. And you’ll be more assertive too—less likely that other people will get you spending time on things that contribute to their goals rather than yours.
This is how goals work, and it’s amazing how powerful the cumulative effect is over a few years. You’ll achieve much more than you first expect if you write a clear list of goals for yourself. Successful people always have goals!
What would someone’s life goals look like? The answer is simple, although hardly anyone knows this: a list of things you enjoy doing and things you want to achieve, both at home and at work. Most people have things they enjoy at home and things they plan to achieve at work, but not many people have the other two—a list of the things they enjoy at work and want to do more of and the things they want to achieve outside work. A clear list, written down!
So, your life goals would be in four categories: two to enjoy at home and at work and two to achieve at home and at work. Something like “playing in a band” might be both enjoyable and achievable, in which case, you can put it in either box, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you don’t have one of the boxes completely empty!
The more clear and specific the goals are, the better. For example ,“travel” is great, but it’s better to say, “visit Australia,” or even, “spend eight weeks driving up the coast of Queensland in a campervan, visiting Fraser Island on the way.” The more detail the better, since it’s your subconscious visualization that will then make it happen, by making small changes and small decisions all day, every day, without you even noticing. Just like setting an internal GPS!
I’ll see you tomorrow for lists!
Homework: Make a list—the most important one of all—of your goals. It needs to cover all four categories (what to enjoy and achieve at home and at work) and be clear and detailed. And don’t be afraid to dream: Think big, aim high, and you’ll be amazed how things will fall into place in the coming months.
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