Before you make another goal consider this: 91% of New Year’s resolutions aren’t achieved. Over 70% of projects fail. After fifty years, I discovered the secret to successful goal setting and achieving.
Why care about goals and time management?
It’s a reflection of you. It’s doing and being more of who you are or were meant to be. It’s dynamic. It is about adjusting and adapting to creating and living the life you want now and in the future. It’s about your life, living it your way till it’s gone.
I’ve always been a time management junkie. Blah, my high school yearbook quote was, “Time disappears while we are trying to decide what to do with it.” I’m an ex-workshop leader on time management and have taught project management for over 20 years. Project management is simply time management for project teams.
Setting goals is fun for me, and achieving goals was more challenging till I learned how to eat an elephant.
Achieving goals is the point of time management. I suggest not using the word goals for those skeptical about time management and goals. Instead, try substituting intentions or focus, or vision. Or acknowledge that goals can be intangible and abstract, like happiness or mindfulness.
The secret is (ta-dah) that time management is an inside job; it’s about you being more of yourself. The challenge is finding and using a time management system that is authentic to you.
First, start by clarifying your beliefs, values, and style. For example, don’t make lists if you are not a linear person. If you don’t believe in goal setting, then don’t set them; instead, you might try setting intentions, prayer, or doodling. If you are not a morning person, don’t try a system based on getting up at 5 am.
Here are the three parts to successfully managing time and achieving goals:
- Know thyself, your beliefs, and your values about time and goals.
- Finding a time management system (style or approach) that aligns authentically with you.
- Assess and start managing time now, using habits, behaviors, tips, and techniques that support you now and where you want to be.
Achieving goals is only possible once you apply a system that aligns with you. Time management is highly personal. Tips and techniques cut across various time management belief systems yet are sometimes implemented differently. Focusing and discipline are examples of skills that apply to multiple beliefs and systems of time management (but not all!)
Your time management system will change with you as you grow and change. I started with a more structured approach (think Franklin/Covey, David Allen) and then moved to a more free-form creative system (Bullet Journaling) and am now using a hybrid personalized system (Outlook with a paper Passion Planner).
Let’s start with your beliefs about Time Management
Do you even believe in time management and goals? If not, what do you believe in, and what words or phrases most align with your beliefs? (Energy, intention, focus, priority, dreams, being in the moment)
What quote, metaphor, visual, or vision do you have for time management?
An example of a metaphor is the dragonfly, used by Gail Lowney Alofsin. This is the picture on the cover of her excellent life and time management book; Your Someday is Now. What are you waiting for? The dragonfly has a short life, can fly in six directions, and has fragile and beautiful wings that can instantly change direction.
Here are some classic, contemporary, and contradictory beliefs about time; as you read these beliefs, notice and highlight what resonates with you.
- You must master time to achieve success
- Leave nothing for tomorrow that can be done today
- Nothing last forever; there are only moments here and now
- Things happen as they are meant to
- We will get there fast and then take it slow.
- Something done is better than perfect.
- Time is money.
- Time disappears while we are trying to decide what to do with it.
- Manage your energy, not your time.
- The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you are the pilot.
- You can do anything for 10 minutes. (30 seconds if you are going all out on a Treadmill)
- Time is our most precious asset; spend it wisely.
- Ask over and over, what is the most valuable use of my time right now?
- Time isn’t precious at all because it is an illusion.
- Yesterday is today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.
- The future is uncertain, but the end is always near.
- If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
- Realize deeply that the present moment is all you will ever have.
- Time is clay. Make something.
- A schedule defends chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.
- Now is the time to know that everything you do is sacred.
- Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
- Today’s actions build tomorrow.
- The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.
- Don’t be a time manager, be a priority manager.
- Life is like an ice cream cone; you have to lick it one day at a time.
- Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
- Success is how you collect your minutes.
- The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
- You rarely have time for everything you want in this life; make choices.
- Children spell love… T-I-M-E.
Identifying your beliefs about time is the first step in creating, finding, or adapting the perfect time management system. I believe that – If you want to eat an elephant, it must be one bit at a time.
What do you believe about time?
How well do you apply that belief daily?