5 Ways To Achieve Your Goals With Time Management
One of the most powerful and valuable traits you can possess in life is the ability to effectively manage your time. If you are not making sure you are using your time wisely, there is very little chance you are going to reach your goals at work – and even less likely that you will reach your personal goals outside of work. Yes, there is a possibility that you may make some progress. But you will make greater strides in less time if you incorporate effective time management skills into your everyday life.
An outstanding 92% of people fail to achieve their long-term goals. This has a large part to do with putting tasks off, not being able to prioritize effectively, and sometimes, just plain laziness. Whatever time management system that works best for you, choose one and stick with it. Life is too short to waste time.
With that in mind, here are a few helpful tips on time management to ensure that you have all the tools to meet and exceed your goals:
1. Know your goals
There is definitely a right and wrong way to go about goal setting. If you do not set your goals the right way, then you’ll most likely miss something, which will force you to go back and redo things, or worse still, force you off-track. Here at Alexander George Consulting, we use S.M.A.R.T goals to help us set parameters around our performance goals. A SMART goal is a goal that is Specific, Realistic, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. To set yourself or business up for success, make sure you are actually writing your goals down. Research has shown that when we put our goals to paper, we are more likely to remember them and plan activities that align with achieving them.
Get the most important and daunting tasks done first.
A great tool to help you understand this concept and how to prioritize tasks is the quadrant time management system. This handy graph splits your activities into four quadrants based on urgency and importance. Things are either urgent or important, both, or neither. Neither (quadrant 4) are the activities that you want to stay away from, but it’s the not-urgent-but-important quadrant (2) that you want to pay close attention to, as those are things that tend to get away from us.
- Important and urgent: These tasks have important deadlines with high urgency – complete these right away.
- Important but not urgent: These items are important but do not necessarily need immediate attention, but should involve some long-term development strategizing. For highly effective time management, spend most of your time in this quadrant.
- Urgent but not important: These tasks are urgent but not important. Minimize, delegate, or eliminate these as they do not necessarily contribute to your overall goals.
- Urgent and unimportant: These activities hold little, if any value. These should be eliminated as much as possible if you want to stay on track.
3. Plan ahead
Once you have an idea of where your priorities are, the next step is to plan ahead. The time you spend thinking ahead and planning your activities will be time well spent. It takes time, but by making to-do lists, you are effectively setting goals for the day. Oftentimes, we can get caught in the jumble of activities and daunting tasks we know we have to complete. Daily goals are a great way to lay out, and understand what you need to get done that particular day.
4. Set time limits for daily tasks
Reading and answering email can consume your entire day if you let it. Trust me, the time it takes dealing with customer requests and other daily tasks can add up. Instead, set a time limit each day for these tasks and stick to it. If you assign a block of time rather than dealing with these things on demand, your schedule will say more in tact and organized throughout the day.
The importance of work-life balance cannot be overemphasized. It’s vitally important to avoid burnout in your everyday life. If you lack balance, you are more likely going to feel stressed out, and stress leads to bad habits, and bad habits will eventually derail goals. One study suggests that you should work for 52 minutes and break for 17. If you do not take breaks every once in a while, it is unfortunately far more likely that you will hit your breaking point. Prioritize yourself along with overall goals. In the long run, it will make a difference. Just remember: Balance is key.