There is a lot of emphasis on goals at this time of year, but really, S.M.A.R.T goals can be set for anytime in the year. Every month presents an opportunity for a fresh start, if you choose to view it that way, and so you can set goals on a monthly basis. On the other hand, your annual goals give you a picture of where you are and where you want to be at the end of the calendar year.
A point to keep in mind is that your annual goals should be broken down into monthly goals, then weekly goals. This way every week you know what you should be working on. The challenge that arises after the goals are set is devising a strategy so that you will stick to your goals and complete them.
Time Management, or as I prefer to call it, self-management, is a crucial component to overall productivity and goal-setting achievement. And in order for you to get the most out of time or self-management, you have to know what your day will look like so that you will use your time effectively.
Set aside time each day to plan for tomorrow. Many people do this first thing in the morning, whereas other people do it the night before. If you are a “morning person” the “day-of” tactic will probably work best. If you have a hard time getting started in the morning then the night before would probably be the smarter time to plan your day so you know exactly what to do and when to do it, and you can hit the floor running.
There are people who say that they do not like to have to stick to a schedule, but having something to guide and remind you on the most important things you want to accomplish in a day or a given period can be very helpful. I personally do not operate well without a Planner with the items and tasks that I want to accomplish each day. Frankly, I’m lost without my Planner as it keeps me on track…and I love being able to check things off as I go.
When you are planning out your day, be sure to work based on priority. In her book, Never Check E-Mail In the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work author, Julie Morganstern offers some great tips on the value of placing priorities in the right place.
Start with a list of all the things you would like to accomplish. Then, put the items that will make the biggest difference first. This may not be the task you really want to do, but it may be the one that gives the greatest results. Next be sure to put down the items that are time sensitive. And lastly put the items you will enjoy the most.
If you put your favorite activities at the end of your day you will not only be more motivated to accomplish your goals but you will end the day on a high note. Time Management is a crucial component to goal-setting and recognizing that and working with that premise will be one of the most beneficial ways to stick to your goals and achieve them. Remember that the key is not just Time Management; it’s more important to take action!
What strategies have you found to be effective in goal-setting? Please share.