We are all getting busier and busier, but are we getting enough of the right things done?
Our time is being spent on building the best ladder to climb the wall. We also need to regularly take the time to check: Is this the right wall? Do we need a better wall?
Let’s think about that for a moment. It is right isn’t it!
Routine work, when it becomes our focus, kills our opportunity for innovative work. In a tremendously busy life, we sometimes forget to look up from our screen and take in the bigger picture and our place in it. Days and nights grow busier, technology means working 24/7 and our targets keep going up. Meetings, emails, travel, budget planning, late night conference calls, budget reporting – the list of “killer routine” tasks goes on and on.
Take a pause and just ask yourself a question: “when was the last time I really invested some quality time in working ON my business instead of just IN it?” The classic Quadrant One of Time Management – URGENT AND IMPORTANT is consuming our careers.
- we need to delegate more, but we don’t
- we need to spend more of our expensive time in higher value work
- We are stuck in daily lower order detail
- we need to spend time sharpening the axe, but we don’t
- we need to lead the NEW, but we are too busy with the NOW
- we need to innovate more, but we don’t
- we need to spend less time in meetings and have less meetings, but nothing changes
- we should be doing certain things, because only we can do them, but we don’t
The reason we don’t do enough of these things is pretty simple – we just don’t have enough time!!! Wait – is that really true? We all have the same amount of time each day! Our choice of where we spend the time is our issue.
We can’t do everything but we can do the most important thing every day.
Why not adopt this one discipline - when you are starting a task…..
STOP and ask yourself this one simple question:
“Is what I am doing right now, the most valuable use of my time?”
Quadrant Two – NOT URGENT AND IMPORTANT is where we all need to spend more of their time. How do we get out of fighting crocodiles off all day in Quadrant One and make time for Quadrant Two?
Well, create a “to do” list, fully prioritized, totally 360 degree considering all the various roles you currently play, and realistic – something you can follow every day. What about creating your additional “to be” list for your own further development? Apply some order to all those projects floating around in your head.
So, how do we find more time in an already totally, thoroughly, completely, ridiculously packed life?
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How To Get The Most
Out Of The
“Goal Setting Blueprint 2.0”
Plan to Fail or Fail to Plan?
We know it but we fall into the “knowledge trap” of knowing but not doing!
The path to success in any field is focus on key things. Let’s recall Pareto’s 80/20 rule, that 80% of success comes from 20% of the things we do. Taking that further, we should be concentrating 80% of the time we have available on the 20% of things we do, that will lead to 80% of our success. We know it but we don’t apply the knowledge!
To get the 80/20/80 rule going, we need to take control our time. The key point is to get 80% of our time working at peak concentration on the 20% of items on our priority list, that will deliver 80% of the outcomes we desire. By the way, you need that priority list. This is the time in your career to create it.
Time, time, time!
How do we get control of our time? We start by using this simple Planning Tool called “Goal Setting Blueprint 2.0”. It is in PDF format but you can edit the content.
It will take about 90 minutes to complete this planning tool, but once done, it will only require some small changes over time. The hardest part is the making of choices around competing priorities.
Once you have created the tool, use this as your base from which you organise you daily world.
Before the start of each new day, either the evening before or the morning of that day, re-read all of the items covered in the Goal Setting Blueprint 2.0 and then as things occur to you (e.g. finish report, call parents, pay tax, transfer money, call client on project etc.) transfer actions into your “To Do” list, so that you can work on them.
This whole process of reviewing all of these Planning Tool items should take about 5-10 minutes in total. So get straight into Time Management Quadrant Two – Important/Not Urgent to plan your day.
Schedule ”ME” Time
One of the key points to effectiveness is to combine your “To Do” list with your diary, so that you schedule “ME” time, to work on the highest value tasks that only you can do. This is “do not interrupt me time”, to allow the workflow quality you need, to get the deep focus you require.
By you, on you, for you
Many people fail to make a list of things to work from for the day. That is rather sad. Their days will be spent executing the plans of others, because they will be drawn into random actions and projects designed by and for someone else. Don’t be another’s instrument! Grab hold of your own destiny by starting with owning your own day.
The A,B, Cs of Time Triage
Here is a hint with recording your daily To Do list – break the items up into groups: A1-A10 for the more high priority, urgent items; B1-B10 for those important but less urgent; C1-C10 for lower value items and D1-D10 for the “good to do but not so pressing”. When you make a list, you can have many items staring back at you but breaking them into “bite-size” chunks fools the brain into thinking this is more manageable. Looking at a list of 1-40 items may be a depressing thought, so group them into tens at a time.
To Do Lists – Check Marks, Arrows and Transfers
When you start a task, put a check mark through the A1 number so you can see it is underway, when you finish the task, put a check mark at the end of the action item sentence or word, to show completion. If you refer it to someone else draw an arrow pointing to a circle around their initials. If you don’t get some items completed, you transfer those items across to the next day and mark them with an arrow pointing to the right, showing they have been transferred. This way no items are lost. If you give up on an item, put an arrow beside it pointing down, to show it has been dropped.
“The faintest ink is superior to the best memory”, so get into the habit of writing things down. Next rank the order of work. You cannot do everything but you can do the most important thing every day. You just have to make some decisions around what that will be.
The prioritisation of items is tough, but you need to make those choices because your limited time and energy ensures only the most critical items will actually get done. Therefore do the key items and start by making the choice at the outset.
Planning Tool Content
Describe your own “why” – why do you do what you do, what is important to you, what are you trying to achieve. This is not just about work, this it the total 360 degree view of you, including non-work priorities. No one on their death bed says, ”get me down to the office, I have unfinished work to do”! So get your life in balance now, by deciding to consider the total needs of the total you.
What do you stand for? What are your drivers? What values mean the most to you. What values describe who you are or who you aspire to be? List them up, rank them in priority order, then write them down.
Most positive impact on your professional life question
There are many things you are currently doing and many things you need to be doing. That is a lot of noise buzzing around inside your head. Select the one key thing, that if you only got this done, would make a difference in progressing your professional life.
Most positive impact on your personal life question
Similar to the one above, but this time focused on non-work priorities.
What do you want to have, be it an item or something intangible like a spiritual outlook?
Imagine you have no limits, no income restraints, you are free to do what you want to do – what would you do with yourself everyday? Imagine you are able to live like an artist with a guaranteed $100,000 a month trust fund award from a rich relative, which allows you to do whatever you like – what would you do?
The best you – what does that look like?
Happiness and fulfillment
Many things give you satisfaction but what one thing gives you the most happiness?
Professional life activities
You can’t do everything and you can’t get it all done in one day, but what one thing you do, has the highest value?
Same as the last question but this time focus on non-work items.
Remind yourself of all of the things you have now – make a list of all the things you are good at, your experience, abilities, learnings, etc.
Contribute to the world
We may not think we can change the world but we can influence it, through the things we do and the interactions we have with others. What can you do to make it a better world?
We have a number of roles, as part of a family – wife, husband, partner, son, daughter etc. We have our different work roles – CEO, CFO, manager etc. We are investors because we earn money and have to prepare for the future. We are a friend or colleague.
Usually up to 7 roles is enough in this category.
Rank your roles in priority order and list them up (this will be an insightful exercise!).
Having decided our key roles, we now attach goals for them. Each goal asks what is the goal, why is achieving that goal important and how will you achieve that goal – what do you need to do to make it a reality?
By doing this for each role, you make sure the total you is being looked at and not just the narrow view of you at work.
Weekly Goal Setting Questions
These questions are there as prompts to point out things you need to be doing this week, to make sure you have the most effective week possible. You may think of things that need to be worked on later in the week – put those straight into your “To Do” list for that day.
True North is a metaphor for what you know deep down is the right thing to do - what the “best you” would do.
Long Range Goals
These are far into the future. Your planning for your future health, retirement, kid’s college education, lifetime personal development commitments etc.
Control your destiny by controlling your time. Control your success by focusing 80% of your time and energy on the 20% of things that will account for 80% of your results.
Take this planning tool and adapt it to your needs
Download Our Free “Goal Setting Blueprint 2.0” Now!