by Josh Millar
When striving towards ambitious goals, time management is a key part of your strategy. Especially when it comes to long-term goals, staying in control of your time is essential. With countless distractions, work pressures, and other priorities, it’s too easy to let a goal fall by the wayside. We may procrastinate, hoping to get to it the next day or feel so overwhelmed that we decide to drop it completely. A strong time-management plan helps to prevent these things from happening. It can keep you on track and in control as you work towards your goal. Here’s how:
Set a Clear Timeframe
The first thing to get clear on with a goal is your timeframe. By giving yourself a deadline (or end date), you make it much easier to plan the day-to-day work necessary to get there. If you’re training for a marathon, for example, your training plan will look a lot different if you have one month to train versus six. A timeframe helps you set your pace. It helps you mark milestones for progress, so you know if you’re falling behind or staying on course. It also fights procrastination. When we have an ambiguous goal with no end date, it’s easy to postpone the work day after day. When we realize our time is limited, it ups the pressure a bit. That pressure can be a powerful source of motivation on those days that you just don’t feel like putting in the work. No matter what your goal is, before you set out, ensure you know when you plan to reach it by.
Break it Down
Once you’re clear on how much time you have to work towards achieving your goal, you’re ready to break it down. When we don’t give ourselves specific daily tasks to complete, a large goal can feel overwhelming. Many of us have busy lives with jobs, families, friends, and hobbies. Adding something else into the mix often requires a bit of effort. The clearer you can get with yourself about exactly what it is you’re adding in, the easier it is to make it fit. Identify the daily steps that will help you progress towards your goal, and map out a path, day by day. Having a small assignment ready for every day makes a goal feel much more manageable.
Use a Timer
Whether you’re trying to learn a new language or improve your marketing skills, determine how much time you plan to dedicate to those efforts every day. Then, set a timer on your phone and give your full attention to the task at hand. Defining a clear window of time in this way makes it easier to concentrate. Watching a timer countdown can keep you from stopping early, and carving out a specific window can keep you from skipping that day’s work.
Treat it Like Work
Finally, treat your goal like you would an important project at work. Remove distractions, avoid multitasking, and include your goal plan in your regular calendar. When we value our goals in this way, it helps us to maintain the motivation needed to achieve them. It helps us to see them as a priority and resist letting other things overshadow them.
When it comes to goals, time management is a tool to maintain accountability. Getting clear with time in every aspect of the goal-setting process is key. From the larger time frame down to the daily minutes of work, the better we can define this plan, the more likely we are to follow through. Has time management helped you achieve a goal? I’d love to hear your thoughts.