Everyone should have a time management goal, as well as a plan to accomplish it. That’s the way to effectively manage your time and maximize your productivity.
Have big goals – but also small goals to reach daily. This should be obvious – yet too many people set tiny goals, then fail to reach them.
Why does this happen? Why are you not setting bigger goals – and then reaching them?
What’s Your Big Time Management Goal – And How Do You Plan To Reach It?
Often, it’s because you’re afraid of failing. You fear not being able to reach your most ambitious goals, to live your dreams. And that’s usually because you have unreal expectations.
If you plan to build a house, you surely don’t expect to move in to your new home tomorrow!
No, it takes many steps in between the time you desire it and when you can experience it in reality.
You need to plan your home, find a location, acquire the land or property, construct the building, furnish it and then move in.
Any worthy goal takes time to achieve – and unless you manage your time carefully, that duration can stretch out too long. Having a time management goal helps prevent such delays.
That’s where the vital role comes in.
‘Slice and Dice’ Your Time Management Goals
An effective time management goal has built in milestones, each with its specific deadline to reach it in.
The next step is to break it down into a schedule. You can make a list of the things that you need to do the next day and prioritize them.
- A. Absolutely must be completed.
- B. Needs to be finished today
- C. Would be nice to get around to
- D. Needs to happen at some point.
You can then do the things in the A column first.
From time to time, rework the list and do the things that have moved into the A column. Since things change as time progresses, your to do list will evolve as well, which is the reason you will need to constantly re-prioritize it to ensure that you stay on track.
To take the house building example again, you may set a target to finish construction in 3 months – and then set a smaller goal to buy the bricks or wood today, find a carpenter and allocate tasks tomorrow, have the doors made on day #3 and so on.
As long as your mini-goals are consistent with your bigger, long-term time management goal, every day’s tasks will take you closer to the ultimate target – and giving you positive reinforcement along the way as you reach your smaller milestones!
Your Time Management Performance – How To Optimize It?
Keeping track of your time management performance can help you constantly improve your efficiency, eliminate (or minimize) waste, and boost productivity easily. Just as the performance of a car engine depends upon several factors, your own time management performance will be based on how well you do many different things.
Among the most important of them is learning how to prioritize correctly. This, in turn, depends upon knowing exactly what you want.
This is so vital, the entire content of most time management courses could be summarized in just these 2 words –
Expert time management coach and teacher Stephen Covey uses the analogy of struggling hard to climb up a ladder – only to discover when you arrive at the top that the ladder was leaning against the wrong tree (or wall)!
Most successful achievers know exactly what they want. They know, in specific terms, where they want to be at the end of a particular time period.
They are aware of what they want to be doing at any point in time. And know how they intend living their dreams. That helps measure and monitor their time management.
Once you know exactly what you want to do, and have broken down the process of getting it done into smaller steps, it becomes easy – and effective – to put a priority on the individual steps, and take them up for execution one after another.
The actual methods you use to set priorities and execute them may vary. But as long as you can set priorities correctly, you will most effectively manage your time – and get more of the important tasks done every day, every month, every year.
What else impacts your time management performance?
One element that has an effect on it is understanding the distinction between ‘creativity’ and ‘clarity’.
Our stereotype of a creative type of person (like an artist or author) is one who lives in a state of controlled chaos, where the individual thrives in an environment of perpetual mess and disorganization.
While it is true that an overly orderly environment is often a hindrance to creativity, a mess is by no means necessary, or even desirable.
And remember – to function best, you need a combination of creativity and clarity. The clarity will enhance your time management performance.
You need clarity in your purpose, and in your goals. Clarity in your process of achieving both is also desirable. And the two forces are always in conflict with each other.
A compromise is often the best solution.
Keeping a tidy work environment, or at least cleaning up the mess on your desk from time to time, will help enhance your productivity and let you manage your time more effectively.
In addition to monitoring your time management performance, you should also focus on learning more strategies, techniques and systems to help better manage your time.
Other sections of this site have information about specific elements of time management that you can explore.
Need Time Management Help – With Your Meetings & Lists?
If you’re looking for time management help with managing meetings and lists, then you’ll find this information useful.
One of the biggest time-sucking events in a business-person’s life is meetings. Some of the most effective time managers I know make it a point NEVER too attend meetings!
All of us may not have that choice. Used wisely and well, meetings can get a lot done. But in my experience, no more than 1 in 50 meetings really meet these criteria, and end up wasting the time of many people.
That’s why many people are looking for time management help, both with conducting meetings and also attending them.
Here are some ways to make meetings more effective – and timely.
- Arrange meetings in advance, and make sure everyone knows the agenda and comes well prepared.
- Make presentations brief and to the point.
- Avoid time wasting breaks and don’t linger around after the meeting ends.
- Most of all, try and avoid attending them in the first place (unless your presence is critical) – or try delegating them to someone else.
With some advance planning and discipline, you can eliminate the need to look for assistance with your time management.
And you’ll run the most streamlined, effective and productive meetings in your organization.
I’m not a big fan of lists – but can promise you they work.
How do I know? Because I use lists sometimes. And every time I do, I finish the tasks on them.
There’s something deeply fulfilling and revitalizing about striking or checking off one finished task from a list!
Yet many people seek time management help with making – and keeping – lists.
Here are some tips that will help you get the highest value out of your to do list.
If you have more than 5 tasks to handle today, or have a weak memory, making lists will be useful… and save you time.
It also helps with priority setting. You can assign each task on your list a priority-value, so you can decide what order to finish them.
A list is also helpful in categorizing tasks by location or person. You may plan the sequence of activities depending upon the route you plan to travel today. Or you may arrange them based on whom you are going to meet and when.
For more complex projects and activities, a list can help you work step by step through the sequence of activities needed to get it done, without needing any time management help.
So, like meetings, lists can be of great value in helping you manage time better – provided they are drawn up correctly, and are organized in a productive manner. This is possible when your approach is fuelled by the principles of….
Time Management Tao
This makes the journey towards your destination more enjoyable and fun. And following the Time Management Tao approach is a tested and proven way to make this happen. The method is grounded in 3 principles of learning how to:
- Find your center – know WHAT to do
- Understand your order – know HOW to do it
- Pick your timing – know WHO to use & WHEN
You’ll learn about this in other sections of this site, and from the time management goal guides at Ming Vase Time Management.
For more tips on managing time more effectively, you can also sign up to our free weekly “Time Taozine” newsletter by filling in this form. Each issue will include a tip or nugget to help you become more efficient and set goals intelligently.