Let’s face it, we could all use a little help achieving our goals and improving our productivity. The key to doing this is to figure out what you want and make a list of your priorities.
The first step in accomplishing your goals is to set them. A long-term goal is essential, but also include steps you need to achieve that goal. This way, you not only have small goals to help monitor your progress and motivate yourself with your achievements, but you also have a built-in way of knowing that you’ve thought in depth about what you’re doing and are acting wisely. Once you have your steps, turn them into to-do lists. It may help to have daily lists, along with weekly and monthly ones as well.
Once you’ve set your priorities and made your to do lists, you need to stick with it. Sure, if things change, you may need to do some tweaking here and there, but you put a lot of thought into your lists and you need to trust your own judgment. If you keep backtracking and reprioritizing, you’re never going to get anything done.
For most of us, it is generally easiest to make a list and then pick and choose which things we’d like to do off the list. The problem with this is that something you like doing more may not be as urgent, and the more important items will be put off until the last minute when you absolutely have to get them done.
A better idea is to look at your list and pick the one thing that you’re dreading doing. Sure, it might take you a while to get it done, but once you do, you’ll not only be less likely to procrastinate, you’ll also have a sense of accomplishment and momentum to get through the rest of your work.
A key part of time management is being realistic. Many people think that if they set lofty goals, they’ll get that extra push from the perceived time crunch and actually meet them. The truth is, if you set unrealistic goals, you’re rarely going to meet them. If you continue to not meet your goals, you’re going to become discouraged and actually lower productivity and work quality.
One of the most important steps in time management is taking responsibility for your actions and how you manage what you do during your days. When we fail to meet a deadline, many of us blame it on other things, like a distracting co-worker or a great show that was on TV. This leads us to believe there is nothing we can do about meeting deadlines, which just isn’t true. You need to own your own time. If you don’t meet a deadline, figure out what you did wrong and what you can do better next time to fix it.
With a little effort and a lot of conviction, you can stick with your plans and achieve your goals.