Here are some things you can do to help you achieve your goals. Note, I didn’t say your to do list but rather focus on the bog picture of what you need to do. Let me share to you five things I try to do and remember when trying to reach my goal:
Almost all urgent things look important but most likely they are not. Some of the urgent things become important because of procrastination. So knowing what is urgent and important is crucial for productivity.
Example: I have 6 months to finish my deadline on my book. I could choose to not work on it for 5 months thus it becomes urgent and important on the 5th month but if I chose to write 1000 words a night every week for 1 month – I would have ample room to edit, improve and re-edit my work even four months before the deadline.
Eliminate as much urgent things as possible by doing it in advance or by delegating it.
Important things are BIG ROCKS and urgent things are small pebbles that is becoming bigger by the minute.
Know what are your big rocks. Do only what you can do and try to focus your energy on your BIG IMPORTANT rocks.
2. Take a Break.
Don’t work 8 hours straight. I love how our theology teacher Paul Barker holds his classes. We spend the first 50 minutes studying – with all gadgets closed and focus intently on the subject matter. When 50 minutes is reached, we take a 10 minute break to do whatever we want. After the ten minute break, we get back to class for 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute break. After more than 6 hours, we are able to cover a lot of important subject without missing on important stuff because those 10 minute breaks keep us alive and gives the brain a much needed break.
3. Turn off the gadget.
Gadgets were designed to make us productive but it is also a machine of distraction if we allow it to. Fight the urge to check your social media accounts when working. Take those 50 minutes of work and focus. Reward 10 minutes every hour to do what you want but have the discipline to get back on doing your important things.
4. Ask for Help.
Some task are too big and important for one person to achieve. Get a lifeline and ask for help from people who could help you. When I was writing my book, I had help from great author friends to encourage me and push me to finish the task. Sometimes all you need to hear is that you are doing right and it keeps you going. Enlist positive friends who believes in your goals and tell them to cheer you up and help you in times when you feel like giving up on your dream.
5. SMART GOALS.
Make sure your goals are SMART
Specific – Zig Ziglar said, be a meaningful specific, not a wandering generality. Zero in on your goals. Don’t give me the world peace goal.
Measurable – your goals must be measured. It can’t be a pie in the sky goal. You should know if you are making progress in your goals. So don’t just say I’m writing a book. Say my goal is to write a book before December 15, 2015.
Attainable – can it be done according to your specified time line. It means you have a plan and the plan can work with proper discipline and perseverance.
Realistic – To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. Since it is realistic, you know it is not just a dream. It can be done!
Time-Bound – give a deadline. Start strong and finish strong! It would be also good to have a timeline that is no longer than one year. Have quarterly assessment and check for progress. Thammie and I would have quarterly goals and annual goals. With our fast changing world, I would discourage having a 5 year plan/goal unless there is a high probability of success or doability.