Time Management

By: Dr.Gwen Smith

Knowing what you plan to achieve each day helps to improve your level of productivity daily. A perfect way of doing this is to write your goals before your week starts, for each day. I literally create my goals at the end of each week for the upcoming week. I sometimes move the items around, however, I’ll do that only once or twice at most so I can remain true to the items I planned to fulfill on during that particular week. Moving your items around too many times can really throw you off-schedule towards achieving your goals.

Once you set your goals, time-blocking is an excellent way to achieve them especially if your day is relatively fixed with little unplanned events that could throw you off schedule. I find that depending on the type of business I am doing, time blocking may or may not work for me. For example, when I worked as a school administrator, it was literally impossible to follow a time-blocked schedule. Inevitably a teacher parent or student activity would be interjected in the middle of my day, totally throwing off whatever I had planned for that hour of the day. In these types of circumstances, when your day is not typically consistent (with lots of possible interruptions), making a list of the top five to ten items you’d like to tackle and working on them first thing in the day is a more effective way to get stuff done. This could mean getting started before anyone else on your job shows up.

Whether it is time-blocking or tackling your top items for the day, you will want to turn off cell phones and avoid emails, phone calls and social media platforms, in order to stay focused.

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How To Plan And Write Your Goals

By: Dr.Gwen Smith

Planning and setting goals have been long recognized as a way to be effective in what you are doing. Lack of a clear understanding of the goal-planning process has left some frustrated and short of achieving what they are aiming for. This article will give some basics on goal setting which when consistently applied will significantly improve your productivity and help you to achieve some of the things you have been working at for perhaps a few years now. Let's get right to it:

 

First, in writing your goals it is important to remember the acronym: SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, relevant and time-bound). Let’s look at each one.

Specific—goals should address a specific task

Measurable—you should know when you have achieved the goal

Action-Oriented—you MUST have action steps associated with your goals

Relevant—goals should relate to your overarching aim and to your passions.

Time-Bound—goals should have a time-frame for completion so you know when to stop and reevaluate and for accountability.

Now let’s look at an example:

What do you want to achieve in your life? Is it something that you have tried consistently without seeing the results you desired? For example, you may want to introduce a health goal for yourself, which will involve several different activities. So, you ask yourself what it is that you are trying to achieve. Your goal may be to become healthier. Does “healthier” have a measure? Can you measure healthier? No, however, there are other evidences or results that you can utilize as measures of a healthier lifestyle that can help you identify if you are reaching your goals. For example: exercising, reducing overweight, drinking plenty of water, eating healthy meals, etc.

“So, now we are going to write these goals as SMART goals. First you set a weight loss goal, let’s say 60 pounds. That is specific and measurable: you want to lose weight and you should weigh 60 pounds less. However, you haven’t said how this is going to be done. Doing random sets of behaviors will more than likely not get you the results you want to achieve and will frustrate. This is where you'll do some research and brainstorming to come up with the methods or actions that you are going to take to get you there. Listed and possibly placed in your management system will more likely ensure that you'll take the necessary actions to achieve your goals. So action is much more possible when your activity is scheduled.  

Ensuring that those action steps are aligned with the goals you have set is incredibly important to your success and makes it relevant to what you've set out to achieve. Setting action steps that have no relevance to your goals and what you are setting out to do is counterproductive to your intent. 

Next you may want to add a time-frame, let’s say 12 months. Chunking down your action steps into daily actions to give you consistent results over each month can help you keep track to see whether or not your weight loss goals are on track.

Now let’s summarize this with a practical example so you can see how it works. You set a yearlong goal that you would like to lose 60 pounds. Now you’ll need to break the goals down into monthly goals. So you want to lose about 5 pounds per month and then further 1 pound per week on average.

So now, you will have to identify the activities that you will be doing in order to achieve this goal. We identified a few before, and one of them is exercising. So our goal for exercising would be to walk (the action that we have selected) five days a week for 30 minutes, and to strength train (another action we selected) two days a week for 15 minutes each day, weighing in at the end of each week to see if you have lost the 1 pound.  Are you one pound lighter? If not, reassess and examine what needs to change. Adjust and measure again the second week and adjust again as necessary.

This keeps you in the game of winning at your goals

Excerpted:

(Smith, 2015). Single Moms From Striving to Thriving: Simple Steps to Maintaining a Balanced Life. (Copyright, all rights reserved.)

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