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Time management - Goals part 2



Goals part 2

General

Time Management is used to do just that, manage your time better in getting to your goals.
It doesn’t matter whether your final goal is a purely personal one or a company one where your input is key.

The main starting point is the Goal.

Control

If you find you are in serious need of Time Management then your life and actions always seem to be at the beck and call of others.
To better manage your time you will need to take control.
This will take self discipline and determination.

You will need a plan and goals are a good place to start.

Often the more novel the task(s) the more you will benefit from good control.

Short and long term goals

These goals (or aims) can cover a relatively short period (months or 1 year) or for some aspirations they could cover a much larger period (30 to 50 years).
Most will cover a relatively short period.
Just to say, “I will become a millionaire in 12 months” may well be a noble aim but is rather vague.
We need to break these down into even smaller chunks called Objectives (or Targets).

Setting

Even if we establish that there is a need for Time Management we will still meet resistance.
Typically.

  • I think I work efficiently now.
  • If I set goals and don’t achieve them, well that’s it I will be deemed a failure.
  • Its all new and I’m nervous etc, etc

As referred to above we need to decide on a long range goal and then break this down to smaller achievable objectives.

Breaking down the goal into shorter objectives makes sense.

  • You will be able to monitor progress more easily.
  • You will be able to take corrective action sooner.
  • You will see milestones achieved which will improve your morale and motivate you to carry on.

There is often confusion between Goals and Objectives.
In this context the Goal is the longer term aim or strategy with objectives as milestones for your tactics.

Both require consideration of where you wish to be at some time in the future.
You will need to think about them and not let things drift.

As a manager you will need to be very involved in setting them for new starters. Experienced staff will tend to write their own and ratify them with their boss.

Time frame

When setting a goal you will need to identify a time frame in which to achieve it.
This will apply whether it is a personal goal or a work related one.

Quality

One of the problems with setting goals is they tend to reflect aspirations.
In personal life we might be tempted to be more adventurous, for example, to have a salary of £150,000 per year, to go on 5 foreign holidays every year.

If we were putting forward goals for our professional advancement we might be more reluctant to be so adventurous. Particular when your job and prospect are at stake. This is a fear raised above.
This applies most when they are set for the job itself, for example:

  • You may have a goal to be managing director in 3 years with objectives broken down on an annual, monthly, weekly basis.

But in order to achieve this we will need to do the job in hand which will involve goals for the year and shorter term objectives set by your boss. Failure to meet these could have a big affect on your personal goals.

However, when setting goals, particularly work related you should not make them too easy.
People are often surprised at what they can achieve and challenging goals often act as a source of motivation.

They should meet particular criteria, which could be referred to as SMART (for goals or objectives):

Specific: Make sure these are not vague but are described accurately.
Manageable: Must be able to manage them and have the necessary level of authority to do so.
Agreed: The best goals are agreed by both parties involved (boss and worker).
Relevant: They must be relevant to the company goals and the projects or tasks in hand.
Time: There must be a time aspect to them when completion is required.

In addition to this the performance criteria should be made clear. What standard are you expecting?
Is it a 1 page summary or 50 page report?
How robust must the product be, what are the cost limitations etc?

Record and flexibility

2 Other things must be done to complete the requirements for goals and objectives.

  • Write them down and display them. Don’t try to remember them.
  • Keep flexible.

In the last case, many people (bosses in particular) think all goals and shorter term objectives are immutable.
It is quite possible for them to change. We are not complete masters of the destiny of all things and managers must realise that goals and objectives may have to be modified.

The first area to attack in improving Time Management is the Goal (whether personal or set by senior managers).
Once you have goals and objectives you have a stage on which you can perform to reach your aims.

Once you apparently know what you are doing there are many obstacles in getting there and one major one to get over is your own need to manage your time well to give you the best opportunity to succeed.

Time Management can give you that edge to create space in your schedule, what you do with it can alter your life.

You may think that you have a great long list of ‘things to achieve’ or goals. Wouldn’t this be very time consuming writing them all down?
Well yes it would. If you have heard of the Pareto principle then about 80% of your output and achievements will arise from only 20% of your total list of goals. Hence, if you have generated a list of 30 and ranked them pick the top 5 or 6 as a maximum (3 is a good number) and focus on these.

When you write your goals down it should be easy to read them. Write each on separate page using no more than 200 to 250 words. You should be able to read them in 30 to 60 seconds. So you should end up with no more than 6 pieces of paper, easily readable which you put on display.
These should be consulted on a regular basis to make sure you are on track.

Non - PRINCE2 information