Goal Setting

Do it Now!

Have you ever wanted to do something but procrastinated so long you could never do it? I’ve done this quite a bit and was reminded of it yesterday while driving.

When I was college, there was a Roy Rogers restaurant that I would pass every day on my commute. I had always wanted to stop there to just see what it was like. College was a busy time for me so I kept putting my trip to the restaurant off (even though it would have taken me less than five minutes to stop and pickup my food).

Avoiding Conflicting Goals

Do any of your goals conflict with each other? A classic example of this is the work-life balance dilemma where you have the following two goals:

Goal 1: Spend more quality time with my spouse and family.

Goal 2: Get promoted two levels within the next year.

Obviously, both of these goals require a substantial amount of the same resource: your time. Knowing that forgetting about sleeping and spending 12 hours per day with your family and 12 hours per day at work is unrealistic, you’ll quickly find yourself frustrated. And you’d have plenty of company as there are probably thousands of so-called experts who make their living preaching about work-life balance. I’ll give you my short course and this one’s on the house.

Tasks vs. Results

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I write down action items every day to help me achieve my goals. One thing that I recently realized is that when possible, it’s better to list results instead of tasks.

I remember a few years back when I was looking for a job, one of my daily tasks was “send out 10 resumes.” Looking back, I now realize that I would have reached my goal quicker had my daily objective been “make contact with at least one recruiter or hiring manager.” After all, it took me less than an hour to go through the various job posting web sites, identify 10 or more positions, modify my resume & cover letter and hit the submit button. To actually connect with someone, it would have taken me almost all day.

Painless Time Management

Wouldn’t be great if you could get an extra hour or two of productive work done each day? Forget about cutting your sleep back to three hours a night (trust me, it’s not a good thing to try), you can do this by mastering Time Management.

There are probably hundreds of books and courses out there on Time Management, and someday I’ll probably offer one too. However, sometimes people spend so much time trying to manage their time, they become even less productive.

Quick Tip #2 – Remember your Ideas

How many times have you thought of a great idea but were unable to recall the details when you were ready to act on it? Let’s face it, great ideas can come to us at odd times: while we’re driving, in the shower, or lying in bed. If we don’t take the time to note them right away, there’s a good chance we’ll forget them. In today’s tip, I’ll talk about a couple ways you can avoid this situation.

The power of “Must”

One word can turn an impotent goal into an effective goal. Consider the following “goals”:

  • I’d like to be financially independent.
  • I want a bigger house.
  • I hope I get promoted this year.

Just changing a word or two makes your goals more effective. Consider these changes:

  • I absolutely must become financially independent.
  • I must have a bigger house.
  • I must get promoted this year.

Adding “must” makes your goal more definite. Committing to a date is the final step of defining a goal. Exact dates are better than “within 5 years” or “by next November” as you may have forgotten the date you set your goal.

20 Things

My friend Mark once told me a way to help me achieve my goals: each day, write down 20 things that you can do to that will help you move closer to your goal. Mark had used this technique while earning his MBA when his goal was to win a contest at his school. He did this diligently every day and sure enough, he won.

Through the years, I’ve played around with this technique and created some rules to make it most effective. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

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