Optimizing Your Time To Achieve Your Goals
By Charles Hopkins
Published 11/27/2007 | Self Improvement
The way to optimize your time so that you can achieve your goals is in
the ability to do what is the most important action to take at a given
time. Just getting up in the morning and doing what others have decided
you should do will help achieve their goals and not yours. Even "to do
lists" if not properly planned will not be all that helpful.
First you need to set your goals. Remember that this includes both
business and personal goals. For action planning purposes, list the
goals that need action in the next twelve months. Then, prioritize the
goals. For each of these goals, write down the action steps together
with start and end times wherever possible.
It is best to review the long-term goals quarterly to ensure progress and make any adjustments as needed.
You should do your planning weekly. Your appointments that have
already been fixed will be inserted into your planning document first.
Then review the activities of your previous week. For those that need
further action, update time slots into your plan.
Once you have taken care of the daily and weekly commitments, then
review your actions that you listed to achieve your goals. Insert those
that are planned to start in the week for which you are planning. In
this way, both short-term and long-term activities can be planned for
The magic of documenting your weekly plan is the first victory
towards actually getting down to action. When activities are not
committed to a plan, it is very easy to give in to urgent short-term
matters and ignore the important activities that impact your long-term
The next important step is to fix a time daily to review how you
have progressed. This can be the end of the day or early in a day. Make
the necessary adjustments based on the progress made.
The question now will be what happens to "to do lists". Instead of
having a "to do list" that never seems to finish, spread your action
items across the days. You will have an idea of how much time you have
left in a day, so that you can plan what you can practically finish
within each day. This way you can get a sense of accomplishment as you
complete your planned work, instead of the frustration of a
never-ending "to do list".
If you finish your planned activities for the day, you can always
pull forward actions planned for the subsequent days. If you cannot
complete, then when you do your daily review, make the necessary
adjustments to the following days to fill in these activities.
As you complete your activities, check them off. Indicate
activities that are transferred. Activities can also be dropped and
these must also be noted. There is a sense of satisfaction and control
as you carry this out in a disciplined manner.
You may think that this is very restrictive. What about priority
activities that come up during the day? When this happens, it makes
sense to do what is most important at that moment in time. When you do
your daily review, you then make the necessary adjustments to get back
With this organized method of planning, acting and reviewing, you
will find that you can get a lot more things done. Importantly, you
will also be working towards your long-term goals as well, instead of
just working on your day-to-day activities.
One other technique that successful people use is to include
affirmations in their daily life. An affirmation is a word or phrase
you use to remind yourself of the way you want to be. Examples of
affirmations will be "Celebrate Life" and "Do It Now". Affirmations
must represent something important to you. Repeat many times daily to
reinforce it. It is a good idea to write your affirmations on your
daily planning pages.
Why is this method very effective? Consider past actions, present
actions and future actions. Future actions can only be controlled
indirectly. Past actions are gone and totally outside your control. The
only thing you can control is your present actions. Others can
influence you but only you can control your action at a moment in time.
The only way then to optimize your time is to use each moment on the best possible action that you can be taking at that moment.