The truth is that the busier you get the more you need to plan carefully (and communicate clearly, especially to close associates) as it gets easier to lose sight of where you are headed.
As noted in my article How to Be Organized there is a huge discrepancy between what different people can achieve in the same 24 hour time period. Why is this so? I have observed that high achievers invariably have developed a personal organization system that works.
For those readers who have not yet developed or settled on a personal organization system, I include a few thoughts regarding what has worked well for me for over 30 years in leadership roles.
How To Schedule Yourself To Achieve Your Goals
- Write down some clear markers about where you would like to be in 10, 5 and 3 years just so you know you are heading in the right direction.
- Make your 1 year goals as clear as possible. See my recent article on The Art of Goal Setting
- Get yourself a one-year planner and divide the year into 4 x 90 days periods.
- Each 90 days set aside an afternoon to write out the steps necessary to achieve your top 4 – 8 main objectives for the next 90 days. Then schedule in blocks of time to work on those objectives in your diary leaving plenty of margins for life to happen.
- At the end of each 30 days take an hour to monitor progress and schedule the next 30 days in more detail
- At the end of each 7 days take 30 minutes to schedule the next 7 days
- At the end of each day take 15 minutes to schedule the next day.
As you can see scheduling is a process which starts with clear written goals of what you want to achieve within a time frame. Then you systematically work back from the goal to allocating appropriate time to perform all the steps required to achieve the goal.
In my experience many people have vague goals in their head (not written) and there is little correlatioon between their day to day schedule and achieving their goals.
Scheduling requires great focus and discipline which is why many people do not regularly achieve their goals until they hire a coach/mentor to keep them accountable to this process.
Some keys to scheduling:
- Clearly know your highest priority tasks are and do them first. These are the tasks that take you towards your goals.
- Only have one thing on your desk/screen when you have to focus on a high priority task.
- Don’t let other people set your schedule by wasting your early time on emails, phone calls, social media and other distractions. (Not before you have achieved a major goal or until after 11am!)
- Squeeze emails, return calls and social media into a designated time slot just before you have to be somewhere, so it is not open ended time.
- Leave at least 1 hour per day as a margin for the unexpected, so you can breathe and be early for appointments
Other than changing from a paper diary to electronic systems (synching outlook calendar on my smartphone and computer) I have found that something like what I have outlined here has worked for me over many years enabling high levels of productivity and fulfilment.
What do you find works? Or are you happy being delightfully disorganized?