You have a Plan, the “how” of reaching your big bold goals, but you need the “when,” that is scheduling the work to be done.
A close friend and mentor of mine once said, “Having a schedule always works!” It’s not enough to have a plan. You now need to figure out how to address extra effort into your busy day to day schedule.
Stephen Covey was a time management expert that many of you may have heard of. He talked about the strategic effort of working on long term goals as something that is always “important but not urgent.” Think about the term “important.” This is the work of your big bold goal. It is important but, not as urgent as getting those requests from your boss handled or spending time to rescue a project in trouble at work. Those are urgent. The work of a big bold goal rarely is urgent.
So how do you find the time to address the non-urgent, longer-term priorities of your career and life? I say you make the time happen with determination and scheduling.
A big example for me is writing. As you have probably noticed, I love to write. My goal is to write an e-book. However, try as I might, I can never seem to find the time. This is definitely a big bold goal for me.
Recently, I started blocking time on Thursdays to write, and to address my business development as an entrepreneur. I had always tried to make it Friday, but things would always get in the way. I have changed it to Thursdays and while I’m still available for a few clients, for the most part, this is my day to work on important-but-not-urgent big bold goal efforts. Turns out that Thursday may just be the perfect day for me, so far.
With the urgent items taking up most of our day, you have to be mindful of the important-but-not-urgent.
This is your future. This is the strategic effort that will lead to achieving your goals.
Think about how you plan your day. Do you take the time to prioritize items for the day? Is all of it important and urgent only? Most of us react to the urgent…these usually require little planning…it’s the busyness of every day. Yet, our big bold goal actions require planning as important-but-not-urgent. How do you address the important-but-not-urgent?
Stephen Covey has a famous video on how to fit everything into the day. I highly recommend taking the time to watch this 6-minute video. It drives home the need to schedule your “big rocks” first into your day. Stephen Covey Big Rocks Video.
What I love about this video is how it stresses that the important and urgent tasks will always win out, and a fair amount of procrastination will as well. Where you want to address your actions for the big bold goals is in planning for the important-but-not-urgent.
Some planning techniques include:
1. Schedule time on your calendar in advance to get the tasks done. I like to block time out in my calendar for certain work. This allows for any interruptions that may appear but still keeps you focused on the strategic actions you need to take.
2. Resolve to make incremental progress every day. If you have a task like “Gather all of my old performance reviews” broken out, say from the bigger step of “Update my resume,” you can resolve that for today, you will find at least 2 performance reviews. You want to break it down to doing the smallest amount of effort to feel that you’re making progress toward your goal.
3. Adopt a trigger to help you do the actions. For example, most of us don’t think about brushing our teeth any longer…it gets triggered by a meal or first thing in the morning or before you go to bed. You can set a trigger for your goal to work in the same way. Say, first thing in the morning, every morning, devote time, or last thing in the evening before you leave work or finish dinner. The outside event will trigger what you need to do.
4. Allocate an extra hour in your day…either start work earlier or leave later, or adjust to doing the work at home, depending on the goal. I once found that getting to work an hour earlier to work on these goals was an effective way to start the day.
5. Resolve to stay true to your commitment. Set a daily or weekly goal on the action you’re taking.
6. Reward yourself for the progress you’ve made. Working on longer-term goals is like a workout program. You may not see immediate results, so a small reward can encourage you to keep going for the longer term.
7. Share what you’re doing with others. It helps to build accountability and persistence.
A long term goal can seem like a journey. Be sure you pack and plan what you need in advance. These planning techniques can help.
Look at planning time to work on the important-but-not-urgent strategies and tactics of achieving your career goals. It’s time invested in you and your future. Find a way to make it happen every day.
Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.
For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com