The game of life has some rules that we all have to play by. The first rule? Time is fixed, finite. Every day has 24 hours, every year has 365 days (kind of), and every life has a specific quantity of those hours and days and years.
About 46% of people who have taken the Serial Winner Test feel that time and money are the big obstacles to goal achievement. A hint: they’re not. But as we move from one year to the next (Happy New Year!), we sure do talk a lot about time—how fast the last year went, how we can’t believe it’s already 2016. What we’re really thinking about is how we’re using the time—what we wished had happened last year and what we hope will happen in the coming year.Stop wishing and hoping and do something to make big things happen this year! Click To Tweet
When I think about how to create a win, I always ask, What systems do I need to use or build to make this project or idea successful?
If the number one rule of life is that time is fixed, then the most important system anybody can use is a schedule.
One action isn’t going to get you where you want to go. It takes a process. Having a system—a schedule—removes the guesswork about how you will make it happen. It’s the only way to improve your time management.
Give yourself the best gift you can for 2016: the gift of a definite schedule designed around your big goals. Use these 5 ideas as a starting point.
1. Choose a Calendar You will Actually Use.
Maybe you already use an electronic calendar that you like. Or maybe you need a wall calendar to give yourself a visual reminder of your goals and plans. Whatever you choose, make sure it will work for you.
What do you know about how you operate best that can help you choose the right tool for you?
2. Establish 1 to 3 Exciting Goals for the Year.
Every success begins with a decision to go for what you want—and the internal motivation that comes along with it. What do you want this year? Be specific and definite. And don’t make it a laundry list. You need just a few big things to prioritize. For more on this idea, read this post on focus.
3. Ask, “Where Will I Find the Time?”
Every new goal requires room in your schedule.
Want to read more? Where are you going to find the time? Want to exercise more? Where are your going to find the time? Want to hit a big career goal? Where are you going to find the time?
Most people think of that question as depressing or a sign of being overwhelmed. If you say it in your head often enough, it might sound like a wail: “Where will I ever find the time?”
Take control! Don’t wail. Ask it as a serious, useful, practical question: “Where will I find the time?” Because until you have a real answer to that question—a workable plan for your schedule—you won’t make the time. And you won’t succeed.
Finding time means either saying no to some things currently using up hours in your schedule—by delegating, outsourcing, or by simply cutting something out of your life—or getting more efficient at things that have to stay on your schedule. Look closely at where you are currently spending your time on things you have to get done and figure out how you’re going to reallocate it to things you want to get done.
4. Set Your Milestones.
You can’t hope to develop a day-by-day, exacting plan that you’ll follow. Things come up. You’ll have to adjust along the way. Instead, create milestones. It depends on your goals, but I would probably recommend creating milestones for every quarter and every month.
Write them on your calendar! Remember, this is about scheduling. Your calendar reminds you of important appointments and events in your schedule. What’s more important than your big goals for the year? If you put your milestones on your calendar (however you need to do it so that your next milestone is always visible), you’ll be more able to keep your schedule clear of distractions that can crop up.
5. Plan Your 90-Day Blitz.
Overdoing it at the start is one of the fundamental actions I wrote about in Serial Winner. For every week in the first quarter, write down what you’re going to do to get off to the strongest start possible.
Be realistic, but push yourself. You have the most energy at the start of anything new. Take advantage of it. Create momentum and confidence with lots of success in the first quarter and you’ll improve your chances of hitting the rest of your milestones. For more advice on a successful blitz, read this post.
For the rest of this month, I’ll be writing more about how to set yourself up for success this year. Be sure to follow along to give yourself every advantage!