Your life is a sequence of big and small choices and decisions. Successful people know what they want, and they focus on how to get it. So, knowing what you want would seem to be important to time management. Goal setting is hard because you have to be able to see what you want. You have to see where you want to be in 6 months or a year from now. The problem is, life gets in the way. You can develop this beautiful vision of the future and a set of goals to realize that vision only to discover life. Life is not static and sometimes everything can change in seconds.
Making decisions is no picnic either. Almost any decision involves some conflicts. The difficult part is to pick one solution where the positive will outweigh the negative. Avoiding decisions often seems easier, and I see many people that have made that choice. Making decisions and accepting the consequences is the only way to stay in control of your time, your success, and your life.
OK, how can you do better in time management when it is so difficult? First of all I recommend being honest. Not being honest about what you want raises so many conflicts. For example, you decide that you want to spend time with your child after work but you run out of time doing work. Your goal was not to spend time with your child, it was to be successful at work. Now you waste time rationalizing why you chose to work. Alternatively, worse than that, you do not take any responsibility and say I “HAD” to work. Not making any decision or not taking responsibility for those you do make puts the blame on others. As long as it is not your responsibility you will never solve this problem.
My next recommendation is to make decisions based on what you want, not what someone else wants. To do that you have to have a good understanding of what your vision is, and you have to believe in it. Many of the people I meet have no long term vision. Many people have no idea what they want to do for the day. They are totally interrupt driven and give up control.
My third recommendation is to be flexible enough to accept what life throws at you. You need to be realistic and sometimes the rules change.
All the theory is great, but I also know that we need to be practical about all this. Over the years, I have learned that I do better when I set aside times for certain goals to limit the amount of conflict. So I may decide that my time at the office is defined and during that time my goal is to be successful at work. I then define a period to be focused on my child. Now I just need to decide if I am going to violate my defined times. Still a conflict at times however during the defined times I am focused.
Dave Favor is the President and principal in Catalyst Group, Inc. He brings to the table over 50 years high-level business and management experience, including time at IBM and as a private consultant to major Fortune 500 companies. Dave’s experience allows him to bring to the table a way of running a business that small business and law firms can strategically leverage. A teacher of self-mastery, leadership, and business principles, he is a believer in value-based living and working. Catalyst Group, Inc. is located in Raleigh, North Carolina and is known for its mentoring of small businesses and law firms.