It's time to connect the dots on how goal setting and time prioritization, not just time management, can help us choose which habit(s) are the most critical to form or break with our own goals and journey.
These are all interconnected topics, and deep discussion about any or all of these concepts is probably warranted as we prepare for the months and years to come. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself, and those around you, to think about and discuss how all of these elements can help us thrive.
Where you are a year from now is a reflection of the choices you make today. --Jim Craig
Are you familiar with SMART goals? I was introduced to the concept many years ago by a friend in human resources. The below list is taken straight from the MindTools website describing what SMART goals are and how they can benefit you.
Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
For years and years, I've heard sales professionals tell me they want to improve their time management skills. And many have believed making better time management decisions and routines would be the one thing, maybe the only thing, they needed to magnificently catapult their careers to the next level.
I have often countered with asking if it's really time management they are after, or a broader or deeper discussion around time prioritization. We'll get to that in a minute.
First, let's go ahead and tackle the time management discussion. An entire industry, including books, tools, and systems, exists because people want to harness the often elusive goals of managing our days (and lives) better.
Harvard Business Review does an excellent job highlighting that time management is actually comprised of three components. And that one must pay attention to all three if success, not failure, is the desired outcome.
Eric C. Dierdorff calls out these three elements in his 2020 article on the topic:
Awareness: thinking realistically about your time by understanding it is a limited resource.
Arrangement: designing and organizing your goals, plans, schedules, and tasks to effectively use time.
Adaptation: monitoring your use of time while performing activities, including adjusting to interruptions or changing priorities.
Only in recent months have I given serious thought to all three of these categories. I used to concentrate my efforts on only one, sometimes two, of the three.
Allowing myself to really acknowledge that time is a limited resource came after I read Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. A phenomenal read. I highly recommend it be added to your books to read list.
Reading Mr. Burkeman's book on time management led to even more reflection on time prioritization.
And if you haven't yet read much from Harry M. Kraemer from Kellogg School of Management, it's worth it to do so today. He reminds all of us that we only have 168 hours a week, and how we choose to use those hours will determine our priorities. This brief article on the topic is a must read if you are seriously wanting to create new habits or break bad ones. As we need time, attention and focus in our days and weeks to even prioritize something new.
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. --Jim Rohn
Putting It All Together
It's time. Time to reflect on the three posts about habits. Time to decide if you are forming a new habit or breaking a bad one. Time to prioritize your choice in your day and in your week.
Maybe even talk to others about what might lie ahead.
This has to be an individual commitment. No one can do the hard work for you. And while it can be frustrating to stumble, knowing it might take months (not weeks) to make something habitual, it makes it easier to just take it day by day and keep trying and keep going.
Go for it! You've got this!