Time management principles - You must have goals
Having goals is the essential ingredient in the formula of effective time management. Once we have a goal we give our plans deadlines and focus our strengths on desired targets. Just by the very setting of goals we actually begin a process within our psyche that helps generate the mental and physical energy to make us more productive. It’s ironic; someone who wakes up at 7am and is usually at their place of work by 9am might wake up at 8am (due to a faulty alarm clock) and still make it to work by 9am. The need to meet that goal created more energy. Having goals also keeps us focused so that we can finish our tasks well and become effective in our endeavours. It’s similar to the magnifying glass effect; sunlight can make a garden warm, but sunlight through a magnifying glass can cause a leaf to catch fire and start a bonfire. Goals also create motivation because they help us to focus on the benefits and blessings of what can be and overlook the struggle that may presently be before us.
So what areas in life should we have our goals? Life shouldn’t be just about setting regimental goals that make us achieve and produce stuff, but it should also be about setting goals that also allow us to enjoy life and share our love with others. After all God “…gives us richly all things to enjoy” 1 Timothy 6:17. Simon Phillips in his book ‘Time Management 24:7’ has an interesting suggestion of creating a life map where we can define our own life balance. He identifies four key areas to life in which we can Live, Love, Learn and Leave a Legacy. By considering these areas we can find our own ‘personal balance’ in life, particularly considering that each one of us is unique and has different goals and aspirations. Below I’ve outlined a summary of some of the goals we might consider in these areas:
If money was no object and you had the time to do whatever you wanted in life what would you do?
Travel – Where would you like to go? China? Hawaii? What cultures have interested you? What are some of the sites you’d like to see? Niagara Falls? The Pyramids of Egypt?
Health – How would you live to improve your health? Would you add more fruit and vegetables to you diet? Perhaps you would like to taste more of the world’s cuisines? Maybe you would like to join the gym? Or would you get a personal trainer?
Sport and Entertainment – Maybe you’re a tennis fan and would love to go and see Wimbledon. Maybe you would like to go to the Olympics or perhaps follow your nation through the World Cup. Who’s your favourite band or comedian? Is there a theatre play you’ve always wanted to see?
Accommodation – Where would you live? Perhaps a tropical mansion in Florida or a humble house on a mountain? What would you’re house be like inside? Would you like to live by the countryside or in the city? How about near a lake or by the forest where there’s lots of wildlife? Maybe you’d prefer an island?
Other things – What possessions would you want? Again this is deeply personal – we’re talking about what you believe is right for you, not what you think is right for someone else. What car would you like to drive? Maybe you would like to own a boat or an airplane? What about household furniture, books, jewellery? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to own a grand piano or a guitar?
This area is about relationships and the lives you want to touch.
Family – What kind of relationship do you want with your spouse? How would you like to spend that time? What about your parents, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren? How could you build your relationships? What hobbies and entertainment would you like to share with them? Do you know their deepest desires? What dreams do they have? Could you share those dreams and help make them happen?
Friends – We can’t choose our families but we can certainly choose our friends. Our friends are among the relationships we value the most. Which relationships would you like to build? Are there people that you value that perhaps could add more to your life? Whose life would you like to add to? Who could you maybe increase your social time with? What friends would you like to go on holiday with? Where would you visit? What special occasions would you spend with them? New Years? Christmas?
Others – Whose lives in the world would you like to positively change? Who do you feel that perhaps God has called you to? Have you been through experiences in which the knowledge could perhaps be a blessing to others? Maybe you’d like to help eradicate poverty from the lives of those in a developing nation? Maybe you’d like to share with others how God has changed your character and attitude. Maybe you’d like to help educate those that haven’t had the best start in life. Maybe you’d like to set up an orphanage for abandoned children?
We expand our capabilities by constantly learning. You’ll discover that most successful people have an appetite to gain the knowledge and wisdom that helps keep them above their game. Today we have an abundance of opportunity to learn different things. Two things to consider; what new skills or knowledge can you learn, and where can you learn it from.
What can you learn?
A new language – French, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Zulu, etc
Art and History – What significance has art and history had on our lives?
Cultures – How have and how do different cultures and attitudes shape our world?
Business skills – selling skills, accountancy skills, communication skills, public speaking skills, etc.
A new hobby or interest – chess, baking, painting, hang gliding, etc
Learn or improve upon a new sport – football, basketball, swimming, skiing, table tennis, etc.
Writing skills – maybe you’d like to improve your writing skills and become a journalist, novelist, teacher, etc.
Your faith – Perhaps you would like to understand more about the history of Christianity or who Jesus really is? Or maybe study the Bible more thoroughly to get more understanding on prayer, faith, love, etc.
Career – maybe you’d like to change your career and would consider studying at higher education to learn medicine, IT, architecture, engineering, drama, etc
Where can you learn from?
Internet – Today’s first point of contact for many, the internet puts you in touch with instant information through millions of sites and can point you to useful sources of other information.
Library – There are business libraries, historical libraries, public libraries, etc. They hold a wealth of information available for research and study including journals and periodicals.
Books – Books allow you to get focused info on the subject of your desire, whether it’s a hobby or interest, human biology, the latest technology or personal development.
TV – With the arrival of digital tv, television just gets bigger and bigger. There are an array of channels (e.g. Discovery Channel, 24 hour news), useful programs and documentaries to be found - but beware of programs that waste time!
Institutions – Universities, colleges and training centres provide both the people and expertise to help expand your skills or careers.
Seminar and exhibitions – Hearing live speakers and educated experts can be a very motivational and powerful experience.
Audio and video – Audio tapes, mp3s and cds are excellent for listening to teaching and learning new skills. Many people make their cars a library so that the time spent driving is not wasted.
Other people – People are among the best sources you could ever learn from. They can not only give you their expert knowledge in a field, but they also give you their first hand experience which in the long run could save you years of unnecessary toil and heartache.
Leave a Legacy
These goals consist of things that you want to leave for the world now and for generations to come. It is about what you want to be remembered for and how your life now can be a benefit to your children and the world.
Work – If you’re working you probably spend at least a third of your working week in your present place of employment…Why? Sure we all need money to exist, but are you working to live or living to work? Consider the work you would love to do if money, qualifications, your skill set or experience was not an issue. You may not be there now but having that goal will help you think about what you need to do to get there. What work do you want to be remembered for?
Income and Investments – Today jobs in big corporations guarantee nothing. What might be your alternative avenues of income? Rental Income? Your own business? Where might you invest? Who’s advice could help? Have you thought about your income after your working life – what will sustain you, your pension?After you have earned enough to take careof yourself have you considered how you might make a bit more to be a blessing to those in need or less fortunate? Wouldn’t it be nice to leave an inheritance for your children or even your grandchildren? After all God says that “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” Proverbs 13:22.
Charity and Community – How can you change the world for the better? Could you give your time to help missionaries or charities? Could you give your talent to help them? What about your knowledge? How could you improve your city or community? Could you help encourage the youth? Could you inspire people out of poverty or maybe into good health? Maybe you have influence to help transfer wealth or provision from one area to another?
Other Legacies – What useful memories or insight could benefit generations to come? Photographs, journals, memoirs all help to give a clearer picture of our current experiences to future generations. Why not keep a diary of your life as it progresses? You never know how it will turn out? Maybe you could have a biography written of your life? Maybe you could be a mentor to someone and pour your skills and experiences into them.
Take some time and begin to jot down the goals you would like to achieve in each respective area. Next week we’ll look at how we might begin to structure these goals into a map that helps our life and time to have more structure.
God bless and protect
Quote of the week:
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…” - Ecclesiastes 3:1