If you feel like your day or week flies by and you barely have enough time to get through the things you have to do done, let alone the things you want to do (i.e. your goals and dreams) then you are not alone.
One of the main excuses I hear from people, as to why they haven’t achieved the things they want (or why they haven’t even started working towards them), is they don’t have enough time.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but you do. It comes back to the old thing, if you aren’t making time for your goals, then you simply aren’t prioritising them because you really don’t want it bad enough.
But, if it turns out you do have a goal you want really want, but really don’t know how you can fit anymore into your already very busy schedule then the good news is that there is a way.
And that way is to get really good at planning and scheduling your time, and then, most importantly, commit to honouring your plan. Do what you said you would do, each and every day. No excuses.
It’s sounds simple, but simple doesn’t always mean easy.
Most of the time, you have the time, but you choose to do something else with it instead. Something that’s easier or more comfortable than working on your goal.
It’s a trade-off. You can either choose temporary discomfort now, and work towards you goal, or you can choose the long-term discomfort of not ever achieving your goal. Which would you prefer?
Temporary discomfort seems like the obvious answer. Surely most of us prefer a little bit of discomfort now instead of long-term discomfort, right? Wrong!
When it boils down to it, most people will choose comfort now over working on their goals. That’s why so many people use excuses such as not enough time.
The best way to manage the excuse of not enough time is to:
- Get clear on your goal and set a due date for that goal
- List all the steps you need to take to achieve that goal
- Pre-empt your obstacles
- Schedule every one of those steps into your calendar/diary
- Honour your plan, every single day.
If you do this, you will reach your goal. Guaranteed. If you don’t do it, another month will pass, and you’ll be no closer to reaching your dreams.
If you are new to this and want to build this discipline (it is a discipline), then a great place to start is to pick a goal, something you can accomplish, that is due somewhere within the next 30 days.
Get clear on your goal and set a due date:
Pick one thing that you want to accomplish within the next 30 days. Either something you want to do or something you want to create. It could be a project at work, something around the house, the first milestone towards another goal or health and fitness related. What it is doesn’t matter. What matters is once you’ve picked it you stick with that goal.
Give yourself a deadline to achieve that thing within the next 30 days and make sure your it’s measurable. For example:
By [DATE] I will have [GOAL] and I’ll know it’s done because of [MEASUREMENT]
By [30 September 2019], I will have [completed the first chapter of my book] and I’ll know it’s done because [I’ve sent it to my editor for review].
Now, commit to this goal. (read more about being committed here)
List all the steps you need to take to achieve that goal:
This step is pretty self-explanatory. List out every single thing you need to do to achieve your goal. It doesn’t matter how big or small that thing is. And, it doesn’t need to be in order, just yet. Just brainstorm all the actions you need to take.
Pre-empt your obstacles:
For most goals, there are going to be obstacles. It’s inevitable. If there weren’t obstacles, you would already have the things you want.
If you can pre-empt your obstacles, and come up with a way to turn your obstacles into a steps or a strategies towards your goal, you’ll have a plan to manage them when they come up.
So, list out all your obstacles – the things that stand between you and your goal.
Next list out what you need to do to manage each obstacle.
Obstacles can be conflicting priorities, work you are waiting on from someone else, unexpected events that might arise.
Obstacles can also be negative thoughts about your goal and can result in you procrastinating. So, if you have any negative thoughts (it’s too hard, I can’t do it, what if I fail) you need to put those down as well.
Now, turn each of those obstacles into a step or a to-do and add it to your list of actions you did in the previous step.
For example – obstacles and their steps
Obstacle 1 – It’s too hard to write late at night which is the only time I have to do it. Step/strategy – I’ll get up 30mins earlier each morning too write the first chapter for my book.
Put timings against every single step:
Take every single action, step and strategy and schedule it in your diary or calendar, right up to the date your goal is due. This step is boring, it can take time and it can feel like you are too busy to do it but it’s worth it.
The way to do it is:
- Go through your list and put it in order
- Estimate how long each step will take
- Add it to your calendar with time frames
Don’t cram everything into the one day. Be realistic with the time you are allowing for each task. Also be realistic with what your other commitments are. If things tend to ‘pop up’, you need to allow time in your calendar for them. You also need to schedule in rest, break times, lunch times, etc. This way you are more likely to stick with your schedule.
Honour your plan every single day:
‘Discipline equals Freedom’ – Jocko Willink
If you’ve scheduled something in your calendar, do it when it is scheduled.
Honour your plan, no matter what. Will you want to make excuses? Probably. Will you want to do something else? Absolutely. But that won’t lead you towards your goal.
Will exceptions come up? They are bound to. But if you have been realistic with your timings and scheduled in times for rest, breaks, and those things that just seem to ‘pop up’, then you will have the time in your calendar to manage those exceptions.
Commit to completing your scheduled tasks on the day you scheduled them. If, for some reason, something doesn’t get completed on that day then it must, must, must be completed within the week you had it scheduled. This may mean you need to use your break times or your rest times or get up a bit earlier in the morning-whatever. Just do not let any task creep outside the week you had it scheduled in.
This final step is the key to fitting in the things you need to do to reach your goal.
If you can do this for one goal over the next 30 days you’ll not only develop the discipline required to get more done, you’ll also experience the satisfaction of reaching your goal.
You’ll experience, first hand, what happens when you honour your plan and realise you do have time for your goals. If you can commit to this process, you will reach your goals. Guaranteed.
So, go ahead. Pick a goal you want to achieve in the next 30 days and share it below. I’d love to hear what it is.
Then start planning and honour your plan!