How are you getting on with your New Year’s resolutions? Be honest! They’ve fallen by the wayside, right? Don’t feel bad – you’re not alone. Research has shown that 80% of New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned by February. Why? Often people throw themselves headfirst into resolutions, then lose steam as they’ve not implemented accountability or trackability. When it comes to business goals, they should be SMART:
- Specific: Identify exactly what you want your goal to be.
- Measurable: How will you measure your progress until the goal is completed?
- Attainable: Is it possible? If not, perhaps break it down into smaller goals.
- Realistic: Set a goal that is achievable – can it be done and how?
- Timely: Give yourself a deadline to keep you on track.
Time management can go a long way to help achieve goals, particularly the measurable and timely aspects. Here’s how…
It’ll help you meet deadlines
Without a deadline, there’s no incentive not to meander towards your goal – which likely means you’ll never reach it. With a deadline should come an action plan that will guide employees’ tasks throughout their working day. The action plan should have an ‘ultimate goal’, broken down into smaller goals/milestones so that the main objective seems more attainable. One step at a time, and all that. So, the ultimate goal might be to write a report by the end of the day. Break this down into smaller tasks – say, collate the data by 11am, analyze the data by 2pm, write the report by 4pm, proofread it by 5pm… be in the pub by 5.01pm. Incremental deadlines will help employees to manage their time more effectively and will motivate them to meet the goal within a specific timeframe.
There’s no thumb-twiddling
Employees should never be at a loss of what to do next. When a number of specific goals have been set within an organization, workers should know what to move onto once a task is completed. They are less likely to waste time as they will want to work towards their goal in a timely manner.
It allows you to be realistic
Time management can help you to set realistic goals. If on Monday you set yourself the target of following up with 10 potential leads in an hour and you only manage five, you’ll know that on Tuesday you should set yourself a lower objective. Consider your strengths and weaknesses when you allow time for achieving goals. Yes, push yourself to strive but there’s no point in setting yourself up to fail every day. That’s ultimately going to be demotivating. Be sure to prioritize your most important goals before embarking on the less crucial ones.
You can review goals
Workplaces should be dynamic. They should be ever-evolving and always looking to maximize success and productivity. Goal setting and implementing time management will help to achieve this. If goals are periodically reviewed, they can be adjusted as needed. Have goals been met within the timeframe allowed? If not, why not? Have priorities changed? Are your goals still relevant to your growing business, or should they be tweaked? Or changed entirely? Wasting time on irrelevant goals could prove detrimental to a business.
Troubleshooting can occur
By time tracking your progress towards a goal, certain problem areas might get highlighted. Perhaps it becomes apparent that you take way too long composing emails, or you don’t spend enough time checking in with clients. Everything you do – or don’t do – has an impact on your work and, ultimately, the company. Time management will help you to prioritize where to shift your attention. It could mean the difference between losing a client, keeping a client or landing a new one.
There’s less procrastination
We all procrastinate to some extent – sometimes the lure of that funny cat video is just too strong. Collectively, our procrastination has gotten worse. In the 1970s, only 4-5% of people considered themselves procrastinators; today, that figure has increased to 20-30%. Hardly surprising, with the birth of the internet – AKA the ultimate time-waster. But time management can help us to stay on track and procrastinate less. By sticking to a schedule we have made, it’s easier to follow that path to achieve the goal at the end, rather than wandering off into the world of Reddit or Instagram.
Focus is sharpened
It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘fire-fighting’ aspects of work life – dealing with problems as they occur rather than planning strategically to avoid them. But effective time management and goal setting can help you take a step back to see the bigger picture. Capture bigger opportunities. Spend time on the projects, tasks and clients that really matter. When you manage your time, you are taking control and boosting your focus to build positive, sustainable habits.
Stress will be reduced
Without setting any goals, it’s easy to feel like you’re chasing your tail. Working hard but not achieving anything. Which is stressful and overwhelming. Putting a time-management system in place will allow you to take stock of your situation, highlight the most important things you need to do in order to reach your goal… and breathe. With reduced stress will likely come more clarity and increased productivity. In turn, this should improve your work-life balance as you’ll have more time to focus on important things outside of work – family, friends, your golf swing… Balancing your professional and personal life reduces the risk of burnout and makes you a happier, more content individual.
You’ll be more productive
Effective time management means you can plan your day/week/month/year to increase your performance and productivity. More will get done in less time as you’ll be more organized and goal-oriented. Bigger and better results await.
It’s very easy to set goals; achieving them is another matter entirely. Poor time management is a huge stumbling block when it comes to reaching your vision. It can lead to disorganization, missed deadlines and anxiety. To accomplish your targets, you need motivation, willpower, ambition, dedication and zeal. You also need a kickass time-management system that will keep you on track and make you accountable.