According to several “success gurus,” planning is one of the most important tools used by those who continually achieve their goals. Of course, one has to start with goal setting. And after setting your goals for the year and month(s), those goals need to be broken down into specific tasks that you must complete by specific time-lines in order to meet the goals by your decided-upon deadlines.
In his book, “The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management,” author Hyrum W. Smith (founder and former CEO of the then, Franklin Quest Co.), writes about SMART goals. He defines SMART goals as those that are:
For me, I have learned over the years that I accomplish more in a day if I have previously planned my activities for that day. Of course there are some things that I plan well in advance and other things that occur every day or on the same day/time of every week. My practice is simply to sit down at the computer at the end of each day and enter into my calendar program each task that I need to accomplish for the following day, giving it the proper amount of time required.
I then organize those “appointment/tasks” into their overall order of importance and schedule them for the times throughout the day when I believe I will be able to work on each to complete them. I enter notes into each task/appointment of any of the things I need to complete that task including looking up addresses of where I need to go, directions, and things I need to complete prior to the appointment/task
Then, I sync my smart-phone up to my calendar program so that I have my planned list of to-do’s with me. My reminder on my phone will prompt me of the next planned event as the time nears. (Before I had a smart-phone, I would simply print out that day’s calendar to carry with me to meetings, etc.)
That’s my simple system for keeping things in existence for myself. Besides writing down your daily goals, you must implement some sort of system that will keep those goals in existence for you. Once something goes out of existence for you, you are sure to not complete that task. That’s why many people feel like they are always playing catch-up – because they don’t keep their schedules in existence for themselves.
Lastly, I gather up anything that I will need to complete my next-day goals. I don’t move quickly in the morning so I’m much more effective if I get things together in the evening before going to bed. I’ll pack my gym bag, get directions, paperwork/forms, coupons, or whatever it is I will need to complete my next day goals, and have them ready to go at a moments notice.
Although goal setting is one of the most important steps to achieving your desires, I would encourage you to, above all, allow for surprises to occur during your day. Look for spontaneity and other things that might require schedule negotiation but will fill your life with love and rich rewards. Remember, you may not always schedule in a call with a cherished friend or loved-one but that call may be the thing that completely makes your day worth your investment.