Time Management and Goal Setting

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Live Your Priorities - Best Practice

The first step in prioritizing is to identify the “first things” in your life by prioritizing your projects and tasks. The second, and often the hardest, step is to actually live your priorities.

It doesn’t do any good to write ‘A1’ next to an important project and then spend the rest of the week working on other less important things, or saying that you are going to make exercise a priority but not scheduling any time to exercise. To live your priorities by prioritizing you need two things.

First, you need a system that can help you determine what is the most valuable use of your time throughout the day, helping you face distractions while remaining focused on your most important tasks. The time management best practices work together to establish just such a system.

Just because you’ve thought about your priorities and prepared a schedule doesn’t mean that life will cooperate with your plans. Unexpected things will happen; your plans will require adjustments as opportunities and challenges present themselves during each day.

The key is to recognize when an unexpected event, interruption, or opportunity really is a “first thing” so you can reprioritize around it, and when it is just a distraction that should be ignored or postponed to a more appropriate time.

Pause to Think before You React

An essential step in living your priorities is to pause when you have an unexpected event or interruption and recognize that you are about to decide whether it is a “first thing” or not.

Instead of just reacting to the unexpected based on your immediate needs and pressures, you can pause to make a conscious choice based on a longer‑term perspective, taking into account your mission, goals, and guiding principles.

Your power to consciously choose how to react to the unexpected events and circumstances around you lies at the very core of effective time management.

Use Questions to Put You Into the Right Frame of Mind

Questions have the power to instantly refocus our attention to what is most important and valuable. There are several questions you can use to help you find the answers you seek (see Five Power Questions best practice.) The right questions to use will often depend on the particular circumstance.

Do the Right Thing

The final step is to have the courage, integrity, and character to do the right thing in spite of the pressure and urgency you feel.

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