What prevents most people from pursuing their goals is they think they don’t have the time. We’re all pressed for time, trying to cram more things into our days. But wouldn’t it be worth it to make time for something really important?
People often assume they don’t have the time to accomplish a goal without even knowing how long that goal might take. For example, how long do you think it takes to learn a language? People often say they don’t have time for that, but how long does that really take?
According to Rosetta Stone, the language software company, it takes 180 hours to learn a new language. The people at Rosetta Stone say the most effective way to learn is to practice 3-4 hours each week (or 30 minutes a day) and in about a year you’ll be speaking that new language.
Finding out how much time a goal really takes and then breaking it down into doable sessions makes it more attainable.
Time is a precious resource and sometimes we forget that we are in charge of how we spend our time each day. How do you think successful people get so much done? They plan every day. That’s different from having a to-do list. When they assign a time for something it’s not arbitrary – they look at what has to be done and figure out how long it should take. Then they schedule it. Planning your days is more efficient and frees up more time.
Another way to find time to do more of the things you want is to combine goals. You might be surprised at the goals that can be combined. For example, its commonplace now, but do you remember the first time you saw a parent jogging while pushing a stroller? Someone had the bright idea of combining those two – getting a workout while your child gets fresh air. We tend to put things in columns or categories and sometimes don’t realize they can overlap. We all know how much business is done on the golf course. Those two categories were combined long ago and continue to thrive together. You can combine exercise, volunteering your time and spending time with your family if you all signed up for Habitat for Humanity. You could coach little league, that would combine your desire to be a mentor with spending time with your kids. There’s almost always a way to combine at least two goals.
David Allen, the efficiency guru and author of Getting Things Done says the best way to save time is to group like activities. If you have calls to make, do them all in a row. They don’t have to be related because the calls are related by virtue of the fact that they are a like activity. That will save you time. Do the same for emails. Have certain times of the day when you’re going to catch up on your emails. Put all of your filing together and do that, all the reading together and do that. And for your reading, if you have a backlog of stuff, like magazine and trade pubs, if you can’t read the whole issue, just read the cover story. That’s usually the most relevant article in the publication and it generally takes about 10 minutes. You’d be surprised at how many 10 minute windows you might have in a day.
It’s important to find the time to work on the goals that matter to you. Research has shown that most people regret actions not taken rather than actions taken, regardless of outcome. Which is why it’s so important to go after what you want. Start working on your goal today!