Successful goals are the ones we believe we can achieve if given enough time and energy (resources). I was reminded of that this week as I finished up my readings for class.
We really need a system in place to track our time. Countless books and articles address the myriad of ways we waste, lose or have stolen from us the time to do the things that are really important to us. I felt this article did a good job of supporting some of the other items I have already talked about when it comes to being goal achievers.
The first thing we want to do when we are looking at managing our time better is to see how we are already spending our time. Honest observations. When we fudge a number here or there we are only lying to ourselves. We have to know how we spend our time and for how long we work on a project to honestly see where we can improve.
For me the hardest lesson was when I went back to school to become a teacher. I am such a procrastinator, waiting until right before the assignment is due and rushing to finish. When I actually timed myself doing one of those rushed, last minute assignments I was shocked at how long it had taken me. As I started to allot time everyday leading up to the assignment to work on it I noticed my work was more thoughtful, my anxiety levels were lower and at the end of the week I didn't need as much time.
CRAZY RIGHT! The same work took less actual time to complete (better) when I planned for it. It was an amazing lesson and I still struggle with it.
The second thing the article talked about was using that data to categorize our activities and determine where they feel in terms of importance. I like the below image because it has a limited amount of options (only four categories) and when you get used to using it you get better at identifying in real time the non-urgent, not important time wasters.
In terms of the course readings of Lankshear and Knobel (2007) I think the biggest take away was that there needed to be time for exploration. When I was trying to mash my two songs together I used youtube videos and social media cites to ask friends for help. When we are trying a new pursuit we need to give ourselves extra time to explore, make mistakes, get frustrated, take a break, and come back. That's a lot of emotional commitment and in order to make sure it sticks or we don't get discouraged we need to take baby steps. We also want to create the right balance of struggle with success otherwise we will find ourselves mediocre in two dozen applications and a master of none.
Which leads me to my concluding thought: How do you __________? One step at a time. For a variety of weird personal reasons I like the mantra "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." because it is true. How do we create a powerful Ted Talk? One slide or notecard at a time. How do we lose weight, one calorie at a time. You see, it really can be used for anything. But as we decide on what it is we would like to spend our time doing we can look at the big picture like the elephant and our priority diagram as the small bites. To make that smash up I needed two songs and a program to mix them together with so those things would have been in my important and urgent box because I can't do anything until I have them.