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Monday, January 7, 2013

Fitting your Goals into your Schedule

This is the week that makes or breaks most people's New Year's Resolutions. All your good intentions on January 1st could go up in smoke as the rubber hits the road with work and school obligations back in your daily schedule.

The only way you're going to actually achieve those goals you've set is if you find time in your days to do your goal-related tasks. This of course is easier said than done because most of us are already busy to begin with. Finding time for more tasks is a trick.

The good news is, thought and planning are all you need to fit in your goal tasks. Let's get started!

First of all, if you need some help setting your goals, click here for my helpful posts on setting your goals and what it takes to reach them. Especially look at my post on using the Plannerisms planner for goal setting, because it explains how to break your goals down from Annual goals to Monthly goals and down to weekly and daily tasks. You need to get your big-picture ideas down to actionable-today tasks.

Next, you need to figure out the best time to fit in exercise, reading, crafting, working on your e-book, revising your finances or whatever goals you've set. Check out Charlie Gilkey's Productivity Heatmap to find out what times of the day you function best for concentrated work, and what times you need to do less-concentrated work.

Now that you know when your highest functioning times are, decide which goal-related tasks you can do when. This requires an understanding of how long it takes you to do things. If you want make sure you have a clear idea of how long it takes you to do tasks, I recommend keeping a log of what you do each day and how long it took you. Most people are surprised that what they thought would take them about 15 minutes actually takes about an hour. Or they discover that the task they thought they were ready to do actually required other tasks first. You might want to read my post Goal, Resolution, Project,Task to help you break your goals down into ready-for-action tasks.

So now that you know what tasks need to be done, how long it will take you to do them, and what times of day you can best function to accomplish them, you're ready to start plugging tasks into your schedule!

Remember, any time you add new things to your schedule, you'll have to remove or reschedule whatever you normally do at that time. For example, if you want to exercise more, you'll have to remove the sleep/ computer/ tv or whatever you normally do at your chosen exercise time. If you want to be more social, you'll be spending less time at home so adjust your schedule accordingly.  If you want to write or read more, choose your time (early in the morning before everyone gets up, weekends, evenings) and clear some time for your chosen tasks.

Write your goal tasks into your daily schedule, and keep a record of whether you actually did those tasks each day. I designed the weekly pages of my Plannerisms Going Places planner to show you what your daily goals are and give you space to check off those tasks each day so you can easily see if you are accomplishing your goals:
If at the end of the week you don't have as many daily goals accomplished as you'd hoped, you may need to re-evaluate which times you've chosen to do them. If your morning or evening is already manic, you're not likely to fit in another task so don't beat yourself up about it. Go back to the planning stage and choose a different timeslot to fit in your goal tasks.

Don't give up on your goals! You can fit them in, even with an already-busy schedule. All it takes is planning. Schedule your goal tasks into your day, make sure you have adequate time to complete them, and do them at a time of day when you have the energy to focus on them. Follow this plan and you will reach your goals step by step!


  1. This is good advice, looking forward to using my Plannerisms planner for work, eagerly awaiting it's arrival after reading the Perpetual Student's post last week.

  2. You should go on a lecture tour Laurie - boy you could sell gazillions of planners at those events!

    1. That would be awesome actually, I would love to do that!

  3. My top goal at the moment is postman stalking as I wait for my plannerisms planner to arrive. Postman is getting rather suspicious I fear!


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