#WorkSmarter Series – Developing a Positive Routine
There is critical work we must complete to move us toward our goals. A college degree won’t be achieved unless we attend school. A novel won’t be realized unless we sit down to write. And your goals, whatever they are, won’t be reached unless key steps are taken to move you forward. Before we can add these steps to your routine, we have to determine the specific elements of your critical work.
The first step is basic: name your goals. Take a sheet of paper and list them. Be sure to include items covering both your personal and professional targets. If this isn’t an easy step for you, take some time. Consider where you would like your life to go. Imagine your world both at work and at home. Now, write the goals you’d need to live that life.
Next, list the steps it will take to reach these goals. Here are some examples:
Goal #1–Pass the Professional Engineering exam before my next review.
Determine Your Critical Work: There’s a test prep course I can take that meets Tuesday nights for 8 weeks. I need to
- register for this class.
- block out Tuesday nights on my calendar.
- schedule 2-3 hours per week of extra study time.
Goal #2–Have a better relationship with my grandchildren.
Determine Your Critical Work: To start, I can
- talk to my son and daughter-in-law to see what suggestions they have.
- set aside time in my week for outings or babysitting so I see the grandkids regularly.
- make a point of asking the kids what their interests are and learning about these areas before I see them the next time.
Goal #3–Grow my client base by 20%.
Determine Your Critical Work: To do this, I need to
- brainstorm ways to gain new clients.
- break the brainstorm ideas into actionable tasks.
- schedule these tasks on a weekly basis.
- track the results of these methods to see which ones work best.
Things to Note
- Each piece of critical work listed above begins with a verb—register, schedule, talk, brainstorm, etc. By outlining your steps in action verbs, you’re readying yourself to take action.
- Reaching a goal is not always clear-cut. It’s easy to know when you’ve passed the Professional Engineering Exam. You have the certificate. Achieving other goals is subjective. Only you can decide if your relationship with your grandchildren is better or worse. Regardless of how accurately a goal can be measured, you’ll move closer to reaching it when you consistently study your target and act on what you learn.
- Adjust your steps as needed. We may want to get closer to our grandkids or increase our client bases, but do we really know the right actions to make these happen? This is when trial and error is important. Start with steps that make sense to you, see what works, and modify accordingly.
Making It Work – Take time to list your goals and the key steps needed reach them. Don’t try to work these activities into your schedule, yet. We’ll handle that next week. For now, simply remind yourself of what’s important to you and why.