Most of us go through the motions of life as if we are ‘window shopping’. When you walk aimlessly through the aisles of a department store or a shopping mall, you would have realized that you end up either buying something which you don’t need or get exhausted doing nothing and passing time. It’s another matter if your ‘aim’ or ‘goal’ was just that. Either way you realize that you do have goals in life – some clear and some unclear.
As in the case of window shopping, you might get completely exhausted with life if you walk about in a purposeless manner. It is goals which give us the much needed energy to wake up every day with enthusiasm so that we can accomplish something and grow in life.
Setting Goals is the key and doing it in all dimensions of your life can get you on your way to achieving a great sense of work-life harmony.
It’s not how much we do, but what we get done that counts most. Therefore, top time managers develop clear goals, and then focus on the activities that will achieve them. Clear goals are SMART goals. They meet several criteria: They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound and written.
Two Approaches to work-life harmony There are only two ways to approach time mastery and work-life harmony. You will either focus primarily on the results or ‘goals’ you intend to achieve, or you will focus on the activities or tasks you are doing. Of course, there is a relationship between goals and activities. You can’t do a goal….. you achieve it.
You ‘do’ activities. If you do the right activities, you will achieve the goal. Unfortunately our focus, most of the time, is on activities. In part because the goal is not always clear; in part because that is what we have learned to do. But, no matter the reason, there is a big difference between the two approaches. People who focus primarily on their goals tend to master their time use and accomplish a greater sense of work-life harmony.
Our Mind Is A Goal Seeking Device Have you noticed when you have dreams of possessing something and visualized it clearly in your mind, your eyes start to see that everywhere. For example you always had a dream car in mind to buy, you will find that very same car appearing all around you. On the streets, in magazines, in movies and so on. It is not any coincidence, but our mind gets so focused and tuned to what it has visualized that it will continually look for those things it is tasked with. Similarly, we find that when we have a particular design of a dress in our mind and go shopping for it, our mind discards all distractions of a million designs in the stores and keeps intense focus on what you have visualized in your mind. It does not rest till it gets it. All these go to show the importance of setting goals, visualizing it clearly in your mind and going ahead and achieving it.
Link Goals Together Goals should be related to one another. The achievement of daily goals should lead to the achievement of weekly goals; the achievement of weekly goals should lead to the achievement of monthly goals; and so on, up to long range goals. Be sure that your daily behavior and routine tasks, which are part of the short-term goals, lead to longer-term goals. It’s like your fitness goals. Suppose you had a goal of reducing some weight, your daily actions should be aimed towards achieving your weekly and monthly goals. It has to be one step at a time while being focused on the outcome. Of course, you can choose to reduce weight by undergoing a surgery – but that comes with huge costs – mental, physical and financial.
Develop Your Results Habit Focusing on results must become a habit. Setting goals, and striving to reach them, must become a way of life. Never make a phone call, or hold a meeting, or go see someone, without first thinking about what you hope to achieve. When you stop thinking about intended results, you risk getting bogged down in activities, which do not help you, reach your desired results. These are known as activity traps. Before doing something, ask yourself how is it going to contribute towards achievement of your goals.
Your Time Is Your Life The way you spend all your time defines who you are. To manage your personal life means asking yourself what kind of life you want to lead, what kind of person you want to be. Changing the way you use your time requires that you set some goals – goals about what you want to ‘be’ and ‘do’. Most people do not pursue specific goals. They simply shift from one task to another without any focus or purpose, naively assuming that things will take care of themselves or will be taken care of by others.
The things that people value most can be divided into eight broad areas of life: family, career, spiritual, relationships, money, health, personal growth, and leisure. Are you satisfied with the way you distribute your time across all these areas of your life? If you want to achieve work-life harmony, set some goals. Goals are powerful because they work.
Don’t Just ‘Window Shop’ Your Life Away!