Taking Steps to Achieve Your Goals

Because actions come from attitudes, increasing productivity may require reshaping some of the attitudes that now dictate how you use time. Consider these time use practices that affect productivity and see how attitudes are involved:

  • Concentrate on high priority activities. The quickest and most effective route to increasing productivity is to spend time on tasks that advance important goals. Make certain you spend your time on work that really matters; otherwise, you may be completely consumed by trivial details. Hours may be spent solving problems that can be solved by others. Respond to concerns expressed by various team members through empowering them to solve their own problems. This approach saves you valuable time and gives others the opportunity to develop commitment, a sense of ownership, and skill to solve significant problems. Help others spend their time on their high priority activities, and concentrate your time and effort on high priority activities that lead to the achievement of your goals.
  • Exercise self-discipline. Self discipline enables people to stay focused on a task and work on it until it’s complete. Establish your priorities and then refuse to let distractions, interruptions or happenings of the moment destroy your concentration. Discipline yourself to give tasks only the amount of time and effort they truly deserve from you, or delegate them to other appropriate team members. Either alternative requires thoughtful evaluation and consideration – and conscientious self-discipline. Perfectionists especially must learn to exert the self-discipline to delegate selected jobs to someone else who may not do the job quite as well as they would but who can still meet essential quality standards. How else will another learn to perform this job? In such cases, perfectionists must learn to accept less than perfection in the interest of increasing the contributions of others, creating new opportunities, and maintaining overall effectiveness and productivity.
  • Be persistent. Careful planning and goal setting, determination to achieve, and recognizing the benefits of reaching a goal are all vital to personal productivity. This combination of factors enables one to be persistent, and persistence is always characteristic of the successful individual. Many people eagerly take on new jobs, new responsibilities and new assignments, starting with a great splash and making quick progress, but they soon lose momentum, never finishing the job. In contrast, productive people set definite goals, plan carefully, and concentrate their attention on the action required to meet each goal. Persistent individuals keep their goal in mind and work tenaciously toward it until they savor the success of achieving it.
  • Get started! The best way to guarantee completion of a project is to get started on it – now! Two reasons account for failure to accomplish important jobs – people either never start or they never finish. Both of these unproductive time patterns fall under the debilitating umbrella of procrastination. Several patterns of faulty thinking account for most procrastination. Following these guidelines will enable you to avoid these pitfalls: • Begin on required work and continue without relying on “feeling like it.” Getting started is often the most difficult part of a project; once begun, “inspiration” often follows. Thomas Edison, the famous American inventor, put it well when he said, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” • Face the fact that some jobs will never be “easy” – now or later. Break the job down into logical steps to make it more manageable at each stage. Get started on the job, working in a systematic method, and you will enjoy a sense of mastery that enables you to complete the job!
  • Strive for results – not perfection. Overemphasis on perfection nearly always renders negative consequences – immobilizing fear of making mistakes, discouragement, and preoccupation with what others think rather than genuine productivity. Productive people distinguish between what is important and what is not. They set aside a reasonable amount of time to accomplish a specific task; then they stick to their deadline. They recognize some tasks simply are not important enough to lavish too much time or effort on them. Even on genuinely significant projects truly productive individuals simply strive for results – not perfection.

Goal setting enables you to identify the accomplishments most important to you, to establish priorities, and to put into action the steps required to reach your goals.

Leadership Management® Institute
Reprinted with permission
Strategic Essentials is a Managing Partner for Leadership Management® International, Inc.

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