Time Management

I am beginning to get the hang of choosing the things that I want to accomplish and sticking with them. It is difficult to maintain focus and not let yourself be distracted. I have to constantly evaluate what I’m doing and how it relates to the short list of things that I am doing at any given moment. There is always someone trying to give you something else to do. You have to recognize these kinds of distractions and learn to dodge them.

I have made lists of the things that I want to accomplish. I used to make the lists and lose track of them. Some time later I would come across them again and to my surprise I would find that I had accomplished most if not all of the items on the list without even referring to it. I figured out that the act of writing the list in the first place helped me to establish my priorities.

I have also learned to keep a running log of what I’m doing at work. It serves two principal purposes. First, it is a reminder of what I’ve accomplished when someone asks me to report my status. But by far the more important thing it does is help me fight the distractions that tend to sap my productivity from time to time. All it takes is a glance to see that I haven’t made any discernible progress on my goals if I’m wool gathering.

Another thing that I’ve learned that wasn’t initially obvious to me. I set specific goals for myself. For example, I have a daily goal to write 1000 words in my journal. It is easy to figure out if I have accomplished the goal or not. Sometimes it is useful to have a clearly measured goal even if you haven’t been able to figure out a way to measure your greater goal. Measuring small accomplishments help you to feel like you’re accomplishing something and big, amorphous goals end up being accomplished, and perhaps even better understood, by accomplishing a lot of little simple, easily measurable goals.

These are all little tips that I have learned throughout my career. They are mostly common sense but it is surprising how uncommon common sense is. For me the motivation came from deciding to make the most of whatever time I had left. At sixty two, I have outlived my mother. My father made it to sixty five but I intend to break both their records. I also intend to be active for those years.

Decide what you want to do. Make a prioritized list. It doesn’t matter whether you refer to it once you’ve made it but you may find it useful. Make your goals specific and measurable. And don’t let yourself get distracted along the way.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.