How do you harness time to achieve your goals? Are you open to some fresh ideas?

Aloha! Gaining control over one’s workday is challenging for all of us. But for anyone who works in a large, top-down organization where people often feel “disempowered,” achieving one’s own short- or long-term goals can seem near impossible.

But consider that you may have more power WITHIN such situations than you might think — and many opportunities to harness your time in service of your own goals and the goals of your team and organization.

Before we can harness time as a resource, however, we first must determine exactly what we want to achieve: what the time is FOR. As obvious as this sounds, we sometimes get so beaten down by daily demands and the agendas “imposed” on us by others that we don’t clarify and articulate our goals. Or we don’t take true ownership of the outcome. Perhaps we fail to align our key resources — people, time and money — in service of the goal. We may forget to monitor and communicate our progress continuously. Perhaps we need to regularly engage a coach or colleague — even a smartphone app! — to hold us accountable. In short, we lack a disciplined structure for following through. (See below: Roadmap for Disciplined Implementation.)

How do YOU rise above these common pitfalls and discouragements in your life? What techniques have you found effective? Where do you need more insight or support to take ownership and gain urgency?

Perhaps you’ve heard about Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret. Years ago, software developer Brad Isaac wrote about his conversation with the comedian, who told of using a large wall calendar, on which he’d draw a big red X for every day that he completed his daily task — in his case, writing for three hours. As the chain of red X’s grows longer, Seinfeld related, so does the motivation to keep it going. Isaac reflects: “I’ve used his technique in many different areas. … It works because it isn’t the one-shot pushes that get us where we want to go; it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes.”

I read about Seinfeld’s trick only recently, and immediately put it to use. It works! Over the years, I’ve relied on several other tricks that help me to set goals and work toward them faithfully. Two examples:

1. When I wake up each day, I tell myself what kind of day I want to have — what I want to experience, how I want to feel and what I want to accomplish. One goal I set early this year is to exercise daily for at least seven minutes. That’s a measurable and achievable target, and — while incremental — the impact over the long term is significant!

2. Every day, I write down my daily goals. No matter how long the list, the act of writing down seems to ensure that I’ll (usually) accomplish those tasks. On days when I fail to write my list, time seems to slip away.

I find it’s also important NOT to beat myself up when I fall short of my daily goal. We’re all human, and life happens: I may get sick, or someone takes up my time, or an emergency occurs. But tomorrow always brings a new day — brimming with the opportunity to start over to achieve my goals.

What tips and techniques can you share with us?

— Mutiu O. Fagbayi

 

Spotlight: Roadmap for Disciplined Implementation

Each of us starts each day with 24 hours, or 1,440 minutes. Achieving our objectives and desires involves using this time consciously — setting and executing goals, and avoiding wasting time by dwelling on the past or letting it slip aimlessly way.

Performance Fact’s Roadmap for Disciplined Implementation (RDI) outlines a strategic approach to getting more out of the time available each day, each week, each month and each year. The Roadmap is a step-by-step guide for aligning resources — people, time and money — with the priorities you have outlined for your organization, your team or yourself. Using professional practices and conscious use of time, the Roadmap offers school teams and leaders a “map” for accelerated student learning, and a “road” they can travel to realize those strong outcomes for all students.

While charting the course at the beginning of each school year — developing an instructional focus, annual action plan and implementation calendar — is vital, so too are the following implementation elements:

Weekly practices: Provide instructional monitoring, feedback and support; complete a self-reflection log regarding individual professional practices; and review the CPR (Continuous Progress Report) Card check-in process. (The CPR Card helps organize projects and action steps; monitor and communicate progress on priorities; and ensure consistent follow-through, accountability and celebration of successes).

Monthly practices: Strengthen knowledge, skills and effectiveness of principals and lead teachers through structured learning, coaching and support; promote professional development and collaboration; and monitor and improve the operations, climate and culture of the school, home and community.

Practices for each 6- to 12-week period: Conduct evidence-based community conversations (Data Summit); develop new 6- to 12-week instructional plans; and compile and analyze snapshots of key metrics (Vital Signs Scorecard).

Mid-year/year-end practices: Complete evidence-based reviews and celebrations; develop and implement an action plan for achieving a strong “win” on state tests; and conducting a comprehensive audit of your improvement plan.

Is it easy to achieve results? No. A great deal of focused, ongoing effort is required — first to plan, and then to implement and monitor. But without that discipline — those daily, weekly, monthly, yearly practices — many of your own and your team’s goals will go the way of most New Year’s resolutions — forgotten by Jan. 15.

For more information about the Roadmap for Disciplined Implementation or the other tools mentioned here, visit www.PerformanceFact.com,or contact us at 510.568.7944 or contact@performancefact.com.