Lesson 3 – Time Management

Setting Goals

Read any self-improvement book and you will learn that hard work, focused goals, and persistence are important, very important, in getting to where you want to go in life. Goals or targets are also an important part of managing your time. Ask yourself:

  • Do you set goals or targets?
  • Do you set goals for how much you want to accomplish in a given day?

SMART Goals

Most of us can’t hit a target if we can’t see it. Before you can develop plans, you have to know what you want to accomplish (your goals or targets); how you want to accomplish those goals or targets; what resources of time, money, and materials you have; and who will carry out the implementation. So set some targets for yourself, targets that you can see… and we’ll start the journey to reaching them. You know, most of us settle for much less than we can be. Don’t settle for that. It takes being willing to make changes, but we can change—we just have to want that change!

Many of us are full of ideas but short on taking constructive action to put those ideas into play. Maybe we try something once and then meet failure because we didn’t think and plan the actions through. But you know what they say about the lottery: “You can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket.” Well, the same is true in life: if you stop trying, you lose all chance of succeeding. Make a covenant with yourself that you will make an effort to put into practice the things we talk about today that will be of the most benefit to YOU.

And to make that covenant even more of a commitment, share it with a colleague, your spouse, or your supervisor.

How successful are you in setting goals? Do you reach the goals you set for yourself? Why? Why not?

In this lesson we are going to spend a bit of time talking about why you should set goals for yourself, and the best way to do it so that you have a good chance of reaching your goals.

Goals and objectives are the basis for planning. As the Cheshire Cat said to Alice, “If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will take you there.” And that is often how we approach life. We just live, and if we end up where we want to be, hey, that’s great. If we end up where we don’t want to be, hey, that’s life.

We can do a bit better than that, if we really want to. The first element in planning is knowing what we want to achieve, and the way we word our goals is the biggest factor in helping us achieve them. Lucky for us, some smart person has come up with an acronym to help us remember these characteristics. Goals should be SMART.

S = SPECIFIC

When we make our goals too general we aren’t able to visualise them, and if we can’t see them, we have a hard time devoting our efforts toward reaching them. We are more apt to do a good job of redecorating the bathroom if we have a picture in our mind of how it will look when it’s done.

M = MEASURABLE

If we can’t measure a goal, we have no idea how close we are getting to reaching it, and that can be de-motivating. For example, let’s say you have decided you will save some money from every paycheck in order to take a vacation this summer. But if you don’t set a specific amount each pay, and you don’t have an amount you want to reach, you are less apt to put the money away.

A = ATTAINABLE

We sometimes think that we should set high targets or goals for ourselves in order to grow and stretch. Well, we do want to grow and stretch, but if we set goals that aren’t doable, we soon get discouraged and we stop trying. The really high achievers in the world know this. They set goals that they know they can reach, with a little stretching, and when they get there, they set another goal they know they can reach. They climb the mountain one foot at a time.

R = RELEVANT

Goals have to make sense and have some importance, or they will soon be discarded. Set goals that make sense to you. (Another word that is often used for the R in this acronym is Realistic.)

T = TIMED

Put a deadline on your goals. Deadlines are great for getting things done.


You will also want to make sure that your goals have the three P’s.

  • Personal: There has to be a buy-in.
  • Positive: You won’t want to work towards if it isn’t.
  • Put in writing: Remember and can refer back to for all of the above.
Make them Personal.

You set goals because you want to reach them, not because your boss or your spouse wants you to. Without buy-in, you are wasting your time.

Make them Positive.

We can create negative energy by saying what we aren’t going to do, but the effect is more sustainable when we say what we will do.

Setting a goal isn’t enough, though. The next step is deciding how we can achieve that goal.

According to Brian Tracy, a Canadian who is doing very well as a motivational speaker and trainer, most people do not have goals. So if you do have goals, you are one step ahead of the pack. And if you have a strategy for reaching your goals, you are two steps ahead of the pack. The final thing I would suggest to keep you out there is to put these goals where you will see them often, to remind you of what you want to achieve.

Put these goals or targets in writing.

So everyone will remember them all the time and work towards them.