Distractions are all around us. Most of us have our phones, which are our lifelines to the time-sucking (but addictive) websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Email. Besides these techno-distractions, we also have our spouse, vying for our attention, our children, our extended family members, all who want a piece of our time, plus our friends want to see us once in a while. Add to all that the 40-50 hours per week that you spend at work and it is easy to see why we don’t have time to achieve our goals – or at least why we think we don’t have the time. So, how do you solve these problems?
Start With Your Schedule
You might already have a schedule, but it is likely that you don’t include most of what you do during the day on it. For example, you might know that you have to be up at 6am to make breakfast and get the kids off to school, and be to work by 8am, but what I want you to do is make a schedule for literally everything that you do. You have a lot of people vying for your attention and time, but if you schedule the time for them, you will find that you have plenty of space to achieve your goals.
Let’s go back to Robert and his goals.
Robert somehow needs to find time to run a mile a few times a week, work out at the gym and watch what he eats. Robert is a typical American, as many of the people reading this book are bound to be, and has a wife, children, friends, a full-time job and other obligations. But Robert simply needs to move some things around to make time for his goals. This isn’t always easy, but it is achievable.
For example, since Robert works Monday – Friday, he could run on Wednesday evenings, and then on Saturday and Sunday. That should allow him to be able to shave off that 40 seconds that he needs to achieve his weekly goal by the end of the week. Robert also needs to cut down on his calories, or burn more through exercise. All Robert has to do is cut down on his food intake by about 625 calories a day, which is as simple as eliminating one Big Mac & small fries from his diet, or trading in that morning White Chocolate Mocha Latte for a cup of black coffee instead. As for the gym, Robert needs about 45 minutes, three times a week, to achieve his goal. So, if he can find 45 minutes on Monday, Thursday and Saturday evenings to work out for 45 minutes (even better if he has a home gym) and run a mile on Wednesday evenings and sometime on Saturday and Sunday, Robert will be able to achieve his goal.
You also can achieve your goal by doing the same thing. Figure out how much time you need to devote to your goals and make time for them. Squeeze them in however you can, but make them a priority. Then, I’ll explain how to eliminate the distractions of Facebook, Twitter, kids, friends and other obligations to make sure that you achieve your weekly goals.
Making Your Goal Time a Priority
If you know that if you don’t pay that traffic ticket by the end of this week, the fine will double; you will probably find the time to pay it, won’t you? Even if you have to go down to the courthouse and stand in line for two hours to pay the ticket, you would still find the time to pay it somehow. Your goals should be even a higher priority. While you may not always be able to work on them at the same time every day or week, they must be completed. Say it with me: They must be completed.
I suggest making a weekly checklist of what you need to do to achieve that week’s goals and hanging it somewhere where you’ll have to walk past it often, even if that means directly over the toilet in your bathroom. As you complete each item, check it off and make sure that everything is checked by the end of the week.
We’re going to take all of the time-sucking distractions and find out exactly how you can eliminate them from your goal time. Remember, your goal time is sacred. The check list must be completed, and that means that distractions are not allowed during goal time.
Facebook, Twitter & Social Media: This one is easy. Don’t bring your phone to goal time. You can use it whenever you aren’t working on your goals, but during goals time, your phone is not allowed. Neither is your tablet or matches and kindling (in case you want to tweet smoke signals). Nothing is allowed to interfere with goal time. Period. Obviously, I’m not going to add your computer and internet access to this list, because you may need it for whatever goal you are trying to achieve, but social media is not allowed during goal time (unless it is directly related to your goal). The only thing that you are allowed to do during goal time is complete what is on your checklist.
Kids/Spouse/Friends: Let everyone know that you are going to be doing X on Day Y and Z and that you cannot be bothered during that time. Lock the door if you have to, or complete the item on your checklist out of the house and away from everyone.
Other Obligations: You have church or charity board meetings? You have been asked to be a speaker at the Rotary Club? If it interferes with goal time then cancel it. You need to make sure that you make goal time and completing that weekly checklist one of your top priorities.
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