Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Custom Moleskine Planner & iPod touch
Custom Moleskine Planner & iPod touch (Photo credit: Mike Rohde)

In the last couple of entries I talked about the importance of goals, what they should include, and how to set them. Today, I am going to talk about something that goes hand in hand with goals and that is scheduling. When I talked about setting goals I mentioned that you needed to find the system that works for you when setting goals and that goes for creating a scheduling system also, and frankly I have to admit that finding a scheduling system that works for me has been difficult.

It is not scheduling itself that has been difficult but finding a system that would fit my needs. Despite all the modern electronics that are designed to make scheduling easier, I just have not found one that I like. I started by using a software program that created schedules but then realized that Microsoft Outlook basically did the same thing. While Outlook worked for a while, I hated having to getting on the computer to check my scheduling. I know that modern cell phones can also but I quickly realized that I liked having something I could look at more thoroughly than a phone.

After deciding that a software program wasn't working for me I started using an planner that my wife had laying around that was given to her by an old boss. I decided I like the idea of the planner and having it written down so I can see it all the time but this particular planner was very large ringed binder that took up a lot of room and weigh a lot and I already have enough to carry everyday so I decided to start using one of the spiral bound planners that come out every year.

While I have been using the planner on regular basis I couldn't get a system down that I really liked until I saw what one of my friends did in their planner. This person has their planner neatly organized plus has different colored sticky notes for important things and highlights important things in the planner. This gave me an idea that I have started to use in my planner.

The first thing I do is to put in all the important dates that I have coming up into the planner. For items such as important projects that are do I go through the book and put reminders in at weekly intervals that the project is coming up and then I highlight them with green if they are more than 3 weeks out, yellow of they are one or two weeks out and red for the day that they are due. This way I have regular reminders that I have something coming up so that I can be working on it and have it done before it is due.

This coming year I am making one change and that is going from a weekly planner to a daily planner due to the increased commitments and the importance of having things scheduled in a more detailed fashion. As I said before this is my system and you need to find a system that is going to work best for you so good luck.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Setting Goals

Crow Peak summit. Chugach Mountains, Alaska
Crow Peak summit. Chugach Mountains, Alaska (Photo credit: Paxson Woelber)

In the last posting I went over the essential elements of a good goal. Today I will go over how you go about setting goals and the different time periods affecting goals. This is the system I developed that works for me but you must find your own system but this gives you the essential elements. What is important is to establish a system that will work for you and one that will motivate you to continue with goals and make them a part of your everyday life.

Every little goal is a stepping stone to your big goals so I start off with the big goals, sometimes called you life goals or I have also heard them called your a life value statements. Sometimes these big goals will be a long range goals but most of the time long range goals are the final stepping stone to your life goals. These goals are often times the hardest to follow the rules of goals because they are so far out but are important because they create the big goal that the little goals lead up to.

I would not suggest trying to write down these goals in one setting, instead take some time, maybe an extended period of time to really figure out where you want to be in 20 years, 30 years or even longer. We have become such an instant gratification society it is often hard to think that far into the future so don't worry if you have a hard time coming up with them right away.

It should also be noted that these life goals will also be the most flexible and changeable of your goals. While you would like to think that once you set your goals they are going to be in stone and that is what is going to happen, but in reality there is many things that can change your long range goals. That is not to say that there is something wrong with your life goals, on the contrary they are an important element of helping you achieve but we change as people so our goals may change as well. There are many things that change our perspectives on life including finding true love, death of someone we care care about, or realizing that the goal is truly not what we are looking for. Just don't let these life changes stop you from setting goals.

Each goal under your life goals are stepping stones toward that life goal and that is why you want to start off with the life goals because the rest of them are going to work up to that life goal. The next set of goals is your long range goals. As mentioned above sometimes it can blur between your long range goals and life goals but long range goals should be goals that are longer than five years out that work toward your life goals. For example say your goal is to have substantial savings for retirement, a long range goal would be to have your mortgage paid off in say seven years which is a step toward that life goal.

Next up is your medium range goals which are from one to five years out. As you can probably figure out by now these medium range goals should be stepping stones to your long range goals. To continue the idea from the long range goals, a medium range goal could be to have all debts but your mortgage paid off in 24 months.

As you probably already figured out the next step is your goals of one year. I set these during the month of December for the next year although sometimes things can get added during the year. I then set monthly, weekly and daily goals. Your weekly and daily goals will most likely have items on there that do not directly relate to your life goals but are things you need to get done but in the long run will benefit you achieving your life goals. I will often end up with about 30 to 35 items on the weekly goal sheet although only a handful actually fit neatly into my life goals although any goal can indirectly be tied in.

On your daily goals you may want to try scheduling things by time in order to get everything done however that has not always worked well for me. I do better by just having my list of goals for the day and checking them off as I get them complete. What I will do is prioritize my goals for the day by listing them by A's for the biggest priority, B's for medium priority, and C's for the lowest priority. Being a C doesn't mean something isn't important but is not a priority. I then break down each letter by priority and assign them a number from one on. While these may seem like it would take a lot of time to do, time that you could be using to achieve those goals, I have found it takes only a few minutes and it allows me to prioritize my day better.

Now you have the basics of setting goals. As I mentioned before this is designed to be guide to get you started but you need to tailor the system to work best for your personality so that you will stay committed to make things happen.

Good luck and set some goals.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Elements of a Goal...Part 1

The Mid American Stock Car Series flagman wavi...
The Mid American Stock Car Series flagman waving the checkered flag at the end of a series stockcar heat race. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
goal (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

My last couple of blog postings talked about goals and the ones that I am trying to achieve this year so I decided that it would be good to go over what a goal is for those of you that are having trouble getting started or working toward those important things in your life. Today I will go over what a goal needs to contain and next time I will discuss the different types of goals and how to set them.

As I mentioned a goal must have some critical ingredients and I will discuss each one of these one at a time: specific, have a time limit, be written down, achievable and challenging.