Once you’ve taken the time to analyze your life and have decided which areas need change, it’s time to set about formulating your goals. For those of us used to a professional environment this will take an attitude adjustment.
In the workplace, typically and simplified, someone decides something needs to get done – and then assigns the proper amount of staff, time and budget to see it happen. Sure, there will be plenty of instances where you’re understaffed or your deadline is too short: and this will reflect either the quality of your product, or you’re going to break the deadline. A proper dialogue with your boss might get you the extra manhours you need.
However, in all changes concerning yourself, there is only one ultimate boss, team manager and team worker. You. You need to do all of the work yourself, and haggle with yourself for every damn paper-clip. You can’t supply extra energy or resourses from outside. All the work needs to get done by you – having a temp in to change your self-esteem won’t do a fat lot of good.
And how time do you have to devote to the project? Well, this is a fairly easy equation. You have 24 hours and all your energy and attention – minus any time , attention or energy you want to spend on anything else.
Have this is mind when you set your goals. Your time for working on project change will be limited. And buget for sick-days and those pesky times when all of the workforce suddenly has to attend a pre-school performance.
It’s imoportant also to keep in mind the distinction between time spent and energy spent. Lots of time we do one thing with out hands, while we think of something completely different. Which is fine, I guess. But when we try to actively think or feel about more than one thing at a time, we usually get in trouble.
If, for instance, you have a family, they’ll demand a fair share of your energy, and so will your day-job, and the minutiae of maintaining life. Personally, I don’t consider it fair to my kids to read them a bed time story with half my mind on tomorrows schedule, I want to give them my complete attention. And being too wrapped up in trying to figure out your daddy-issues is sure to affect your performance at board meetings, too.
Also keep in mind that any given bad day, when your sad or mad, will take its toll too. Any day when you feel you’ve ”failed” at working on yourself, devoting less energy to your project than you’d wished, will surely will turn in to a mad/sad day, creating an evil energy-sucking spiral. That’s why having a realistic idea of how much energy and time you can devote to the project is so important.
So what to do?
- Return to the energy pie-charts you made in the analysis phase, and to your weekly schedule
- Identify any activities and areas that drain your energy, and see if you can put them on hold or now. For instance, if you spend 3 hours a week on social media – perhaps that can be paused for the duration.
- Make a new pie-chart and schedule, leaving the areas you’ve decided to down-prioritize blank. If you decide to spend less energy on socializing, you reduce that slice accordingly and add to the blank slice. If you decide to spend less time watching TV, clear an hour a night in the schedule.
- Count the blank spaces: these are the amounts of time and energy you have available for the changes you want to make.
Ok, but surely some changes can just replace the activities already on the schedule? I mean, I have to eat anyway, so eating healthy won’t take any more time or energy? Sadly, I don’t think that’s true. Replacing existing habits with new, conscious choices will be hard work. Preparing a proper meal instead of slapping together a sandwich won’t take that much longer given you’ve chosen an easy recipe. But RESISTING THE URGE of reaching for bread when you’re tired and low will certainly take lots mot energy than just giving in to temptation. More on that next time, when we’ll look at part two of goal setting.