Sunday, April 16, 2006

Goal Setting Exercise

It was a great long weekend. Friday Elizabeth and I played bridge in the Toronto Regional duplicate bridge tournament. We came in 2nd in the afternoon and evening sessions although the results online seemed to indicate we were 3rd and 4th. Not sure how that happens. Still good solid games.

And then Saturday and Sunday, they weather was awesome. Although I had a couple of long workouts and a nice Easter lunch with family, I kick myself for not getting out more.

I did read a novel for a change so was quite a relaxing weekend. I am recharged and cannot wait to get in tomorrow.

I blog about efficiency and the reason for calling this CEO Blog - Time Leadership is Leadership is about going in the right direction (goals) so I thought I would share this in article.

A 60-Minute Goal Setting Exercise that can save you 100 hours in the next month By Jim Estill.

I think that most people would agree that the people who have goals are more successful than those who do not have any.

I often talk about leadership and management. Leadership is about doing the right things while management is about doing things right. Often when we study time management, we study efficiency (doing things right) and make the assumption that we have the effectiveness (leadership) solved.

The first step in any time management system should be to work on goals and as such, I use the following 60 Minute Goal Setting Exercise.

Step 1: at the top of a blank piece of paper write down "values" and then spend 10 to 15 minutes writing down everything that you value. There is a great website: that has a list of several hundred values to start your mind thinking in the right direction. After the time is up, stop doing this and move to Step 2.

Step 2: at the top of a blank piece of paper write down "lifetime goals". This is where you can dream; for example, what places would you like to visit; what experiences would you like to have; what would you like to accomplish within your lifetime. This might include traveling to Australia; getting a university degree; living in an X square foot house, etc. There are no rules to this brainstorming - simply make a list.

I have done this goal setting exercise many times and I tend to use the same list of lifetime goals and add to the list each time I do the exercise.

Step 3: at the top of a blank piece of paper write down what you would do if you had six months to live. This part of the exercise really came home to me this week when one of my close friends died at 36 years old. Some of us may have only six months to live; however, we may not know it yet. List everything that you would do if you had only six months to live. Part of the purpose of this exercise that I found works well for me is that it brings the truly important into focus. Often I find things that I would do if I had only six months to live that are not listed on my life time goals.

Step 4: at the top of a blank piece of paper write down your goals for this year. After doing the first three steps, you will find this step much easier than the others. These are the goals to focus on NOW.

This total exercise will only take an hour. An hour spent clarifying your goals can save you hundreds of hours.


At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your perception that a lot of time management just assumes that you have effective leadership.

One of the big flaws I see in Dave Allens work is that he claims that organizing from the bottom up gives you more time to focus on those higher level ideas. Unfortunately I think faulty high level ideas are the reason so many of us are busy in the first place.

What matters most must never be at the mercy of what matters least.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must admit Jim. I do struggle with the idea of 'saving time'.

Given times continuously tick at the same rate for everyone, and it's be unsaveable for later use.... are we not simply choosing to use our time differently?


At 6:36 PM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

Perhaps I should say be more efficient on the things you need to do (or feel you need to) so you have more time for the things you want to do.

This is where the goal setting comes in. What gives you the results you want. Spend your time there.

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

Just went through a goal setting exercise early( before new year's ) and found it to be a good time to focus.


At 2:29 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Sue Richards! Nice to stable upon a note you left our here on the Web before you left us. I have such fond memories of you and the times we spent together. Your time turned out to be shorter then you thought I suspect. A good reminder for us all. XO


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