Know The Steps To Achieve Goals Before Committing Time
Time Management Skills Series: Skill 06
Back in 2001, I started creating databases in Microsoft Access. The first database was designed using the built-in wizards to create an inventory capture tool.
It wasn't fancy.
It didn't automate any processes.
It simply allowed me to enter the inventory using an form.
The cool thing about built-in wizards, as it relates to this lesson, is the step-by-step approach to creating the end result.
The step-by-step approach is important for a number of reasons.
- It required me to decide the outcome before I started doing the work.
- It required me to choose the right process to create this outcome.
- It required me complete the work in stages (driven by prompts for the requested information).
- It required me to enter the information after the structure was complete.
- It required me to generate a report to present the information in a useful format.
Today, I rarely use the built-in wizards. I understand the steps to achieve goals using databases and have become my own wizard. And you must follow a similar structure to become proficient at following a series of steps to achieve goals systematically.
Below are the 5 reasons restated as the achievement process you will learn about today:
- Decide the Outcome.
- Choose the Right Process To Achieve the Outcome.
- Complete the Work in Stages.
- Provide the Essential Input.
- Create A System That Answer Your Questions.
Decide the Outcome
The outcome is your question(s) answered. You want to know something that you currently do not know.
It can be as simple as, "How do I create an outline for the book I want to write?"
Or as sophisticated as, "How do I build a company that publishes the book I want to write?"
Whatever the case, the question that you ask represents your goal in its achieved state.
The next step is to discover the answer.
Choose the Right Process To Achieve the Outcome
In the world of computers (whether it your laptop, iPad or cell phone), outcomes are created by three things working together in harmony.
- Hardware - This is the machine and its ability to process a request or deliver you answer. Some machines are faster and more powerful than others.
- Software - These are the ultra-specific instructions given to the machine on how to get the answer and deliver it to you in a useful format.
- You - The hardware will not work unless you know how to power it ON. The software will not give you answers if you do not know how to ask. Every software program or phone app has a learning curve. Choosing the right software or process to achieve your goal, depends of your proficiency, as well as your ability and willingness to learn.
Complete the Work in Stages
Great outcomes take time. Because you live in a world with other people, you have responsibilities beyond your goals. This lesson is about knowing the steps to achieve goals before committing time.
Because you can't get time back, once you wasted it. Every minute counts. To ensure that you waste as little as possible, there are tools that allow you to protect and maximize your time.
For instance, our Daily Schedule Template allows you to allocate your time in 15-minute blocks, throughout the day.
Our decision making process - the 7DS VISION Framework ™ - helps you create your life plan around a vision.
Because it's necessary for you to interact with others and nurture relationships, we share effective meeting strategies and a meeting agenda template to help you be available to others in a way that serves you and them.
The essential thing here is working at a pace that satisfies your productivity goal. In addition to the tools mentioned, your most powerful is your own perspective. For this, we recommend allocating time for self-reflection.
Using these tools and refining your thoughts will allow you to complete the work in stages, avoid burnout and keep the other important aspects of your life in good standing.
Provide the Essential Input
Today, when I create a database, I start with the essential data needed to frame out my reporting system (The Outcome). The primary tool for this structure is called a TABLE.
If you've ever used Microsoft Excel, then you know what a table looks like. It is a series of columns (A to Z) and rows (1 to 26).
What makes the TABLE different from the spreadsheet is that RULES must be applied before you can save and use the TABLE.
- You have to define its role.
- You have to decide what type of information it will capture (text, numbers, currency values, website addresses, etc.).
- You have to give the TABLE a specific PURPOSE or reason for existing.
The steps to achieve goals should also follow certain RULES and Structure before you take off running, if you intend to achieve them and be satisfied with the required investment.
The essential input is the framework that you create before the work begins, to increase your likelihood for success.
Create A System That Answer Your Questions
Once you create the framework, you can start asking questions like:
- What do I need to learn?
- Who do I need to meet?
- Where do I need to go?
- How much should I pay?
- What factors are most important at this stage?
- What strengths should I develop first?
- What should I do next?
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