How can you make accomplishing your goals a regular part of your weekly schedule?
You have nailed down your priorities and you have formulated a list of SMART Goals. Now it is time to take those goals and incorporate them into your daily and weekly schedule.
There are many ways of doing this, and much depends on your actual goals and your lifestyle. A single college student will have far more control over their time than a homeschooling mother of 8 children. However, the Weekly Time Schedule will give anyone, with any life-style, the ability to control where their time goes.
This can be compared to a financial budget. People without a budget have very little control over where their money is going. But people who consistently live by a budget can exercise very high levels of control over how their money is spent. They control the money instead of the money controlling them. This is true for our time as well. With a consistently kept schedule, you will know when breakfast is served, when you exercise, when you work, and when you have family devotions each day. In addition, you can share your weekly schedule with those who need to keep up with your plans.
We want to incorporate our goals into our weekly schedule by making time for accomplishing them. If you have made actionable, specific, time-bound goals, this task will be fairly easy for you.
While reading over your goals, determine which ones you should work on daily, which ones weekly, and which ones only monthly. For instance, you may have a goal to exercise 5-6 times a week for 45 minutes. Place that on your weekly schedule for the days you will exercise. Maybe you have a presentation you will be giving in a couple of months at a large conference and one of your goals is to prepare for that conference. Mark out an hour during the week when you will be preparing for your presentation.
You will want to use this weekly schedule in conjunction with a daily calendar for best success. The Weekly Schedule gives you the rough outline of your week. Your daily calendar (such as a Franklin Planner or a Day Timer) will help you accomplish the specific goals you have for each day. For instance, the person who is preparing for the conference will break the presentation preparation down into smaller, concrete units (i.e., make an outline, prepare the handout, create a Power Point slideshow) and write those on their daily calendar or planner during the slot allotted to their conference preparation time.
The better you become at using a calendar or a planner, the more successful you will be at accomplishing your goals. Anything that is truly important to you should have its place on your Weekly Time Schedule.
The Goal Setting Series:
How can you turn your God-given priorities into S.M.A.R.T. goals?
If you have finished filling out the Priorities and Planning Worksheet, you now have nailed down a list of several priorities that you are confident the Lord wants you to work on. This next step will lead you through the process of creating goals for each of those priorities. For this, you will need the S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet.
Take your list of priorities and transfer them to the column of this worksheet labeled Priority. It will help you in the long run if you prioritize your priorities in some way. For example, you may want to be a good husband, a good father, and work your way out of debt, but your wife says your marriage is going great and your children are currently acting like little angels, so maybe you want to shift paying down your debt to a higher priority at this time. You would put that first on your list. This does not mean that you view paying down your debt as more important than being a good husband or father. This simply means that you find it extremely urgent at this point in your life.
Don't feel the need to use up all ten slots. List only the priorities the Lord has placed on your heart.
Once you have the Priority column filled out, you can move on to the Goals column. Productivity experts claim that a good goal exhibits these characteristics:
How do you make a S.M.A.R.T goal? Let's take one example of a goal and put it through the S.M.A.R.T. framework.
Many people want to have financial freedom. But if they make a generic goal at the beginning of the year to "have financial freedom," that is not a SMART goal. For one thing, how would they know if they attain it? There is no benchmark for success. Financial freedom is a desire--and a good one, a God-honoring one--but it is not a goal. We need to turn that desire for financial freedom into a SMART goal.
Here is a possible way to phrase it: "Attain financial freedom by getting out of debt. I will pay off 10% of my debt each month for the next ten months." This goal is specific. It states that you will pay off the totality of your debt. It is measurable. At any point during the next ten months, you can see whether you are on track to pay it off. It is actionable: it starts with the awesome action verb "pay." Without more details, I don't know whether it is realistic or not, but it could certainly be tweaked in order to become realistic for you. It is also time-bound. There is a definite ending date by which the debt will be fully paid.
Financial freedom, however, probably includes other goals. This is why there are five goal slots beside each priority. Perhaps, in addition to paying off debt, you wish to take on a side business or a second job. Perhaps you need to make a household budget. Maybe you need to move out of your expensive rental and rent a less expensive one. These various tasks can each be listed as a SMART goal. Each priority in your life can be tackled in multiple ways, by making multiple goals. The SMART Goal Worksheet is important on the front end for brainstorming the ways you can make actionable progress in your areas of priorities. Some of your priorities will have only one SMART goal. Others may require several. Take your time and think this through prayerfully.
Here is another example of a desire: "I want to be healthy." Let's change that into a SMART Goal by saying, "I will improve my health by walking/jogging 5-6 times a week for 45 minutes from 7:00-7:45." This goal is a SMART Goal because it states exactly what I will do in my pursuit of health, it measures the amount of time I will take to do it, and it tells how many days of the week I will be exercising. It is realistic in that it doesn't state an expected amount of weight lost (which is more of a desire than a goal), but states the actions I will take that will eventually lead to weight loss.
Making SMART Goals takes practice, but it is well worth the time and effort put into it. Take the time to work through the SMART Goals Worksheet, filling out several goals for each priority. Again, you may not need to make five goals for all of your priorities. For some of them, one or two goals will be more than sufficient.
The Goal Setting Series:
Some people sit down to make goals and don't know where to start. Other people have 453 goals spread out over 23 different areas of life. The first step in making goals for your life is to nail down your current priorities.
You can't work on everything in your life at one time. Even if you feel like your life is an absolute mess and you want an overhaul, you still need to start with just a few goals.
We sometimes use the Priorities and Planning Worksheet in the Planning Your Life God's Way Seminars. It is extremely helpful in analyzing the areas of your life that you need to focus on.
In the first column of this worksheet, you will list the priorities that you believe God wants you to focus on. What are these priorities? You can approach this in any of the following ways.
1. Roles that you play in life
2. Responsibilities that you shoulder
3. Areas in which you see a need for improvement
The second column of this worksheet is also important. This is your underlying "why." When God has given you a responsibility or role, or burdened you with an area of needed improvement, you can be certain that He will help you to grow in that area as you submit yourself to Him. Perhaps a verse has already convicted you. Write that down. If no verse comes to mind, go searching. Ask the Lord to lead you to a verse that you can cling to when the motivation to accomplish your goals fades.
Finally, there are two things to keep in mind when filling out this worksheet. First, you don't need to use all ten slots. Some people will need four. Others may need seven. Only write down as many priorities as you have for your life right now. And that little phrase "right now" is the second thing to keep in mind. This is not a list you will keep for the rest of your life. Think of it as a temporary list. As your life changes--and it will--your priorities will also change. So focus only on the priorities you have for your life for this current period of time.
The Goal Setting Series: