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Time Management Essay

Goal setting is the first step in the formal process of personal planning. Whether the plan is written, or remains a thought, the process used to achieve goals is complicated. However, experience gained through repetition can make the complications become almost second nature. As with critical thinking, when a plan is made and a decision rendered, goal setting requires similar actions. Often, the actions necessary are put into motion automatically and are not premeditated. The purpose of goal setting is to provide a means by which desires can be accomplished. The process of achieving goals provides a learning experience to be used throughout life. Each step taken will permit a person to see what has to be accomplished, how the process evolves, and allows a person to choose what alternate steps may have to be taken in order to accomplish the goal. Even the best made plans can go awry, and there are many distractions. These distractions can prevent one from attaining one’s goals and are something that could be prevented, but the want overrides the need.

Time management is the process of planning and scheduling time, as well as controlling and regulating those plans and schedules; it plays an important role in the success of reaching goals. A person must possess good time management skills in school, work, and in his or her personal life. There is a partnership between time-management and goal-setting. The two must work together; each is dependent upon the other for completion. Goals are achieved over time. There is no instantaneous achievement of the goal, which is the basis for the plan. Time management provides the outline for the plan. It also provides the timelines for completion of each step, until the goal has reach fruition.

Goal setting is a standard technique used by top-level athletes, successful business-people, and achievers in all fields. It provides long-term vision and short-term motivation. Goal setting focuses the process of acquiring knowledge, and helps to organize resources. The skill of effective time management is not an attribute which people are born with. As with any other skill, time-management must be taught and learned. As time-management skills are developed, the improvements initially noted are due, in part, to awareness of common problems that can affect the ability to properly manage personal time (Dudij, 2002, , para. 3). Time management can be mastered if the desire and will to manage time correctly is evident. For those that are new to the goal setting process, time management can be compared to a diet. There is a desire to eat what is not permitted, because it is liked or craved. Similarly, when it comes to time management, many do what they are not supposed to do. They sway from the plan because something else is more interesting or fun. There needs to be a release of what is liked, and concentration on what is needed.

There are many approaches to properly managing time and they can be learned and reinforced through a variety of lessons and exercises. Each person will have to draw from each application what is necessary to draft and customize an effective approach for him or herself. Time management can be broken down into a basic four-step process. One application of this process is known as the four P’s. One step must be completed before progressing to the other. This is accomplished by using the ladder approach: Project a goal. Projecting is to select or choose, which in itself, is a task. The goal should be realistic and obtainable; not too easy but not too hard. One purpose of a goal is to lengthen personal abilities and stretch limits. Assess others and look at what goals have been set and what was actually accomplished; decide if the goal was realistic or a set-up for failure. Projecting a goal can come from either an individually-based decision or as a result of tasking. The most needed components to achieve a goal are to find and focus on some part of it which gives it meaning, try to make it an enjoyable process, understand personal strengths and weaknesses, and work out both what is the goal and what the expectation in fulfilling the goal is. There must be a reason for accomplishing the task, whether it is personal or professional.

Plan to meet that goal. A timeline for goal completion must be devised and adhered to. This timeline is a plan of action depicting a specific time you will do a specific action in order to achieve the goal. When the plan is devised, take into consideration what has or has not worked in the past; the incorporation of past lessons learned will increase the likelihood of success. Activity logs are a useful tool in analyzing time spent, time used, and tasks accomplished. An activity log can also help to plan a goal by establishing timelines and deciding plans of action based on those timelines. Most people are surprised by the results of a time log when faced with the amount of time that is actually wasted compared to quality time spent. Initially, there is the feeling that one is much busier than is the reality, and an activity log can bring that to light. Another discovery made when using a time log is how much time is spent accomplishing tasks. When a plan is devised, time may be allotted for completion, but it is usually underestimated which in turn steals or takes time from another project or task (Dudij, 2001, para. 3). Additionally, always develop a second plan, Plan B, to compensate for the underestimations and the unexpected. When projecting a goal, the plan to meet the goal must be realistic and obtainable, but even with those rules in mind, factors can affect the outcome and alternate plans can avoid delays in accomplishment. Preparation and Propulsion: To achieve a goal, there are mental and physical attributes that must be present. No success was ever achieved without the proper mental and physical preparation. One must be ready to accept the changes that will occur in both the preparation phase of accomplishing a goal and in achieving a goal. Mentally, there has to be a desire to improve time management skills, a desire to be more time efficient. The steps used to achieve successful time management becomes a process that will be used throughout a lifetime. To begin and develop the process there are many challenges that must be dealt with. The mental stamina to continue when faced with those challenges must be strong otherwise the temptation to quit or settle for less than the desired result will set precedents for future goal setting. Goals are not intended to be easy, otherwise careful planning and time allowances would not be required, and, in the planning process for achieving goals, the less complicated the process is made, the more likely it is that the plan will be followed. The physical aspect of achieving the goal of time management is propulsion, setting forth the desired action to achieve the goal. Anyone can say they want to be time efficient but “He that acts upon his desires achieves his dreams” (Medford, 2003). One must take ownership of the responsibility to accomplish the goal by dominating the desire and the situation. There can be no hesitation in taking control, one must be proactive not reactive. The decision to achieve time management is a self-motivated decision; the choice is based on desire. Not all goals are set based on personal desire, but rather are imposed due to personal need or professional position; a goal may be self-serving or self-improving. The A, B, C, or Stack-Rack Method, is a time management skill which may work best in this situation where desire gives way to need. Goals are placed in priority based on importance and the consequence of incompletion. (A, B, C’s, n.d.). There are many approaches to developing methods of devising a plan of action to take control and manage time more effectively. While not just one plan may be the right one, each provides building blocks or a foundation to which an individual can form his or her own plan for success. Awareness of weaknesses in managing time is the first major step in establishing a goal to correct the deficiency and to improve upon it. There also needs to be the awareness or knowledge that even if it is felt that no deficiencies exist in a person’s time management skills, a plan of action should still be used. The same can apply to goal setting in general. In fulfilling a goal, there is a desire to complete or accomplish something that has not been achieved. At a minimum, all action plans contain many of the same steps but the manner of completion differs. The setting of goals is achieved through basic techniques used by everyone throughout the world regardless of status. What makes the person a success is the ability to manage their time to accomplish the goals they desire and the goals that will make them successful.

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