1 A Small Steps Guide to Goal Setting and Time Management By Louise Tondeur www.emeraldpublishing.co.uk Emerald Publishing © Copyright Louise Tondeur 2012 2 ISBN: 9781847162731 The right of Louise Tondeur to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with the written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1956 (as amended). Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damage. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of this work, the author or publisher cannot accept responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining to act as a result of any statement contained within this book. Want to more? Check out A Small Steps Guide to Goal Setting and Time Management on Amazon. Let us know how you get on: www.facebook.com/SmallStepsGuides 3 A Small Steps Guide to Goal Setting and Time Management Contents Part 1: Goal setting Chapter 1: Small steps to goal setting • Small steps in a nutshell • About this chapter • Small steps to goal setting: an introduction • Keeping a journal • What is a goal? • Initial exercises • Key points Chapter 2: The small-steps method in action • About this chapter • Rhonda, the wannabe radio journalist • Mind loosening exercises • Key points Chapter 3: Goal-setting • About this chapter • Goal setting exercises • To do lists and master plans • Key points Chapter 4: What it takes to get where you want to go • About this chapter • How to work out which small steps you need to take • Prepare to succeed • What’s getting in your way? 4 • Confirmation bias • Doing your research • What do you need to achieve first? What do you need to achieve instead? • Key points Chapter 5: Reality check • About this chapter • The Alcoholic’s Prayer • Risk assessment • The impossible dream paradox • Dream big • Testing your goals • Key points Chapter 6: The Pursuit of Happiness • About this chapter • What people are saying about happiness • Different happiness measures • Different kinds of happiness • Making other people happy • Support from others, supporting others • Key Points Chapter 7: A review of goal setting methods, including the goal-free method • About this chapter • The productivity, work or sales method • The habits of success method • The life-roles or whole self method • The mistakes and perseverance method • The journey-focused method 5 • Commonalities and concluding thoughts • Key points Chapter 8: Motivation. What is it? Do you need it? • About this chapter • What is motivation? • How to develop more motivation • You don’t need motivation • Motivation doesn’t exist! • Key motivation blind-spots • No need to get motivated • Key points Part 2: Time management Chapter 9: Small steps to time management. • About this chapter • Small steps time management: an introduction • Key points Chapter 10: Small steps time management in action • About this chapter • Time management examples • Time management basics • Time management specifics • Practical exercises • Key points Chapter 11: I wanted to change the world but I could never find the time: time management and the overworked • About this chapter • Rhythms and hotspots • 1440 minutes • 10080: the number of minutes in a week • 525600 minutes and beyond 6 • Key points Chapter 12: Set it up, break it down, make it easy • About this chapter • Set it up • Break it down • Break it down example: raising money. • Break it down example: writing a novel. • Using subheadings to break down tasks • Make it easy • Case study: Applying set it up, break it down, make it easy. • Key points Chapter 13: Make it count, keep it balanced, think whole picture • About this chapter • Make it count • Keep it balanced • Think big picture • Key points Chapter 14: Balanced planning • About this chapter • The minute-by-minute approach • Timetabling • Small steps to balanced time management • Balanced planning on trial • Key Points Chapter 15: Small adjustments • About this chapter • Admin • Systems and routines • Filing 7 • Money • Stuff • Key points Chapter 16: Small tools • About this chapter • Focus on the small stuff • Get digital • Looking back on your niggles and bugs • Key points Chapter 17: Small ways to keep check • About this chapter • Check in • Communicate • Collaborate • Collect • Compost • Key points Chapter 18: Bibliography and resources • Bonus bits (on the website) • Resources • Websites • Books, articles and ideas I’ve mentioned, by chapter 9 Part 1: Goal setting 11 Chapter 1: Small Steps to Goal Setting __________________________________________________ Small steps in a nutshell You can take a task, however daunting, and break it down into smaller and smaller steps until it becomes manageable. You can do small things in your everyday life to allow you to achieve what you want to. About this chapter This chapter introduces the small steps method. I start by telling you more about how this book works. Then I’ll ask you to begin to think about yourself and your aspirations and show you the ten small steps principles. The rest of the chapter includes the basics of keeping a journal, and a definition of what a goal is and what a goal isn’t. It finishes with a brief introduction to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and some practical exercises for you to try. Small steps to goal setting: an introduction About this book. This book is designed to do four things: • You’ll be introduced to the small steps method. • You’ll learn how to set personal, value-led goals. • You’ll learn the principles of time management. • You’re given a list of resources, as well as access to the Small Steps Method website, to help you take things further. The book is divided into two halves: goal-setting and time management. This introduction gives you the basic overview of the small steps method. Both sections of the book elaborate on it. The advice in the first section is designed to fit any kind of goal-setting, Small Steps Guide to Goal Setting and Time Management 12 whether it relates to a personal ambition, your career, a charity or business, or a group of people with a shared dream. Discovering your goals: An overview of you. First I’d like to invite you to do an overview of you. Right now, whatever you are doing with your life, what’s good about being you? Take a moment to appreciate yourself. What are your dreams and ambitions and your hopes for the future? Is there anything you’d like to change? Are there any skills you’d like to develop? The small steps method The small steps method is about taking a task – any task – and breaking it down into small steps. It doesn’t matter what that task is, the same principles apply. Here are the small step principles, in a nutshell, followed by an example. This is the first time I’ve articulated them, especially for this book. The rest of the book is dedicated to showing you how to apply the small steps method to goal setting and time management. 1. Small steps are small. Break down a task until you get to something you could easily achieve today. 2. Small steps are specific and concrete. Make the small steps as down-to-earth and measurable as possible, if it suits you. 3. Small steps don’t cost a fortune. Do as many free steps as possible first. Financing a project can also be broken down into small steps. 4. Small steps are just like footsteps: Take one small step and take another small step after it. Keep taking small steps. 5. Small steps are just small steps. They don’t rely on luck, on other people, or on results. 13 6. Small steps don’t necessarily go in a straight line. One action doesn’t have to lead directly to the next, as long as they all relate back to the task. 7. Take lots of small steps, especially at the beginning. 8. Turn up. Small steps require you to get off the sofa. 9. Once you’ve prepared, you can do small steps without even thinking about it. 10. Small steps deserve to be appreciated. Pause at regular intervals to acknowledge your progress and to keep in check. Keep some kind of record in a notebook or journal, on a computer or on your blog. What you need to do to understand and follow the small steps method: Throughout this book, I suggest that you do some exercises. This is a common theme of the small steps method – small practical exercises that: • Help you to be more aware of your life, your values and your goals. • Help you to practice a technique or idea. Do the exercises in a notebook or on your computer or hand-held device. This will form a record of your progress. The exercises are all optional. In fact, they won’t all be relevant or attractive to you. Pick those you’re interested in. Leave the others. I suggest that you do these exercises in a notebook (paper or digital) so that you can collect them in one place and look back over them. You might want separate notebooks for some of the other suggestions, like the bugs diary (in chapter twelve) or the food diary (in chapter thirteen), if you choose to do them. The notebooks are specifically for jotting down the results of the exercises in this book. Often I ask you to carry one around, so you may want to buy a portable one! By the way, some of the exercises are repeated, getting more advanced or 14 more detailed each time. This is deliberate: so that you’re introduced to a concept first and then given time to work on it. Keeping a journal What is a journal? You may find it helpful to keep a journal while you are working towards particular goals. This particularly relates to small steps principle number 10. A journal is a place to record a commentary on the process. It’s also a place to record your thoughts and feelings, dreams and ideas. You can use it like a scrapbook too. Where an exercise asks you to think about your thoughts and feelings about a particular issue, you could include this in your journal. Again, this is optional. You might feel that the more straightforward notebook is enough for you, although there are various reasons to keep a journal: • Record it. Some people like to have a record of their progress in one particular goal or project. This kind of journal focuses on challenges and set backs, successes and unexpected pleasures resulting from the journey you’ve decided to undertake. For example, in chapter twelve I ask you to imagine a fictional person called Martin who wants to build his own house. He might want to record his progress like this. • Practical ideas and suggestions. For his kind of project, Martin might need a place to set down practical details as he goes forward. • Inspiration. You can also use a journal for inspirational images, words and snippets of text to help you to visualise where you want to go. • Get it out. You can use a journal for self-expression - to vent in whatever way you want to. Using your journal to complete your plan. Chapter three includes a number of goal setting activities. Once you’ve worked through them you’ll have a complete list of the 15 goals you want to achieve. If you decide to use a journal, you can include a goal plan at the beginning. Who writes about journaling? If you’re interested in journaling and want to take it further, you might find the following writers useful. • Julia Cameron suggests keeping Morning Pages in the bestselling The Artist’s Way and The Sound of Paper. You can also find out more on her website. Have a look at the resources section. • Therapeutic writing. It’s beyond the scope of this book but you can find lots of information on journaling in books on therapeutic writing. There are some suggestions in the resources section. What is a goal? Defining ‘a goal’ Before you start setting goals, it’s useful to figure out exactly what a goal is: • concrete and specific (or at least can be turned this way). You will never know if a goal is achievable - or even something you actually want to do – unless you make it concrete and specific. Concrete means you’ll know if you’ve achieved it. It’s something you could actually do in real terms. Specific means getting down to the nitty-gritty of what you would have to do to achieve the goal. It’s not general or vague. If you find yourself feeling a little suspicious or cynical about specific and measurable goals, have a look at chapter seven now: I review Stephen M. Shapiro’s ‘goal-free’ approach there. • something you want to achieve. It’s odd when you think about it but a lot of us go round with (usually rather vague and non-specific) goals that come from what other people expect of us, or that we have heard somewhere are good ideas. Let go of it if you don’t really want to do it.