Invest time to create time
For most of us, life is busy. Getting everything done on time is a constant challenge, especially when juggling competing demands.
In schools, this pressure seems to accumulate throughout the year and reaches a crescendo when many demands fall at the same time, resulting in levels of stress and anxiety that make our jobs even more difficult. And then there are the unexpected things that come out of left field, exacerbating an already challenging time. Often, these add an extra level of complication and risk derailing us entirely.
This is where goal setting comes into its own. In particularly challenging times, harnessing the advantages of a goal-setting process can help us make sense of that seemingly endless list of demands. It helps us take a step back, breathe, and plan a better way to manage our time. The very essence of goal setting is to take big tasks and breaks them into smaller chunks. This gives us a tangible tool to manage and prioritise the demands on our time. Taking a little time to employ a goal-setting strategy is time well invested.
You don’t have to be an expert. The more you practise the process, the easier and more efficient it becomes.
IT GOES LIKE THIS:
- Identify a task that needs to be completed by a certain time. This is the goal. Envision what the task will be like when it is completed. What are the characteristics that show the task meets, or exceeds, expectations? You can use these characteristics to measure goal attainment.
- Break the task down into its essential elements – the building blocks, or sub-tasks, that contribute to completing the end task. What are the key indicators, or milestones, against which you can measure completion of the sub-tasks and progress towards achieving the goal?
- Identify any collaborators who you might need to assist you in completing the task (achieving the goal). Who are these collaborators and what role will they be expected to play? When and how will you engage their support? How will you establish mutual accountability around the contributions needed to attain the goal?
- Identify any other resources you need to complete the sub-tasks and meet the milestones you have identified. How can evidence-based practice and standards inform your work? How will you access and employ these resources to achieve the goal?
- Create a graphic which helps you frame the goal and its attainment date, and against which you can monitor the milestones that measure progress. The more accessible and prominent the framework, the more effective it will be in guiding and measuring your progress towards attaining that goal.
By breaking down a task into its component parts, sequencing them against a time frame and monitoring progress, we create a goal-based process that helps us complete the task on time, without the stress. And when this process is evidence or standards-based we can be more confident the task will be completed to a high standard.