Monday, March 23, 2009

Time Management - Goal Setting - Are they really the same?

I was reading an issue of Business Week (September 1, 2008) when this question came to my mind. I have always taught that good goal setting is one management theory, when properly applied that always, actually, works. Time management, on the other hand, has always been, it seemed to me, to be in the province of gimmicks for consultants to preach about.

Reading an article about “productivity guru David Allen” and his GTD (“getting things done”) methods* raised the question in my mind. His GTD approach** appears to essentially be applying goal setting theory to one key aspect of time management – to me, at least. It may also work for you. McGregor lists the four key ideas from Allen’s seminar as:
1. Write it down; 2. Break it out; 3. Do it now; and 4. File it away.

Goals are always to be written down, very specific, with measurable outcomes with completion dates. In “Break it out” Allen contributes an important element to the process, by insisting that the goal be the next action, that is, the next granular step, that can be reasonably specified, measured and dated. This is in contrast to the larger, more complex goals that we often try to accomplish and wonder why we fail. This also makes the “Do it now” part a lot easier, of course. The important thing is that you keep doing these granular steps, and before you know it, even the more complex goal may well be accomplished, in a timely manner. No time is allowed for stopping and thinking about how hard it will be to accomplish this larger task and putting off getting started.

What do you think? Does this work for you? Do you have other tricks that work? I’d like to hear from you. I hope to write a longer article on this subject, and would love to include your examples. Leave a comment. You may be hearing from me.

Dr. Bill – I love to share. I hope you do to. ;-)

*Getting Serious about Getting Things Done, by Jena McGregor, pp 69-70.
** David Allen, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (2001).

1 comment:

  1. Hi

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