Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Time Management Tuesday: Objectives Or Systems?

I've written here several times about using goals and objectives for managing time. A goal, remember, is what you plan to do. An objective is what you need to do to meet the goal. One goal can have a number of objectives. I find them helpful in managing time because of the objective part. You know what you need to do and can focus upon it. Additionally, you can check back over a period of time to see how you're doing and to remind yourself of what you should be doing with your time.

I'm into the goal and objective thing, so it made sense when writer friend Melissa Stewart directed me to James Clear's blog post, Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead. She said, "I think you'll like it." And I did.

Clear advocates the use of something he calls "systems" instead of goals. What he calls a system, though, sounds very much like what is traditionally referred to as an objective. For instance, Clear gives this as an example of the difference between a goal and a system:"If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week." The book is what you want to do, the writing schedule is what you plan to do in order to write the book. Goal/objective or goal/system. 

What Clear is suggesting is that users of goals and systems/objectives focus on systems/objectives instead of ulimate goals. "If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results?" he asks. He believes you would. I think he's probably correct because, remember, the system/objective is the actual work you're going to do. The goal does sort of just sit on the shelf without systems/objectives to provide you with the work/steps to get to it.

And it's knowing what you need or at least want to do that is so helpful in managing your time.

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