If you want to achieve your personal development goals, you need to know how to get there, right?! To start in the right gear, key tips and tools are shared in this post.
For illustration purposes, let’s image the following scenario: you have successfully written your first personal development plan. You are satisfied with the goals you have set for yourself and decided to work on the first one right away:
“Deal with emails only three times per day to be less distracted and more productive”.
Simply put, you want to spend less time reading and responding to emails, so you can work on other important things. In your view, you have successfully started off with keeping away strict hours for treating emails during the first week, but occasionally you got tempted to check your emails more often. In general, you are happy with the additional time you have at hand, but things could be improved. What else could be done to fully achieve this goal?
1. Experts’ input
If you are looking for additional ideas to achieve your goal, start by looking at what others have done. Maybe there are even so called “experts” on the topic and you might not know about it. What tools do they use? What mechanism have they put in place? Consider to give at least one of the following methods a go:
- Browse the web by searching your “keyword” and “expert”/”tips”. Using this technique for the scenario above, I stumbled across this result which might be applicable for Outlook users.
- Consult relevant books & magazines. There is a great likelihood that there is a book written on the topic you are working on to develop yourself. Do a similar search in an online book store. If you are not sure what you exactly you are looking for, go to a large book store and look at the book or magazines available on your topic. On the topic of email management, I can recommend The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” by Timothy Ferriss as of page 96ff (this link is an affiliate link for which I do get a small commission if you do decide to purchase the book). He suggests for example to set a timer like e.ggtimer.com to stick to your your time limits.
2. Go Hunting For Your Own Ideas
Considering the first tip, think about how you can adapt some of the expert’s ideas for yourself. Are they 100% applicable to you or can you at least test parts of their strategies?
If you are generally a good “idea generator”, but you just need a trigger, change your environment for a few hours. Do something non-work related: Hike a mountain, go on a bike tour, go grab a coffee somewhere where you have never been before, the opportunities are endless.
The more relaxed our mind is, the high the chance that good ideas appear. For some it is sufficient to just go and have a shower!
As far as our example of email and time management is concerned, to go offline can already be a great way to manage your time more efficiently. A one-week vacation away from phone calls and emails can help to relate the importance of topics, put things in perspective and increase awareness of the things you are trying to accomplish.
What would you do to come up with some additional ideas?
3. Buddy up
Another great solution to find some more inspiration is to team up with someone. Do you happen to know someone who has a similar goal in their development plan as you? Get in contact with them and see whether they are happy to share their tactics. If you do the alike, usually this works well.
As far as cutting back some time reading and responding to emails is concerned, maybe you find that there are also other people in your office who try to do the same? If you prefer to “keep the office out of it”, maybe you find a goal partner online? Like on lift.do, for instance.
Now, take one of the above steps before the end of this week to trigger some new thoughts to achieve your personal goals. What will you do? Where do you get your inspiration from? Let us know in the comments.
Photo courtesy: istockphoto