Brian Tracy
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How Goal-Setting Saves Time and Improves Lives

Knowing which direction you’re heading in gives people a sense of control of their lives and a sense of calm and contentment results, easing the potential burden that having multiple tasks on the go can cause. At first, it can seem that setting goals are a time-waster, but people who successfully set goals know that setting goals saves you time and improves lives. Here are three reasons why:

1. Setting goals allows you to eliminate tasks that are irrelevant.

If you’re already clear on what your goals are, it’s easier to pass on tasks that are not related to achieving your goals. If you don’t have any goals, it can be hard to determine if a task needs to be done or not, wasting precious mental energy on figuring out if something should be done. If you know what the plan is, it’s easy to see which tasks should be incorporated and which should be left out. In addition, you’ll waste less time having to re-do things that would have been done correctly if you had set clear goals.

2. Having a clear to-do list gives us control over our lives. 

Having clear goals gives us control over our lives and time, which makes us feel empowered to do whatever we want. Spending time feeling good gives people the sense that there’s more space around them, that more is possible and when we feel good in the moment or in retrospect, it can take that busy edge away. Setting goals even opens up space for us to step away from our work so we can really be fully present in our leisure time.

3. Being committed to an intention and goal gives us a sense of purpose and skyrockets productivity. 

When you know why you’re doing something, it can help fuel your efforts and facilitate the tasks being done quicker, actually giving you more time to do other things.

When I give talks on setting goals, sometimes people resist the idea, thinking goal-setting is work-related. If it feels better to you, substitute the word “goal” with “intention” and see how that feels. Create your intention and see which activities fit into that intention and again, eliminate or reduce the activities that don’t fit into your bigger picture.

Remember that when we’re looking at tools for being less busy, having goals may feel like it’s adding to your to-do list, but in fact, it’s helping to reduce what’s on your to-do list. Give it a try and see how it feels at the end of the day.

When to set your goals

There are many good times to set your goals. New Year’s resolutions are a form of annual goals and goal reviews. You don’t need to wait until NYE to set your direction, but picking a significant day each year can be a good way to chart your course.

Quarterly goal reviews are a way to tweak your plans and see if you’re getting the results you were aiming for. Similar to a performance review at work, reviewing your own plans, whether business or personal, is an important activity in the process of using goals for productivity. Always make sure you have a way to measure your progress.

Weekly planning is an excellent way to shape your time, making sure you see time to fit in the things that are important to you alongside all of the things you have to do that you may have less control over.

Daily checklists can help you see if you’re spending your time doing what needs to be done, refining your plan each day to accommodate the natural shifts that happen to our good intentions.

Hourly time stamps can help us notice if we’re on task or if we’ve drifted off into wasted time. Tools such as a timer from your phone or a beep from your watch can remind you to pause and be present for a few moments.
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