The Big Idea
The best-laid plans don’t do us any good if we don’t take the time to make them happen
Questions I Answer
- How can I make more time to work on my goals?
- What steps do I need to take to achieve my goals?
- How can I make goal setting easier?
- How can I have more time and feel productive?
Actions to Take
- We need to intentionally make space for ourselves. We need to make time for our goals. If we don’t, our time ends up filled with things, things, not goals, not dreams, not the ideal life that we really want.
Key Topics in the Show
How to make our goals more achievable by breaking them down into milestones
Creating habits for yourself that allow you to make progress on any goal you set
4 tips on how you can intentionally make time for your goals
Cut down on time wasters and give yourself time to focus on your priorities
Resources and Links
Welcome to season eight of Productivity Paradox with Tanya Dalton. A podcast focused on using productivity not just to do more, but to achieve what’s most important to you. Join Tanya this season as she focuses on planning for success using proven productivity strategies. To get her free checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to inkWELLpress.com/podcast. To get her free checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to inkWELLpress.com/podcast. And now here’s your host Tanya Dalton.
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, and this is episode 99. I can hardly believe that next week will be episode 100. I am so excited for that. Here’s the thing. The reason why I’ve been able to go 100 episodes with this podcast is that I’ve created plans for that. I actively work to plan out and create this podcast. This season is all about planning for success, but the best laid plans don’t do us any good if we don’t actually make time to make them happen. That would be the case here with this podcast. It wouldn’t happen if I didn’t actively work to make that time. That’s what I want to talk to you about today: How to make time for your goals. I’ve got a download too that goes along with this episode that I’ll share more about later that I think you’ll find really helpful. First, let me go ahead and point out, yes, I’m going to use the word goals here an awful lot throughout this episode, but projects, larger tasks, and even habits, those are all types of goals, in my opinion. They fall under that umbrella of the word goals. A goal is really anything you’re wanting to accomplish that will help improve your life.
Yes, things like a work project that will get you to the next level in business. That’s a goal. Tackling a home improvement project, that’s a goal. Keeping an organized home, that’s a goal. Don’t get caught up in the word goal here and feel like it has to be a standard goal, “I want to use ten pounds or I want to get a promotion,” and so on. There’s nothing wrong with these goals, of course, but I don’t want you to feel boxed in. The best part is that goals are dreams with plans. That’s really the big definer here for me. Goals allow you to take your dreams and make them a reality. That means we might have some pretty big goals in mind. I think that is a great thing, but the only problem that I have with big goals is that word big there. They’re big, which means they might feel daunting or overwhelming and scary. When we think of them in terms of this big thing, you feel like there’s no way I can make the time to do that. This is why breaking down our goals is so important. We talked about that quite a bit in last week’s episode, number 98, when we talked about starting with the end in mind.
You may remember we discussed having milestones on the path to that end destination that we want to get to, your goal. Having those milestones helps us see the path we need to follow to get to that goal. Now, that does help make our goals achievable, but the benefit of these milestones is that it takes these big goals and it
really breaks them down and makes them bite size. When I say break them down, I ©Productivity Paradox Page 1 of 6
mean you can really break them down and make them really small, like tiny, maybe even minuscule. Here’s why. This is why it’s so important to take them and break them down. Every single step gets you closer to your goals, even the teeny, tiny ones that feel insignificant. They may be small, but they’re still moving you closer to that end destination. Every single step counts. What’s nice is that when these steps are small, those are so much easier to make time for, to pop into your already busy schedule, to complete, and then feel some satisfaction on how you’re progressing.
That’s a big thing here, that feeling of satisfaction you get when you make some sort of movement closer to your goal, it’s incredibly real and incredibly motivating. I find that for me, even when I have small wins, that builds up the momentum and that gets me more fired up, which then leads me to making bigger steps forward, so it really is about getting this fire in your belly where you feel like, “You know what? I’d make this step forward, I can make a bigger step forward.” There’s a lot to be said for mindset. A really simple way to encourage yourself to get closer to your goals through these tiny steps is through establishing a habit. Create a habit for yourself that’s related to your goal. You might remember, of course we have talked about habits several times and I’ve shared that a habit helps take the thinking out of it. It almost allows your brain to go into auto-pilot mode where you don’t worry about whether you’re going to do something. You don’t worry about having to create that time and space. It happens automatically, because you know, it’s a habit. You’ve heard me say that plenty of times that we want to take the thinking out of it, because we really want to free up our brain space, so we can spend it on the bigger things.
We want to save up those calories our brain is burning on the tiny things and really allow our brains to focus on the big stuff. That is how we make these gigantic steps forward eventually towards our goals. Habits are such an easy way to take the thinking out of it and to make progress towards your goals on a regular basis. Let me tell you what I mean, because that might seem confusing to you that habits and goals can be related. Let’s say your goal is to keep a more organized home. You can establish a habit to make your bed every morning. See? I told you. Small, right? Small, but mighty. The benefit of small movements, well, they’re more likely to happen. How long does it really take to make your bed? Maybe 90 seconds? Totally doable, right? What happens when you make your bed? Well, I know for me every time I walk into my bedroom and I see that bed, I get a little feeling of satisfaction, a little momentum, because once you start making the bed, maybe you can follow up that habit with another habit. That habit could be picking up your clothes that you took off the night before, you know the ones piled up on the floor.
Oh, that’s not you? That’s just me? Okay. Well, how about the ones piled on the chair on the elliptical machine? I know that I do that. I’m terrible about leaving my clothes on the floor at night or piled on the chair, but here’s the thing. I could wake up in the morning and feel like, “Oh, my gosh. My room is a disaster.” Or I can create a habit for myself that I pick those clothes up after making my bed. Then, I don’t worry about it. I don’t feel bad about leaving my clothes on the floor at night. It’s okay. I was tired the night before. Now, when I walk into my room I feel really satisfied, because those clothes are then picked up for the rest of the day. See how habits can create small wins? These wins start to build on each other. If your goal is to get your home organized, that’s a huge task, but if you start by focusing only on one room, in this
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case the bedroom, that’s more manageable. It’s bite size. Then, if we focus on what we can do to make that even easier through these habits, it becomes even easier still.
Then, once these habits are established, they run smoother and faster and they require little to no time at all, because they’re habits. We don’t have to worry about them being done. They’re not taking up brain space. They’re not taking up time, because they’re something we regularly do in our day. Let’s talk about those other goals that we talked about earlier, like the weight goal: A daily habit that you could create for yourself would be packing a healthy lunch right after dinner the night before. What about the home project goal? Well, you could make it a habit to spend ten minutes during your lunch figuring out what part of that project you want to tackle that night, thereby eliminating you standing in the middle of the project wondering what you want to work on that evening. Or for the goal of getting a promotion, maybe you create a habit of taking 20 minutes during your mid-afternoon snack three times a week to reach out and network with other people in your company.
See? It doesn’t have to be things that are difficult. It doesn’t have to be hard. You’ll notice in these examples that I’ve given, they all springboard off of something you already do. I’ve found that creating habits around something that is already solidly in your life helps create consistency. For example, every morning you wake up, you brush your teeth, you take a shower. These are all things you don’t have to think about because you do them every day. It would be really simple to make those your cues to help trigger you to make the bed. Then, that, making the bed, triggers you to pick up the clothes. Creating a routine or a habit around something that is already set in stone in your life makes it easier to hold to and to continue to follow through on because you depend on it for your daily structure. I think that’s really important. Use those as springboards to move you forward. I know our default thought when it comes to time is that we simply don’t have enough. It’s easy to believe that we don’t have the time to go after our goals. I promise you do have the time.
We have to intentionally make that time and sometimes that means creating habits for ourselves to make it happen. Other times that means we have to carve it out for ourselves. We have to intentionally create that space. Part of that is you have to know what’s important to you. If you’re setting a goal, then that means that it should be important to you. After all, that’s why you set it as a goal in the first place, right? I have four tips on how you can intentionally make time for your goals, because having the time, that’s not the issue. It’s how we’re spending our time. That’s the problem. Have you ever seen that meme that says, “We have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé?” You know what I love about that snarky, little meme? Is that it is absolutely correct. We do. We have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé. She doesn’t get a bonus hour. She’s Beyoncé, but she doesn’t magically get more time. We all have exactly the same amount, but she has a team right? We justify it with, “Well, I could do that too if I had a nanny and a chauffeur and a makeup team and … Well, you get the idea.
But let’s be honest with ourselves. She didn’t always have that team. She didn’t start with that team. Okay, let’s concede this and say, “All right, you’re right. She does have a team, but so do you.” That’s tip number one: Lean on your team. Maybe unlike Beyoncé, maybe we don’t have a nanny or a makeup team. Boy, I really wish that I
did. But we do have a team. We have friends, maybe family members or co-workers, ©Productivity Paradox Page 3 of 6
people who love and support you, people we can lean on for that support that we need, people we can delegate and share tasks with. Now, I did an entire episode back in episode 37 where I talked about how to delegate. I’ll be sure to include a link to that in my show notes. If that’s something you struggle with, the idea of delegating or having somebody else help you, I would encourage you to give that a listen. I want you to start thinking outside the box too of how you can rely on your team. That’s actually what we’ll be discussing during next week’s show. I don’t want to go too far down the rabbit hole on this topic, but put that in your back pocket for a bit. We’re going to explore this further in next week’s episode.
All right, tip number two is: See yourself as a priority. See, here’s the other thing Beyoncé does. She looks at what she’s doing as a priority. She believes that what she’s creating is important. She actively works to spend time on the things she wants to do. When we look at our priorities we often see that we’re not spending enough time doing the things that are important to us. We need to treat our priorities more like priorities. They should be what we focus on in our day. That whole excuse that life is too busy or, “Oh, I have so much to do.” They’re that, excuses. The problem that I have found behind this excuse is it’s because we’re not just thinking about our own tasks and projects and priorities. We’re also talking about everyone else’s. This is when we have to take a step back and realize the commitments that we get wrapped up in maybe aren’t taking us where we really want to be or they’re not the things that we really want to spend our time on. You see, we often take things that are important to other people and we bump them to the top of our list, even in front of our own priorities.
We’ll take tasks from our boss or our friends our family and we bump those above our own. I know I am not the only person who does this. It’s so easy to do. However, when we do this, we’re saying no to ourselves. We’re saying no to the time for our goals and we’re saying yes instead to other people’s priorities. It’s important to see yourself as a priority and as hard as that may seem sometimes we really need to do that. Way back in episode seven and eight I talked about how to find your yes and the idea that every time you’re saying yes to someone you’re saying no to something else. We’re saying no to our goals or our passion projects. The next time you take the invite to go do errands for someone else or pick up an extra project that somebody else has procrastinated on at work, realize when you’re saying yes to those, you’re saying no to yourself again. You need to start saying yes to yourself a little more often.
Now, tip number three is to find small pockets of time and claim them. Jessica Turner in her book Fringe Hours, she talks about the idea of taking your small margins of time and using them for yourself. Women often put their all into everything but themselves. They allow personal care, pampering, hobbies. They all fall to the bottom of the list, because, “Well, there isn’t enough time.” But there is. We often choose not to see it. These small pockets of time are the free minutes that you have in between driving to work and your actual arrival time. The time that you have where you’re scrolling through Facebook, because you’re sitting in line, or it’s any time in your day where you have this tiny, itty bitty sliver of moment to yourself, because this brief amount of time is often pushed aside like, “Well, there’s no way I can do anything with those 20 minutes, but you can. I promise you can.
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I suggest recording your time for a week, not just the big things, but the little things as well, like washing the dishes, vacuuming the house. The goal is see where these little pockets of time are starting to appear. See if you can’t put those together to create a much bigger pocket where you can fit in some me time. We under value these pockets of time, because we think they’re too small to really do anything real with. These little scraps of time, they add up. I think I’ve shared this before, but it’s too good not to talk about again. Stephen King, who has sold over 350 million books, he attributes much of his success to the time he has spent reading. Now, Stephen King, he’s a pretty busy man. He doesn’t sit around and read for five hours straight every day. What he suggests is that every time you have a free moment, whether you’re waiting for coffee or sitting on a bench waiting for the bus, go ahead, pull your book out, and squeeze in a few pages or maybe even a chapter. By doing this, he has read 70 to 80 books every single year. Those pockets of time are there. We have to actively look for them and we have to actively claim them for ourselves.
That leads me to tip number four: Give yourself containers of time. When you’re sitting down and planning what you want to do each day, I want to encourage you to designate at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time solely to focus on your goal and maybe one or two steps that you can work on during that time. I want you to block that into your schedule. Choose a time that you have good energy, not at the end of the day if that’s when you’re tired, not early in the morning if that’s when you’re tired. Choose a time that you have good energy and then give that time to yourself and give that time to focus towards your goal. Treat it like an appointment. Realize that because it’s your goal and your time, doesn’t make it any less important than the other work that you’re doing. I want you to treat this as an appointment with yourself, because you are important. Now, if you’re not sure where to put in that 30 minutes of time, look for those pockets we talked about. Cut out the time wasters. Maybe drop the 45 minute episode of TV that you’re watching each night or that 30 minutes of browsing through social media.
These time wasters often live in those little corners in those little, tiny pockets of time. Find where they are, get rid of them, put them together, and give yourself this 30 minutes. Now, the beauty of having this focused container is that word there, focused. It’s really focused so you can dive deeper into your goal. Here’s what I want you to do. Schedule in that 30 minutes and then I want you to schedule a 15 minute, fun break right afterwards. We often undervalue the idea of breaks, but we need that free space for our brain. It’s really important. We want to give that a container of time, because we don’t want it to be a break that ends up with you watching one Netflix show after the other. Hey, we all do it. We look up and suddenly we realize we spent all afternoon watching a TV show. The other benefit of giving ourselves this fun block of 15 minutes right after we have our focus time is that it allows us to feel a little bit like we’re being rewarded. It’s like a carrot that we’re looking forward to after we get through our focused work.
That reward helps you look forward to it the next day and makes you more likely to actually accomplish it. What I want you to focus on, on this episode is this: This is the takeaway I want for you. We need to intentionally make space for ourselves. We need to make time for our goals. If we don’t, our time ends up filled with things, things, not goals, not dreams, not the ideal life that we really want. Now, if you’re still struggling with this idea, don’t worry. I’ve got a download that I think will
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really help you out. It’s a goal setting and achieving blueprint that will help you figure out what you want to focus on and how to create that space to make it happen. You can grab that free download at inkwellpress.com/podcast under episode 99.
The other resource I’d love to share with you is my private Facebook group. It’s absolutely free, but it’s a nice space on the web for you to go get support, get encouragement on being productive. Right now we’re talking an awful lot about creating plans, especially our goals. We started our vision board challenge for the month, so it’s a great time to join. Every month we have a new challenge and this month is all about our vision board, trying to figure out where it is we want to go with our goals. Next week we’re going to be talking about how to build a support system and how to reach your goals, and it’s episode 100, so I really hope to see you here. In the meantime, don’t forget to grab that free download. It will be in the show notes under inkwellpress.com/podcast under episode 99. All right, until next time, have a beautiful and productive week.
Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox. To get free access to Tanya’s valuable checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to inkWELLpress.com/podcast.