ARE YOU GETTING WHAT YOU WANT?
At that time, I was working very hard in BHEL, sometimes 16 or more hours a day. One day, an idea cropped in my mind; even multimillionaires like Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata do not work for that long. Then why my earning is so less as compared to their income. A deep thought revealed that God has given everyone the same hours per day. But it depends upon how we use that limited time to make our earnings either in monetary or some other term.
Friends, just stop here for a moment. Just think. Are you really satisfied with the results you are getting? Or do you think that life is not giving you the justified returns? While in BHEL, my thinking was that I was not getting my rightful due. Ultimately, I found that it was due to my poor utilization of time. And, my life changed dramatically when I started using time brilliantly by performing the right activities.
Our activities fall in one of the four categories according to time management matrix given by Stephen Covey. Before proceeding further, let us familiarize with these.
- URGENT: These are the activities which you have to perform immediately. For example, you have to respond to a phone call as and when it rings. If you get a notification for your social media message viz. facebook, whattsapp, instagram or twitter, you need to immediately connect & respond. When boss calls for a meeting you have to attend it even when it may not bring any fruitful outcome. But these are the activities that do not help you to reach your desired goal.
- NOT URGENT: These are just time pass activities like watching TV, movies, attending parties etc. Spending time in these activities will not take you anywhere.
- IMPORTANT: These are the activities required essentially to be performed to achieve your goals. Setting goals, planning, implementing the steps, building relationship etc. are a few examples.
- NOT IMPORTANT: These are the activities not connected with your goals and therefore not required at all.
You will get desired results when you save time from urgent, not urgent & not important activities and invest it in important activities.
ARE YOU MEETING YOUR FAMILY EXPECTATIONS?
Friends! Everyone is busy today. Even a nursery school kid has no spare time. But, what is important is how you are using your precious time.
While working in BHEL, I spent most of my waking hours on the job. I never thought that my family also expects some share of my time. Then one day, a friend asked me, “Lokesh, have you ever asked your wife, your kids and your father what they expect from you?” I got upset. Being totally devoted to job, I knew that they wanted “my time,” which I could not give them. So, I could never dare to ask them such a question. But I could not deny my responsibility towards family. And, that was the beginning of my search for the right use of time.
HAVE YOU DEFINED YOUR GOAL?
Since time is a limited entity, we need to learn to use it effectively. The first step is to set your goals. But most of the time people do not have well defined goals. Indeed, they do not know what action is important for them, as a result they keep doing things which come on their way.
Tell me friends! Have you really decided your goals? Do you clearly know what you want to achieve? If not:
THEN STOP HERE.
Decide about your goals: here and now. Right now you can do it mentally. But give some time later for deep thoughts to solidify your goals and write them down.
Examples: A student can set a goal to achieve a specific result while maintaining his/her physical fitness. Parents can set a goal to develop a positive and friendly relationship with their offspring. A person on job can decide to finish a project in time while maintaining a balance between job and family.
For the sake of example, consider a goal that you are willing to achieve in next 3 to 12 months. Proceed further only when you have decided about your goal.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE IN LAST 24 HOURS?
Just think what you have been doing in last 24 hours. Take hourly estimate and find out how much time was spent for important activities, which can take you towards your goal. A thorough analysis of past 24 hours will reveal that most of the activities were not important at all. You spent a lot of time on activities other than important ones.
Friends! It happens that we are mostly dragged to urgent activities and do not find time for important activities. Sometimes, we are forced to put our time in activities, which are not even urgent (parties, political discussions, watching TV). Such activities do not take us to anywhere.
You can achieve your goals only if you can focus on important activities that will take you towards your goals. Learn to say “No” to other activities and increase your time on these activities. This is the key to success.
LEARN TO DIFFERENTIATE IMPORTANT FROM URGENT:
Let us understand this from an example:
Suppose your goal is to reduce your weight by 5 kg in next 3 months.
IMPORTANT ACTIVITIES REQUIRED FOR ACHIEVING YOUR GOAL:
- Going for a 30 minutes run and 30 minutes of yoga in the morning from 6 to 7 am.
- Going to Gym for one hour daily in the evening from 7 to 8 pm for strength training.
- Maintaining a course of nutritious diet as recommended by your dietician.
If you follow the above given activities, you are most likely to achieve your target.
But there can be a trap of other forceful activities, which can stop you to perform these important activities. These can possibly be:
- Going for shopping with your wife in the evening.
- Extended working hours in the job.
- Dropping your kid to school as he missed his bus.
NOT URGENT ACTIVITIES:
- Attending a birthday or marriage celebration.
- Spending time for organizing a picnic.
- Watching a TV serial.
Now, if you fall in the trap of these activities, you will not achieve your goal. You must learn to get away from these activities. For example, you can plan shopping with your wife during a weekend. You can improve your efficiency in the office & learn to manage your boss in such a way that you get your gym time free. Manage your children so that they catch their bus on time and keep you free for your morning workout. As far as those activities are concerned, which are not even urgent, a bold decision is required to tell them “NO.”
WHY YOU CAN MISS IMPORTANT ACTIVITIES:
You can notice that all the 3 activities explained as important are not urgent. There is no pressure on you to perform them. You may continue to sleep till 7 am and you will not be questioned. Similarly you may continue eating pizza or samosa everyday, nobody will stop you. But, it will take you far away from your goal and you will not know why it happened.
Therefore, you can observe that if an important activity is not urgent, you can miss it. Because most of people are in the trap of doing what is urgent.
But remember this is the place where you must focus your attention to achieve your goal. Stephen Covey called this as Quadrant 2 of his time matrix. These are the activities known as important, which are necessary for reaching the target, but are not urgent enough to attract your attention. That is why these are often ignored or avoided.
MY OWN EXAMPLE: While I was a Team Leader for a specific project, I realized that apart from technical expertise, my relationship with each team member was also crucial in achieving the team objective. For this, I needed some time to understand them individually and develop friendship. However this task was important but not urgent and I could miss it. But keeping the focus on Quadrant 2, I found time for this activity and ultimately our team’s performance was beyond expectations.
FOCUS ON IMPORTANT ACTIVITIES:
Plan your actions and follow these steps to get success:
- Define your goal. Write it down.
- Make an action plan. List all the activities that are essential for achievement of the goal. These are the important activities.
- List all other activities that may stop you to perform towards your goal.
- Decide how you will proceed to say ‘NO’ to these other activities. This is a very crucial step. You can hit your target only when you succeed in this step.
- Now, focus on important activities and perform them without any excuse.
With this process you are sure to achieve big and succeed.