Yesterday I wrote about self-tracking and that it can be useful in overcoming procrastination. Since the 9th of January this year, I started to write a list of goals I wanted to attain each week. One can also call it a To Do list. But I rather call it a “Weekly Goals List”. First of all, it contains both Have To Dos and Want To Dos and I associate the term To Do with Have To Dos only. In other words, it has solely negative connotations. Second of all, I define the goals according to the S.M.A.R.T. rules. I learned this in my Project Management course last year. One way to define good goals is to follow the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. Goals have to be:
- S : Specific
- M : Measurable
- A : Achievable
- R : Realistic
- T : Timed
I made use of this approach, while defining my weekly goals. For instance, instead of writing “Apply for jobs”, I wrote “Submit 3 job applications between 9 – 15th of January”. By being SMART the goals can be objectively assessed and reviewed and it is easier to identify when a goal has been achieved. It also forces you to really focus on what you want or need to do. This ensures that the goals I define are attainable and therefore reduce the likelihood of procrastination. I then show the list to my husband to get his input and confirm that the goals set are realistic. In fact if it were up to him, I should be taking on more tasks. But that is another story.
I colour code the goals to easily identify what is completed and what is outstanding. Green is for tasks, which are completed. Yellow is for tasks, which are started but not completed. Red is for tasks that are not started at all. I admit that I have only been tracking for a few weeks and that it is probably too early to make inferences. But I can still see that the goals that I did not reach the past weeks are going to be the same ones I will probably not reach this week too. Therefore I can identify the areas where I am procrastinating and I need to analyse the reasons why.
One goal that I have not reached the past two weeks is “Exercise for 20 mins 3 times a week”. Obviously my inner (lazy) self is not letting it be duped by setting a goal for exercising. Now I have identified an area where I procrastinate. A sensible person would focus on reaching this goal this week. What do I do? I increase my goal to “Excercise 5 times a week for 50 minutes”. Talking about setting realistic goals! My husband was elated by my show of ambition and therefore did not intervene. Talk about setting up a check point! I bought an exercise DVD in July last year and it lasts for 50 minutes and thus the odd duration. This Tuesday I finally started with the routine and had to give up after 10 minutes. I have been having muscle aches since then. (Don’t laugh. I know I am unfit.) I guess I would have to redefine this goal. Otherwise I foresee me procrastinating yet again.