How to Create a Success-Centered Schedule

One work habit that will help you achieve your goals quickly is establishing and following a clear, focused schedule.

The most effective plan is one with enough detail to show you what you must accomplish to reach a given goal, while giving you enough “wiggle room” to make modifications as needed.

Here are suggestions adapted from Michael Masterson's goal-setting principles for creating a schedule that will help you achieve your dreams … and sooner rather than later:

  1. Define your most important goals.

    Ask yourself where you'd like to be as a designer five years from now. What would you like your life to look like?

    Be specific. Maybe you'd like to be living in a mountain retreat, working from your deck where you can watch deer in your backyard. Maybe you'd love to be a world traveler or even living overseas. Or perhaps your goals are more financial than lifestyle. At this point, write down all the goals you can think of.

  2. Turn your five-year goals into one-year objectives.

    Once you've written down all of your goals, identify the three that are most important to you and break them down into one-year objectives.

    Let's say one of your main goals is to be earning $125,000 per year within five years. In that case, you might give yourself a one-year objective of earning $50,000, a two-year objective of earning $70,000, a three-year objective of earning $90,000, and a four-year objective of earning $110,000. That would put you within easy striking distance of reaching your five-year goal of $125,000.

  3. Break your one-year objectives into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks.

    If you want to make $50,000 the first year (or whatever figure you decide on), break that objective down into bite-size chunks.

    For example, to bring in $50,000/year you'll need to make $4,200 per month. That may translate into designing one magalog and a couple of sales packages.

    Then, break down your monthly objectives into smaller weekly ones. In our example, this might mean giving yourself the task of doing one package one week, another package the second week, and the magalog the last two weeks of the month.

    Finally, break down those weekly tasks and fit them into your daily schedule. It should take only about 15 minutes each morning to incorporate them into your daily “to-do” list in order to keep your plan on track. And before you know it, you'll be on your way to achieving your five-year goal.

    If you have a really important goal or project, you may want to develop a special schedule just for that, and mark off the days and individual tasks as you accomplish them.

This system may sound like a lot of work. But after the first week, you'll find it to be easy and productive.

Research has shown that people who set goals and establish written plans and schedules to accomplish them are five times more likely to become successful … and wealthy. This can be you.

Make goal setting and scheduling one of the foundations of your success.

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Published: July 14, 2005

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