Saturday, October 01, 2016
The Write Way to Get More Done  

Everyone is busy these days, and we all want to find that additional time to get everything done. Time is a precious resource, and no matter what we might wish for, we only have twenty-four hours in a day. There is no use looking for more hours. Instead, the key is to use our hours in a more efficient manner. The most important way to be more efficient is to be clear about how we spend our hours.

One way to develop that clarity of purpose is to have written goals. Many time management experts note that you are more likely to accomplish what you want to complete by writing it down on paper. The very simple exercise of writing down your goals provides that clarity of purpose that helps you be more efficient. As a Dominican University study noted, those who wrote down their goals were more likely to achieve those goals than those who did not write down their goals. Given this, it seems that it only makes sense to begin a habit of writing down your goals.

Right now, you might think to yourself that you already keep a “To Do” list and be ready to move on to reading something else. The difference is that if you keep a “To Do” list you are still not focusing on your goals. At best, your “To Do” list is simply very short term goals. And each day, you and I get caught up in trying to complete those short term goals. There is nothing wrong with that as we all need to complete tasks that include buying groceries, replacing the light bulb in the hallway, and getting new glasses. The problem is that it does not help us with clarity about long term goals which are the goals that matter and give more meaning to our lives. If we clarify those big goals, we can keep everything else in perspective and not feel frustrated that we are just keeping our heads above water.

How should you do that? Let me suggest one simple three-step method that is easy to follow and can become a vital habit in your efficiency and success.

Step One

The first step is simply to write down your goals on a piece of paper. Write down ten to twenty long term goals. The goals should be written in the present or past tense as if you have already accomplished the goal. Also, the goals should be specific. The more specific you write your goals, the better. For instance, here are some sample goals:

  1. I own a Honda Accord.
  2. I have taken my family on a trip to Rome.
  3. I am the director of sales.
  4. I am an author of a book on selling.
  5. I have a brand new deck out the back door.
  6. I speak Spanish.
  7.  ...
Then put down a deadline next to each goal. The deadline should be an actual date (09/20/2017) not a time span such as a year from now.
  1. I own a Honda Accord by November 30, 2017.
  2. I have taken my family on a trip to Rome by August 31, 2017.
  3. I am the director of a sales by September 30, 2017.
  4. ...

At this point in time you can congratulate yourself as you have done something that only 10% of the American population has done—produced a written list of goals.

Step Two

The next step is take your list and review it twice a day. You should review it once in the morning and once before you go to bed. As you review the goals, you might want to read them out loud. More importantly, read them with the feeling that you will have when you have accomplished the goal. Imagine how you will feel and what you will experience when your goal has been accomplished. You should create a mental picture of living with your accomplished goal. For example, you should picture yourself behind the wheel of your Honda Accord as you drive down the road. Or think about sitting in your new office as the director of sales.

An optional way to review this is to write your lists every morning. This daily approach is helpful in two important ways. First, every day, you go through that important exercise of physically writing down your goals with pen and paper. There is something vitally important about that physical connection with your hand and your mind that helps get the goal completion process going. It is the beginning of the process by which your goal will be met. Namely, what your mind thinks of will be accomplished by your hands. It starts with your hand writing down your mind's idea.

The second benefit of writing new lists each day is that you keep your list of goals fresh. Your list of your ten to twenty long term goals might change over time. If you do not recall all of your goals, your mind is simply deprecating the ones you do not remember in order to make room for ones that are more important to you at that moment. In addition, your mind might be clarifying your goal. For instance, instead of adding a back deck, you decide you would rather add a garage to protect your Honda Accord.

Congratulate yourself again. You have now started doing something that only 5% of Americans do—reviewing your written goals.

Step Three

This last step is optional. However, it can help jump start the process of accomplishing your goals. The process of goal writing and reviewing the goals each day using a vivid imagination works by placing these goals in your subconscious mind. Once your goals are in your subconscious mind, your mind begins to work on how to accomplish the goals. The next thing you know you start drawing people and things to yourself that guide you to completing your goal.

The way to jump start that process is to pick one of your long term goals and begin to write down at least 20 actions that you can take to accomplish that goal. For this activity, you might want to pick a goal that will have the most important impact upon your life. Take out a fresh piece of paper and write that goal at the top. Then in a manner similar to brain storming, simply write 20 actions that will help you reach that goal. Another tip is to make it fun. Here is a sample:

I have taken my family on a trip to Rome by August 31, 2017.
  1. Setup an automatic payment that saves money to a trip account.
  2. Research plane tickets for flying to Rome.
  3. Speak with Mary and John who went to Rome a few years ago.
  4. Research the places we would want to see when we are in Rome.
  5. Look at options for where to stay.
  6. Get the kids excited to go on the trip by setting up a trip fund jar in the kitchen. Any spare change is put in the jar. Check the jar every so often and plan to use it to buy gelato once you get to Rome.
  7. Get everyone thinking about Italy by eating Italian food, watching shows on traveling to Rome, and learning some simple Italian phrases.


In order to get more done, you need clarity about what you are trying to get done. One effective way to gain clarity is to have clearly defined written goals which are specific and have a deadline. These goals should be long term goals that have a major impact upon your life. In addition to writing them down, these goals should be reviewed in the morning and the evening every day. As you train your mind to clarify what you want, you will keep focused on your goals and become better at prioritizing everything else that competes for your time and attention.

Posted by David at 7:30 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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