TM4T - Time Management Basics 1: Know your goals

In order to succeed with anything, you must have some idea about what 'success' actually means. Of course, some people do gain happiness by accident, but you are much, much more likely to achieve your goals if you know beforehand what your goals actually are.

Most teachers in the 21st Century live their lives in a rush. We rush to get to school early; rush around doing piles of work - and making piles of work in the process. We dash around, never - so it seems - having enough time to do everything, and feeling mildly guilty as a result. Frequently we find ourselves reacting to others demands and interruptions instead of controlling our lives. As a result, many of us end up exhausted, stressed or depressed.

Now, being busy is good. When we look at really successful people, they are invariably busy. The difference is that their busy-ness, their business, is getting things done which help to achieve their goals; each step intended to take them closer to where they want to be.

These are the first essentials of good time management.You need to have a clear vision of the future in order to be successful; and you need to be busy in order to be successful, and you need to be in control of your life in order to be successful, and you are much more likely to be happy if you can achieve all three. Most teachers can tick the 'busy' box without difficulty, but 'vision' and 'control' both present problems.

Some of the questions you need to ask yourself  may seem rather cliched to some teachers. They are familiar from tacky self-improvement videos and TV stereotypes. However, these questions have become a cliche for a reason: they represent the foundations for many happy and successful people. Ask yourself:

- Where do you want to be in five years time? Ten? Twenty?
- What do you aim to have achieved when you retire?
- When do you want to retire? What do you want to do?
- What are your goals? Not just money and jobs, but family goals; leisure, community, spiritual, social, travel and health goals.
- What are your secret ambitions?

In defining your goals, you are also likely to identify the values that are important to you. These are always there, but we don't always take time to surface them, and to ensure that our lives and priorities reflect them. Successful people tend to be very clear on their values; for example 'importance of education', 'doing God's will', 'hard-work', 'sincerity'. It is, of course, important to be honest with yourself: don't just write down 'what a teacher should say'. If power and money mean a lot to you, then you need to acknowledge this.