Some of us had goals set for the year, but can’t seem to get started. Often it comes down to finding the time before or after our jobs to make our mission a reality.
For instance, we might have wanted to lose significant weight this year. But finding the time in between work and commuting becomes a challenge. Added to the fact that work stress makes us want to sit home, eat ice cream and watch Netflix versus hitting the gym.
Or maybe it’s a side hustle and the results aren’t looking good. We need the time and effort but we’re not seeing where it’s going to come from.
I’ve got back on a 9–5 recently to diversify my income, and I can relate. We want to improve our lives and achieve our goals but we still have to provide for our families and meet our financial dreams too.
To get closer than ever to your goals, try these important steps:
Get clearer on your goals
One of the biggest impediments to any goal is being clear on what the goal actually is. If you’re not sure what your objectives are before or after work, then it brings confusion and ineffectiveness.
Having unclear goals like “lose weight,” “start a business” or “spend more time with family” won’t work with the time you have around your job.
Get more specific using numbers, timeframes and the actual activity. For example: “ Lost 20 pounds by December 2019 going to X gym 5 days weekly.”
Clarity on your goals can also help you reverse engineer the steps needed to achieve your goal. You can break it down into hours and tasks, making it easier to compound your results in the limited time you have after your full-time job.
Keep your WHY top of mind
Before, during, and after work, keeping the reason why you want what you want at the forefront. It can be the difference between success and failure.
Despite the demands on our time during work, we have one life to live. During that thing called life, we want to lift ourselves and others up. And our jobs may be the path to that, whether we like it or not.
Your WHY should be bigger than your job.
Have you truly determined WHY you want what you want? What about it is important. Is it more important than your job?
Carve time out at your job to be mindful of your personal goals. Keep reminders at your desk or in your workspace to help you focus on what’s really important. Set an alarm a few times in the day as a prompt to keep your WHY top of mind.
Focus on energy use more than time use
It sounds simple to say just work on your goals before and after work. You spend a couple of hours each day commuting, 8–9 hours at work, and at most 9 hours asleep (rare and extremely lucky persons). If you have a family, you need to carve out some time for them too. So what are you doing with the few hours that are left?
The more important question is, what’s your energy level like during the time that’s left?
Take an energy audit during the time you’re working on your goals. When is your energy highest?
That’s when you should be working on your goals. Carve out this time to do what you want to do. Even if it means waking up earlier or asking for a time adjustment at work.
Also, assess and look for ways to improve your energy levels. Find ways you can manage your energy at work so you can have more in the tank later. Incorporating exercise, if your goal does not involve it, is an effective means of improving overall mental and physical energy.
But W.I.N your time when you do have it
The phrase What’s Important Now was made famous by football coach Lou Holtz. At any stage of prep or a game, the coach would remind his players to ask themselves in that moment,
What’s Important Now?
When you have the time to work on your goals before, during or after work, there are many things vying for your attention. From your phone to friends asking you out for drinks, Netflix, and so on.
Asking yourself the question at the time you feel yourself slipping into bad habits can bring you back to the present moment to work on your goals in the vital time you have around your full-time job.
Tie goal habits to work routines
Work often evolves into automaticity. We wake up at the same time, do the same steps, take the same route to get there, and often do the same tasks.
As boring as that may sound, you can leverage your existing behavior to get your goals realized.
- For instance, tie a habit to brushing your teeth, like doing 30 squats.
- Your goals to read or grow a business can happen while you’re commuting to work.
- If you go to the same place for lunch, you can carve out 30 minutes to do some writing.
Review your day and see where you can slap on steps to making your goals become just as habitual.
What can you outsource?
Your job takes away your time but it provides you with money in return.
While we can leverage less of our time in a job, we can leverage more of our money.
With the gig economy and businesses created to solve almost any problem, we can find the right persons to help us get closer to our goals.
Leveraging other people’s time multiples our output. It’s why you get paid at a job, your company leverages your time because they’re busy achieving their goals. Why not do the same?
For a few dollars, you can hire a VA to do tasks that would take you hours per week after work. Get someone to clean your house, get a healthy food subscription, or hire a coach to help keep you accountable or speed up success.
If you’re serious about your goal, you’ll invest time into it. When you don’t have the time, you’ll invest money.
Automating works too
If money is a concern, you can look for ways to automate the steps to achieve your goals. Often goals can require a serious amount of will power to achieve.
If you can make some tasks automatic, then it’s not up to emotion and you have a better chance of success.
That can mean setting up automated bank transfers, automated email responses, or using applications like IFTTT, which can take one or more tasks and create a workflow. For instance, once I publish a post on Medium, IFTTT automatically publishes the post to my social media profiles.
Research how you can automate the time-consuming or low-value tasks required to achieve your goals. Someone out there has done it before.
Your goals should not be placed on hold for your full-time job. It’s important that we hold our jobs down, but we still have parts of our lives that need attention too.
Get clearer on what and why you want those goals and find ways to optimize, outsource, and automate as you go along.
More importantly, guard your energy as much as you should your time. And throw that energy into the 20% goal tasks that will give an 80% return.
You can do it!