Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Take Ten Goal Technique

Do you have that list of things you would like to do that you think would be a direct benefit personally? Been meaning to attend a spin class? Has Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover been sitting unopened on your nightstand for months? Or maybe you just want 30 minutes to sit and meditate?

Most of us are filled with ideas and tasks that we would like to accomplish because we would improve and grow personally. But these same ideas and tasks are generally the first thing to go because of a hectic schedule or just plain life in general. People, especially women, tend to sacrifice certain "wants" in order to make sure the wants and needs of others are fulfilled. Why are we so willing to move these personal benefit items to the bottom of the priority list when ultimately they may lead to a better quality of life in the long run?

1. Selfish and frivolous. Putting our own needs first is often construed as selfish. Society has conditioned us to think that it is a negative thing to try to take care of ourselves every once in a while.
2. No immediate benefit seen.  When you've got work to do, dinner to make and kids to drop off at practice, squeezing in 30 minutes of exercise not only seems impossible but also doesn't appear to result in an immediate benefit for anybody.

Enter the Take Ten Technique. At the end of each workday, after you have completed your work but before you head to the car, take ten minutes to make a plan of attack for tomorrow for all those "want to do" items that you would get some personal benefit from. Include personal, professional and even financial goals. I picked the end of your workday to complete this task because it is the time when you are least likely to be interrupted (people just want to leave), and you can apply your full attention since you have wrapped up your work day. And don't wait until morning to Take Ten because you may feel too rushed to truly devote yourself to the Take Ten thought process.

How is this different than a to-do list? The purpose goes beyond just listing out items you need to complete. Ten Minute Technique is a way to get you to be thoughtful about what exactly it is you would like to accomplish during your days. It also changes your thought pattern so that you start thinking of these items as something that shouldn't be sent to the bottom of the priority list.

1. Make a list of your personal benefit items. Quickly jot down some personal benefit ideas that have been swimming around in your head. Take a class at the gym? What about having a no-spend day?
2. Carve out small time slots. While there may not be a large block of free time available, you might be able to find 10-15 minute increments where you may be able to work in some personal benefit items.  Doctor or DMV appointment coming up? Make sure you download that investing book you've been wanting to read for the past year so you can read while you wait.
3. Pare down your list.  Take Ten isn't about tackling your grocery list or reminding yourself to go to the dry cleaners. It's about being purposeful when planning your day and making sure to include personal benefit tasks in each day. Review your list and make sure you are only including items that you think will benefit you in the long run.
4. Don't overdo it. If you decide that tomorrow you are going to exercise for two hours, write all the than-you letters you never wrote and start that quilt you've been meaning to work on, then you may be setting yourself up for failure. Be okay with adding in one personal benefit item to your next day's schedule - even if it's only for fifteen minutes.

Take Ten forces you to be thoughtful, get it down on paper and make these personal benefits a priority - all behaviors that have proven to help people more successfully accomplish their goals. So why don't you try to Take Ten today?

Stay tuned,

What techniques do you use to ensure that you are fitting in beneficial activities into your schedule - financial or otherwise?
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