SELF MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST
- Specify a clear cut goal you want to accomplish. And be very
specific. Like I'll write for four hours a day, or run three miles, or
do 30 push ups, or can 24 quarts of tomatoes, or spend an hour
- Specify when you'll do it. Like everyday, Monday through
Friday, or every morning, seven days a week, or at 10:00 am on Thursday.
- Record your hit rate. Make a record of your successes and
your failures, like a graph of the numbers of hours per day or a note on
your calendar of the number of miles run each day.
- Make a public commitment. Tell someone what your goals and
your deadline are. And even ask them to check on you to see if you got
it done. That's a subtle way of arranging for a little mild social
reward or punishment, approval or disapproval, depending on whether you
get the job done. No big deal, but it helps.
- Add an explicit penalty for failure, if you need to. Tell
your monitor you'll pay them a quarter or a dollar or take them out to
lunch for each of your failures. But keep the penalty small, almost at a
joke level, otherwise everyone will start getting uptight, and you're
liable to fib a bit.
- Think small. Don't try to make up for your past sins in a
single day. If you've got a hundred letters to write, don't contact to
do them all right away. A postcard a day may be infinitely better than
you're doing now. Going for too much too soon is why many people fail at
self-management. That's a big one so watch out for it.
- Specify the amount of product you're going to produce. If
simply specifying the amount of time you're going to log in doesn't do
the trick, in other words, if you just sit there goofing off, specify
the number of rows you're going to knit, the number of pages you're
going to read, or whatever.
- Get a timer that beeps every five minutes and chart whether
you're on task, if you find yourself drifting off too much. This is
especially good when you might have trouble measuring the amount of the
product. Like when you're doing spring cleaning, but may get distracted
too easily by Better Homes and Gardens.
- Arrange for regular contact with your monitor, daily or weekly as
needed. This is another one of those week points in the system. It
helps to put your self-management project on the agenda with someone you
meet with regularly and formally, a superior, a peer, or a sub-ordinate
-- it doesn't matter.
- Arrange for your friend to monitor your graphing as well as your
goal attainment. I think it's important to keep a good record of
your performance so you'll be motivated not to mess up that pretty
record, but you might also need to contract your charting, or that
charting may fall out.
- "Put Satan behind you." Get rid of distractions. Try to do
your work when and where no one can bother you. Watch out for that
phone. And we can blow a whole morning sorting through our junk mail and
new magazines. Get as many tempting distractions out of your work
environment as possible. Put the axe to the TV set.
- Recycle. Your self-management project may not work the first
time you try it. And it will certainly fall apart from time to time, so
be prepared with some scotch tape and bubble gum to put it back together
again. Remember, you do not demean yourself by using these explicit
self-management techniques. Use them and you'll be in the company of
some of the world's most productive people.
- Richard W. Malott
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