Articulating your objectives may have been challenging for you. And getting a handle on how you spend your time was probably a little tedious. Now I am going to suggest that you merge these two activities.
One of the struggles we have as independent workers is focusing on the right things. With more discretionary time than the average worker, it is easy to find ourselves getting roped into other people’s agendas or spending time on things that may be distracting us from our real purpose.
Activity-Objective alignment is an exercise designed to help you understand whether you’re spending your time on activities that are helping you reach your stated objectives.
If you’re using the Return on You worksheets, you should see a list of your discretionary activities on the left. On the right, you should see two columns that when you click inside the cells, display drop-down choices representing your objectives.
Look at each of your discretionary activities and ask yourself, “Which one of my objectives is this activity helping me achieve?” Select that objective from the first column on the right. If the activity rolls up to more than one objective, use the second column on the right to select the second objective. If an activity isn’t helping you achieve any of your objectives, select “none.”
(If you don’t have the Return on You Worksheet, you can easily do this activity manually simply by creating a three-column list. In column 1, write down your discretionary activities. In column 2 and 3 write the objective or objectives the activity is helping you achieve.)
When you’ve completed this activity, you should have a pretty clear sense of the activities that are driving you in the direction you are trying to go and which activities may be distractions.
If you find that you have numerous activities that don’t align to objectives, you might want to go back and re-visit your objectives. Ask yourself if your stated objectives are correct and achievable, given the way you spend your time. If they are, then it’s time for you to take a good, hard look about how you are spending your time.