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  5. Create a Timeline for your Goal

After Break Large Goals into Sub-Goals, you need to create a timeline in order to properly create a schedule and make progress towards your goal. Creating a timeline takes your goal from something that will happen in the future and moves it into the present. A timeline also creates a commitment to achieve your goal.

Creating a timeline consists of the following steps:

  • Decide on a reasonable amount of time that it will take to complete your goal. This may involve completing the following steps first.
  • Decide how long each sub-goal will take. Always give yourself extra time as things generally take longer than expected.
  • Understand how much time you can commit each day or week to working towards your goal
  • Taking into account how long it takes to complete a goal and how much time you can commit to it, schedule when to start each sub-goal

One strategy for ensuring that you schedule your goals correctly is to start at the end and work backwards. Decide when you want to have finished your sub-goal then count backwards in your calendar and schedule the day when you will start it.

When you are scheduling your sub-goals it can be useful to identify milestones — these can help you track your progress as well as give you a sense of accomplishment. Milestones are good times to celebrate your progress and reward yourself.

Speaking of reward systems, make sure you reward yourself for your accomplishments — even make reward time for yourself in your schedule. This will help keep you motivated and keep your interest in achieving your goals.

Time management

It can be tempting to over schedule yourself. Be careful of this — it can lead to failure and discouragement. Be patient. If you work towards your goal even a little at a time you will get there eventually. It is a good idea to always budget extra time. We often underestimate how long it takes to complete something. Also, having extra time on your side can help reduce stress.

After reviewing your tasks you may realize that some tasks can be dropped and some can be combined. For example, exercise in front of the TV or listen to audio booksExternal Link when you are driving. Don’t double up if it compromises your focus, concentration, or ability to properly perform the activity. Doubling up on too many things can also increase stress.

If you find that time seems to be passing but you never seem to know where it goes, or if you would like to optimize your schedule then consider keeping a time log. Keeping a time log for several days or a week will help you to see how you spend your time. Keeping a time log involves recording how you spend you time every minute of the day. Here is an example:


7:00 am — wake up

7:15 — 8:00 am — shower, get ready for work

8:00 — 8:37 am — commuting to work

8:37 — 9:05 am — reading email

9:05 — 9:30 am — reading favorite websites



Tracking progress

As you work, make sure you track your progress against your initial estimates. This can help you feel a sense of accomplishment as you see the progress you are making. It will also let you know how accurate your initial time estimates were. It can be very difficult to make accurate time estimates so if you find your initial estimates were off then just re-adjust them. However, try not to continually give yourself extra time. It can be rewarding to buckle down and meet a self imposed deadline.

Related Pages

Record Your Goals
Prioritize Your Goals
Break Large Goals into Sub-Goals
Create a Timeline for your Goal
Breaking a Sub-goal into Tasks
Following Through