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Career Coach: Time to Review

Jean Ann Wright finishes her series on writing for television animation with some tips on how to add comedy and gags to your script.

The end of the year is a good time to do self assessment and set goals for 2003. We all have the same amount of time 365 days in a year and 24 hours in a day. What you do with your time is what makes the difference.

Review Your Goals

What did you accomplish this year? What did you learn? What did you want to do but never got around to? Is it still important to you?

Set new long range goals and write them down or make a dream board that visually depicts them.

To do this, think about:

What makes you happy. What activities business and personal bring you the most pleasure? What would you enjoy learning more about?

What your skills are. What do you do better than anyone else?

Areas that need strengthening. In what ways do you want to grow and develop? What important areas have you been avoiding because youre afraid youll fail? What skills would you need to acquire to succeed in those areas?

What the trends are. What skills is your company looking for in new hires? What skills are in demand by employers you want to work for?

Whether you can get the cooperation of others. Dont be shy about asking for support for your goals from your family and friends. To accomplish your goals you will need the help of those around you. Make sure those people know how important your goals are to you.

Make a plan on how to achieve your goals.

If you know what your long-term goals are, you can take action toward your top priorities each day.

Heres how to use your time to meet your long-range goals:

Review long range goals.

Devise strategy/plan to meet goals. Make list of steps to reach goals.

Make list of daily to dos relevant to goals. To spend time on tasks that will help you accomplish something of real value, make a to-do list.

When you make a to do list, weigh the activities for their personal and professional importance. Dont spend time on tasks that dont advance you toward your goals. To accomplish something of real value, set a list of priorities and stick to it.

To set daily priorities:

Make a list of everything you should do tomorrow. Highlight those tasks which:

give you the best return on your time and energy

are essential to your goals

are essential to the goals of your company

can be done only by you

Rate the tasks in order of importance #1 being most urgent, etc.

If you have set daily priorities, at the end of every day you should have done something toward reaching your goals. These small steps will eventually lead to larger accomplishments.

Acting on priorities:

Review your to do list and start the day with top priority jobs and stick to them. Visualize yourself completing the task and get started. Picture the rewards youll get and make sure those rewards are meaningful to you. Whenever your motivation lags, use this visualization method to get revved up again.

Do the most important tasks first. Your daily priorities should help you toward reaching your long-term goals. Spend time on tasks with the greatest potential payoff.

On your daily priority list include items from the long-term list that will move you toward your goals. Take some action toward your top long-range priorities each day.

Delegate lower priority jobs, if you can. If you have to do them yourself, take a 5 or 10 minute break for them. Dont work on them for longer than the short break. Schedule another short break for them later. On your daily priority list include items from the long-term list that will move you toward your goals. Take some action toward your top long-range priorities each day.

Delegate lower priority jobs, if you can. If you have to do them yourself, take a 5 or 10 minute break for them. Dont work on them for longer than the short break. Schedule another short break for them later.

Here is an example of a long-range goal and an action plan/strategy and to do list/priority list to accomplish it:

Set goal: Get a new job in the animation industry.

Stategy/plan includes making five new contacts per week, attending two networking meetings per month, reviewing and updating resume, portfolio and demo reel, and submitting marketing materials to at least five employers per week.

To do list: Review and update resume. Make new demo reel. Draw animals at the zoo. Attend life drawing class to beef up portfolio. Ask friends to help review marketing materials. Ask friends for job leads.

Review Your Budget

Pay attention not only to what you are spending your money on, but, more importantly, what you spend your time on. Avoid distractions like television, email, Internet and video games. These all can consume your day in no time.

If you havent been paying attention to what you are spending your money on, start now. Know what your financial needs are and start saving a little each month.

Review goals and priorities regularly to ensure that you are using every day to reach your objectives. Life is full of change and whats important to you today may not be vital in the future. Be flexible and re-evaluate regularly to be sure that your life is on track with where you want to be and where you want to go.

If you dont have enough time to do a large task, realize that all big accomplishments were done one small step at a time. The first step is the hardest. Begin the journey today.

Resource: Managing Your Priorities from Start to Success by William Bond. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Trade, 1996. 150 pages. ISBN: 0786303875 (US$16.95).

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a career coach and recruiter who plans on setting some long-range goals that will help her make the most of 2003.

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