The Gift of Time

“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” – Bil Keane

It feels quite apt to be writing about time management on the 2nd February, a date made famous in movie history by Phil Connors (played by the wonderful Bill Murray), who got to relive Groundhog Day over and over again in snowy Punxsutawney. I wrote this blog post from my National Express bus, trying to make the most of my five and a half hour journey back to South Wales after a week of birthday celebrations and visiting friends.

There are only 55 days left until my planned move to Central Asia, which means that my time living in the UK (on this occasion) is coming nearer to an end. And so bearing this timeline in mind, I feel it’s important that I make the most of my free time here.

Setting Goals
Many of you will have heard of SMART goals before – I’ve found this to be a good model to follow when I’ve set goals. Here’s a summary:

Specific – what is it you are wanting to achieve?
Measurable – how will you know if you’ve achieved your goal?
Agreed Upon – if this goal involves others, have they agreed to the conditions?
Realistic – is it feasible that you’ll be able to achieve the goal with your current resources?
Time-Based – when are you aiming to have completed your goal by?

Currently when I have a free evening in South Wales (depending on my mood and energy levels) I’m trying to commit to spending time working on some of my plans and preparations for Kazakhstan until just before 10pm, when my mind begins to switch off and I choose to relax with a show on Netflix. What can you do today that will be a little step forward in your preparations for going? It may be spending time practising the language, reading a book about the culture or researching an estimated budget for living in the country you’re planning to move to.

I begun setting larger goals, and then broke these down into smaller components, setting shorter deadlines for when I want to have the next step completed. I’ve found that by having a list of tasks I want to complete, I’ve been able to achieve more than when I wasn’t setting such goals. As I have different evening commitments each week, I try to plan in advance what I want to achieve. It’s important for there to be flexible in all this; some of the deadlines I set have to change when something else needs to take priority.

Areas for Goals
Not all of the goals I set are directly related to my practical preparations for Kazakhstan; some are good habits I’m trying to keep, such as going to the gym regularly and making times to Skype with friends. However I do believe preparation for a move overseas involves every area of my life. Below are the different areas in which I try to set SMART goals:

  • Financial: The managing of my money, both income and outcome
  • Mental: The skills and abilities I’m looking to maintain and develop
  • Physical: My rhythm of exercise, diet and sleep
  • Social: My relationships with my friends, family and support team
  • Spiritual: My personal relationship with God
  • Vocational: My roles at work, including how to finish them well

I’ll be sharing more about how to prepare for a move overseas with regard to each of the above areas over the coming weeks.

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