When it comes to goals and becoming your best self, time is your most critical resource. Time represents potential. Each day you’re allocated another 1440 minutes to do whatever you like. Direct it towards the right things and magic can happen!

But time management is tricky and life can make peak productivity feel elusive. Everything from distractions, to stress, chaos and confusion can squander your time and keep you from your finish line.

But that doesn’t mean things can’t change. The reality is your time is always in your control.

And if you learn to master these three critical timescales, you’ll be well on your way to thinking bigger, achieving more, while you enjoy today.

1. 13 weeks

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” Jack Kornfield

How often have you set a goal and then NOT achieved it?

Here’s a scary truth… you’re in the minority if you successfully take a goal across the finish line! Achieving goals is hard because there’s so much that can get in our way.

Which creates a new question.. How can you stack the odds in your favor?

One proven way is by working within a 13-week timescale. 13 weeks is the goal-setting sweet spot because this timescale is long enough to achieve something significant, yet short enough to fend off procrastination.

When you give yourself too much time, it’s far too easy to procrastinate. Life happens and that means a finish line that’s years off creates too much space to delay and dither. It’s all-too-easy for that internal dialogue to talk you out of taking action. “I can do that later” is a persuasive argument when you have a truckload of tasks competing for your attention!

You don’t get that procrastination luxury with a 13-week time limit because your deadline is always in plain sight. If your why is sufficiently powerful, a tighter deadline will force you to get focused and do the work that closes the gap.

But that’s not all…

Imagine how much more you could achieve and how much further you could go if you crushed an important goal every 13 weeks?

In this way, the 13-week strategy doesn’t just increase your productivity; it’s also a way to quadruple your output every year. So if you’re looking for a fast-track to more success, 13-week sprints could well be it!

2. Win the Day

“The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” - John C. Maxwell

Have you ever hit the pillow feeling super frustrated because you’re not sure what you actually accomplished - even though you were super busy all day long?

Unfortunately, being busy is not the same as being productive.

It’s possible to be snowed under and continuously on it, and still not move the needle.

That’s because productivity is about working on the right stuff rather than any old stuff! If you’re constantly checking off the easy tasks or getting distracted by other people’s priorities, your goals won’t happen. Harsh, but true.

Win The Day is a mantra that can inspire you to be more discerning about how you spend your 1440 daily minutes.

Imagine how much better life would feel [and how you’d feel about yourself], if every day made a dent.

You can achieve this when you’re clear on the bigger picture tasks that make a difference. Instead of fire-fighting or checking through a list of to-dos, get clear on what tasks matter.

Then plan your day to ensure these tasks have your top priority and don’t get pushed.

It’s so easy to delay your goals because other things shout louder.

But you’ll forever be stuck in the pattern of “I’ll do that later” UNLESS you take a different approach.

Remember, not all tasks are created equally. Pareto’s Law states that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your actions. Put Pareto’s Law to work and you could Win The Day.

And if you Win The Day every day - you’ll also win the week, the month, the quarter, the year, the decade [you get the picture!]

3. 30 minutes

"Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time." - Jim Rohn

Time is not renewable. You can’t hit the pause button and you can’t rewind. Once the minutes have passed, they are gone forever.

So why are we so willing to squander our minutes and give them so little meaning?

While 13-week planning and the intention to Win The Day takes care of the bigger picture stuff, the biggest shifts happen when you master your minutes.

And for this, 30-minute time slots are a game-changer.

Instead of tackling your day as a whole unit, break it down into 30-minute sections. This granular planning allows you to approach your day like a jigsaw puzzle. When you know how long each task will take to complete, you can fit these tasks into your day to create maximum results.

Parkinson’s Law is critical here!

This law states that a task will expand to fit the time window you give it. In other words, if you give a 90-minute task the entire day, that’s how long it will take you!

Zero-hours scheduling is a powerful technique that will help you stretch time - so you can get more done in less time. However, this isn’t about packing so much into your day that you soon burn out. Use your daily 30-minute timeline to plan EVERYTHING.

Your daily plan should be a combination of work PLUS dedicated, quality time for wellbeing, relationships, hobbies, passions, meditation, learning, reading - whatever your best self needs to feel fulfilled.

When it comes to your goals, time can be your best friend. You just have to figure out how to make the minutes work for you.

Focusing on these three timescales will inspire a massive leap forward.

And if you want to put these timescales to work, the Self Journal’s structure has you covered.