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Goal Achievements for Busy People

Whizzzzzzz .. Ding .. Ding .. Flash .. Ding ....... Plop! Many of you mightn't recognise these sounds. But for me they are memories of long lost school holidays. Many hours (and dollars) were spent playing pinball machines or Space Invaders. I was no pinball wizard - but I learnt a life lesson or two as my pocket money disappeared.

You see, life is a bit like an arcade game. We start each game -as each year - with fresh enthusiasm. Then we quickly get caught in frantic efforts just to keep the ball in play - to keep our busy lives on track. Finally, no matter how good we are, our turn runs out and we are left to reflect on how much we've achieved before starting again.

As another year ends, some of you will feel you've achieved a high score, having reached most of the goals you set yourself this time last year. Others - perhaps most - will be frustrated that you couldn't get more done (as I was at the end of most of those games).

So what can pinball teach us?

For a start: it isn't all about rushing. I had some mates who were real arcade artists; they could make their 20 cents last for ages. While they always scored much more than me, they never seemed to work as hard as I did.

Similarly, I'm sure you know at least one of those people who seem to always to get an awful lot done, but never seem to be over-extended in the process.

The secret of achieving more while building up less of a sweat is hard to pin down. Somehow it's a combination of having control, the confidence to pace yourself and the ability to anticipate and be proactive.

Control comes largely from being selective. It's about staying focused on the things that really matter - whether they be the high scoring targets in an arcade game or the 'important' things on our to do lists.

Overriding all of this is an approach of 'less is more'. This, of course, has been the central tenet of the 'simple living' movement for years. But it doesn't mean that we all need to don caftans, light candles and eat chick-pea curry in order to simplify.

You can achieve a lot by the way you set about goal setting and resolution making in the first place. Be honest about ranking your goals by importance - real, personal, deep-down importance -and you will already be introducing selectivity.

Then, by committing not to punish yourself if some of the lower items don't get a look in, you might spend less time rushing and more time on those things that matter.

My pinball playing days are a distant memory. But I still remember that success had more to do with simplicity than complexity. Remember this as you prepare for your next game.

by David Brewster

David Brewster is a Simplicity expert. He helps managers and business owners succeed by finding ways to simplify the way they work, the products they create and the way they communicate. His client's work more effectively and have more, happier customers. David regularly writes and speaks on simplifying work. More articles, downloads and resources are available at his website:

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