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Becoming more future oriented

From a personal point of view I have been working on becoming less future oriented as I approach my semi-retirement. What though if you are someone who is in an earlier chapter of your career
. Perhaps you want to develop your career further and/or maybe you have been asked to take on some project work. Being aware of what you need to do, the time frames involved and the potential risks and consequences of your action can help you plan your future more effectively.

Here are some thoughts, based on Zimbardo and Boyd’s book “The Time Paradox”:

  • Set some personal and/or professional goals that you would like to achieve today, tomorrow and within the month. Write them down and check your progress regularly. Keeping a weekly diary where you note down your achievements each week is a good way to keep an eye on how you are doing.
  • Keep an eye on time – wear a watch, use your phone or tablet.
  • Practice visualising meeting your goals. As an aside this is also a useful technique for job interviews and important meetings. Mentally walk yourself through the interview/meeting beforehand to ensure you have considered what you might be asked and how you can reply and contribute to its success.
  • Have a “to do” list – be clear about what needs to be achieved today, this week and within the month. Make sure you know which your most important task is each day. Tick items off when they are done.
  • Remember the world is grey – it’s a lot less black and white than you think.
  • Always keep a longer term reward in mind. I am well known for wanting to have my next holiday set up to look forward to, even if it is six months away.
  • Spend time with people with a future orientation to find out more about how they see the world.

You can find out more about your approach to time by taking their free questionnaire: http://www.thetimeparadox.com/zimbardo-time-perspective-inventory/.

Do choose one of these ideas to try out and remember to track your progress. Being more future oriented does mean that you are often able to anticipate problems, particularly in project work, before they cause difficulties; something which is a useful skill to have and will help ensure the success of your work.

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