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Following Through: A Time Management Pamphlet

Following Through: A Time Management Pamphlet

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Published by larry tyler
A brief pamphlet illustrating the distinction between behavior and intentions in time management.
A brief pamphlet illustrating the distinction between behavior and intentions in time management.

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Published by: larry tyler on Nov 07, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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TIME MANAGEMENT: Following Through

A Brief Instructional Handout
By Larry Tyler, M.Ed


It's been said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." That means that intending to do something isn't worth anything unless you follow through on your good intentions. In other words, the roads that lead to failure, unhappiness, prison, and bankruptcy also can be paved with good intentions. If we don't honor our commitments, our good intentions are wasted efforts. It usually isn't hard to see what needs to be done around us, and most of us have no problem making a pledge to do it. We might even dive in and get started on it. But when we don't follow through on a project, when we don't get it done, we can expect guilt to start nagging at us. What do we do with guilt? Most of us learn how to push it away with excuses. Whether our excuses are successful in pushing the guilt away or not, the fact remains: We made a commitment to do something and didn't follow through on it. If we want to get something accomplished, we have to do more than want to do it; we have to do it. The difference is a difference between behavior and intentions.

Read the two columns below and make sure you can see the contrast between behavior (followthrough) and intentions (promises).


BEHAVIOR (follow through) is… Observable (you can see it's been done) Determined by action (it's actually done) Measurable (you can see the change) Clear cut (Did it or didn’t do it) Easily rewarded (thanks for doing it) Usually provable (here's the results) Empowering (I can succeed!)

INTENTIONS (promises) are… Invisible (there's nothing to see) Subject to opinions (maybe it’s been done) Not measurable (how hard did he try?) Often complicated (with convoluted excuses) Not easily rewarded (did you really try?) Resolved by persuasion (trust me, I tried) Hampered by failures (can I succeed?)

When you measure progress by behavior, the person making the change is accountable. When you look at promises and intentions, others end up being responsible. You hear things like, "You've got to give me credit…I tried…You have to forgive me." Behavior doesn't assure success; it only assures that an effort was made. With both children and adults, effort is praiseworthy.

LEARNING TO COMPLIMENT EFFORT Complimenting effort means observing something positive a person did and acknowledging it. If it seems to you that the person's effort was in the wrong direction, there are ways to point that out without discouraging the person from trying again. The question, “Why did you do that?” (or “Why didn’t you do that?”) encourages a person to respond with excuses, blaming, and manipulation. The answer usually is, “I intended to…but…” On the other hand, the questions, “What do you need to do so that doesn’t happen again?” or “What are your plans to make sure this can happen?” invite the person to take charge of decision making and follow through. If you separate the intention from the behavior, you can acknowledge that commitment is a good start, but can also help guide the person toward a working plan.

A Note About This Pamphlet… Thank you for taking a look at this article. If you found it helpful and it sparked some creative ideas, I'd like to suggest that you check out the Free Preview of A Hundred Handouts on the Scribd website. A Hundred Handouts is an online book you can purchase and download for just $4 that is filled with questionnaires, diagrams, surveys, and informational material, written in Microsoft Word format. You can download and use these handouts in individual and group therapy sessions, evaluations, classrooms and clinical supervision. The informational pamphlet you are reading now uses one of the handouts in that book, "Two Ways To Measure Progress" and demonstrates how you can make minor revisions and integrate the handout into a lesson plan or project. A Hundred Handouts has over a dozen categories to help you search for the most effective written material for the next project you're planning. These categories can help you locate and copy handouts for anger management, cooccurring disorders, depression, anxiety, addictions, and many other topics. The electronic format also makes it easy to search for key words or specific types of treatment, such as treatment for depression or trauma, therapy groups for corrections clients or parenting courses. There are educational handouts for clinical supervisors or teachers to use for skills development, and aids to treatment planning and assessment. I hope you take just a couple minutes to look it over and see if it is something you might find valuable in your work. A Hundred Handouts by Larry Tyler, M.Ed, LADC, CCS …Also, check out zupare.com

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