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While reading an All Things Digital review of an application called Lift, I started to think about the place of goals in a workplace or personal setting. Often people talk about setting personal goals as a way to advance an individual’s life, and while we may set long term professional goals, daily tasks and weekly goals may get underestimated even though they are the building blocks of long term goals and aspirations.

Lift helps users to organize and keep track of a variety of goals and tasks, and gives users the opportunity to support each other in a social network that focuses on maintaining and reaching goals. Lift may be useful for employees to keep track of their professional and personal goals by giving them a structure and timeline for getting things done, but more than that, the principles that Lift employs are critical in any workplace. While many of us have long term professional goals, it is important to remember that short term goals and tasks contribute to a big whole, and that setting goals and organizing a schedule are important to personal and professional success.

Plan Your Week

At the beginning of the week it is important to look at the tasks you need to get done throughout the whole month, and then to allocate them to your working weeks so that you can work towards an ultimate goal. Taking an hour or two at the beginning of a week to plan the week’s work can help you to keep on track and measure your progress. As far as setting employment goals, there are some basic principles you can implement to get the most out of your goal-setting process.

Be Specific

When setting goals, it is important to be specific about what you want and what you need to do. Writing “improve social media engagement” is a decent reminder, but it does not provide any strategies for achieving the goal, whereas “post on Facebook twice a day to improve social media engagement” will. Setting specific goals gives you the tools and guidance you need to improve and attain those goals.

Choose Goals that Are Measurable

Setting yourself goals that can be easily measured is also important. This is not possible for every aspect of every working position, but mixing up your goals between those that can and cannot be measured will help. Being able to measure goals is a really important part of staying motivated, so setting goals that you can observe the direct results of is an important motivational device. While some goals are hard to quantitatively measure, there are others that can be measured qualitatively over time, and sometimes you need to get your coworkers involved.

Asking your coworkers for qualitative feedback on any long term goals can help you to understand what you need to do to achieve the goals you have set, or if you are making progress in the ways that you want. Outside and self-review are an important aspect of the goal-setting process, so creating a timeline for self-evaluation is also a critical aspect of the process. Reviewing your goals every week or couple of weeks can help to assess if you are progressing the way that you want, and whether you need to change your goal-setting or goal-achieving strategy.

Making Sure Your Goals Are Attainable

While it is good to set your standards high, it is also important to set goals that push you to progress, but that are also attainable. Setting goals that are too difficult to achieve will make you feel disheartened when you do not achieve them. The purpose of setting goals is to create measures of progress, so creating a set of goals that are attainable helps you to feel inspired and progress.

Set Goals That Are Relevant

When considering the types of goals that you want to set, it is important to have a greater end goal in mind. While you might have a general goal to be a better employee, it is important to develop sub goals to make this possible. Being a better employee involves progressing the company, so while your ultimate end is to be more valuable, improving and growing your company should be the goal that your other goals center on.

Making your goals relevant to your current situation is also an important aspect of attainability. Setting a goal to play the violin in a large local orchestra when you have never played a musical instrument before is not a relevant goal, neither is it attainable, but setting a goal to be able to play a simple violin piece at next year’s family reunion is.

Establish a Timeline

Aiming to complete certain goals within a set frame of time can give you the push to get things done in good time, and to make sure that you organize your time effectively. When creating a timeline for goals it is important to keep attainability in mind, and then review your timeline according to what you have completed and what you think you can complete. Do not bite off more than you can chew. The purpose of goal setting is to measure progress, and pushing yourself too hard leads to stress and work that lacks the quality it would have had otherwise.

Taking the time to plan and coordinate your tasks for the week or day is a crucial aspect of working smart. When we plan, we start to organize our daily and weekly tasks, we lay out what we need to do things, and we start a process of success. So, if you don’t already, take the time to plan some long and short term goals to help you progress personally and professionally.

Sources

Goode, Lauren. “On the Road to Self-Betterment, Apps That Keep You on Track.” All Things Digital. http://allthingsd.com/20130603/on-the-road-to-self-betterment-apps-that-keep-you-on-track/. (5 May, 2013).

“Setting Employee Goals effectively Is Critical to Your Success.” Success Factors. http://www.successfactors.com/en_us/lp/articles/setting-goals-effectively.html  (5 May, 2013).