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Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

Everyone has heard of the concept of goal setting, but how many people actually use it in their working lives?

If you don’t currently set goals to help you achieve what needs doing, maybe it’s time to start. Even if you consider yourself to be quite productive now, the chances are you could get even more done by taking just a few moments to work out what your goals are for the day ahead.

Learning how to prioritise is an important part of goal setting. It’s not just a question of setting goals – you need to set the right ones in order to experience true success. Think about what needs doing and what things would get you the best results when completed. How can you set goals that will ensure you achieve this?

One key aspect of success lies in focusing correctly. Work backwards from your chosen goal to figure out the steps that will get you to where you want to be. Thinking in terms of “what do I need to do as the next logical step to start working towards my goal?” is a good rule of thumb. This breaks down what may seem to be an insurmountable task into smaller and more manageable steps that are much easier to take.

Don’t forget you can also enlist the support of your work colleagues to get things done. Your job role may not equip you with all the skills you need to reach a particular goal, but people working in another department may be able to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance, or for training in an area which may be of use to you, both now and in the future. Just make sure that whoever you ask for assistance can relate to the importance and the achievability of your objective.

It’s also very important to have a clear timescale in mind for every goal you decide upon. At the same time it should be realistic – otherwise you may become unnecessarily despondent if you don’t achieve it, despite the fact it wasn’t possible to do so in the time frame you gave yourself. Break the goal into chunks and estimate how long it could take to complete each part. This will give you an idea of the total time needed, and how much help you might need to get to the finishing line on time. When setting realistic time frames for your goals, remember that people often over-estimate what can be achieved in one year, and under-estimate what can be achieved in ten years.

Having said that, make sure that you continue to challenge yourself and your team with the goals you set, as well as making sure that your targets are easily measured. Targets without a time frame or a means of measurement become “voluntary”! What gets measured gets done!

Being able to set clear and worthwhile goals and work towards achieving them will also do your work history and performance a lot of good, and it can prepare you for promotion further down the line. In today’s competitive corporate world, that can only be good news.

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