“Where there is no vision, the people perish..” Proverbs 29:18.
While there are exegetical explanations on the text above, we will go to the fundamental concept of goal setting and task management-
Without a goal, we are directionless like headless chickens. People who don’t know where they are heading consume time, energy and resources but the effort is not value adding.
Since today is the 1st day of a new year, IMO, the best time to review basic goal setting and task management. No, this is not the nosebleed approach, we will not delve on the higher and lower level statements attributed to goals and objectives. Just enough to put an order to our day to day affairs.
What is a goal?
Stephen Covey said it this way, “begin with the end in mind”. A goal is where you are suppose to be heading. Objectives and goals are the same, but some groups differentiated the two, with goals as something generic and cannot be measured while an objective is specific and measurable. For purposes of simplicity, let’s assume that goals and objectives are the same.
Goals can be classified into three:
- Life time or generational goals- This type is something that you work for a lifetime, and may need to be passed to the next generation. Likewise, please note that this is not man initiated, lifetime goals is birth from heaven inspired visions. Example- The birth of the nation Israel. The promise/ vision was given to Abraham, passed on to Isaac, then to Jacob. The completion of that took several more generations. Moses served as catalyst but it was thru Joshua that the goal was achieved.
- Long term goals- This type can be a sub-goal of a life time goal, or independent . A work related 5 year strategic plan which your boss asked you to prepare is an example of a long term goal that may not be related to your life time goal.
- Short term goals- In contrast with long term goals, this is something that can be achieved in a shorter period of time. Likewise, can be a sub goal to the 1st two types. Example- A long term goal is to graduate an Engineering course, and a sub short term goal is to pass calculus.
What is the difference of Projects and a Tasks?
For example, one goal of mine to is establish authority in the area of Spiritual Intelligence as Framework for WAVE [work, attitude,values and ethics] and one of the projects I am embarking to make this goal tangible, is to publish a book.
- Project: publish a book about WAVE.
- Create an outline
- Research on content
- Write the content
- Seek opinion of others
- Get a copy writer
- Source a publisher
- Conceptualize a marketing plan
- Publish a few copies of the book
- Book launching
The process has given us not only the big picture, but also the roadmap on how to get to the goal. But from here it’s not done yet, there is a need to add more details in each of the tasks. Consider putting time frame, budget/ resources needed, and a list of people that can help in each of the task. So from the big picture, we have to go “micro”.
Get a good tool that can help you keep track of your progress. I use a combination of apps in my windows phone to help me. A smartphone is very useful for this.
All of the above discussion is useless unless we are disciplined enough to walk away from desires or behavior that will distract and divert us from our goal.
For work related goals, there are enough motivators that can keep you going, commonly used by companies is the carrot and stick approach. But what about personal goals? How do you keep yourself motivated and become an achiever?
A good practice before embarking on a personal project, is to answer several layers of “why” questions. If the answers ignite the “fire” in you, that is good. If not, why get into something that your heart is not into? Get into something that you enjoy otherwise, the risk of quitting is there.
As side-note, the process of goal setting and taks management exemplifies how we exercise leadership and management. Seeking heaven sent lifetime goal is personal leadership, setting up goals and how we get there is leadership. While making sure what is needed on each tasks is defined and provided, check up points are set up and schedules are followed is management.
Hope you find this helpful. Appreciate if you could share some tips too.