Why should we set goals?
In his book "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School", Mark McCormack tells of a study conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard BA programme. In that year, the students were asked:
"Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?"
3% of the graduates had written goals and plans
13% had goals, but they were not in writing
84% had no specific goals at all
Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again and the findings were:
The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all
The 3% who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% put together
If this isn't motivation enough for you to start writing down your goals, then consider this...
In another study, it was shown that people who write down the goals and tasks they want to achieve that day are likely to be 10% more productive than people who don't.
So we can conclude the evidence is strong that we need to write down our goals for the long term, and for the short term daily tasks that will get us there.
What should we be doing?
Have a notebook or pad next to your work space and capture every task, thought or idea to be worked on, as they come up. Put on the list the things that will get you to your main long term goal
Assign a priority to each task. I use this method:
A - tasks that are critical to the accomplishment of business strategy or long term goals
B - tasks that develop the systems and procedures that make me/the organisation/business more efficient and therefore more effective
C - everything else
I then assign numbers to order the priority on each of the As and Bs
At the end of every day, select the top three things you would like to accomplish the following day, assign the amount of time you will work on each, write them down on a Post It note and put it in a prominent place. Stay focused on achieving these three things for the day
The only thing you now have to be concerned about is how to manage the pesky interruptions from other people. But that's for another blog on another day...