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11 Dec

How to make your goals more easily accessible

Datum: 2023-12-11 09:22
A person is tracing an ascending line graph with their finger.

When things get hec­tic and we have numer­ous tasks to choose from on our to-do list, we need to make it as easy as pos­si­ble to pri­or­i­tize and deter­mine what the right thing to do next is. By the way, the tasks are not nec­es­sar­i­ly only locat­ed on our list, but they keep com­ing in via emails, via col­leagues drop­ping by and ask­ing us to do some­thing, and dur­ing meet­ings when we get asked to com­plete a whole new bunch of tasks.

For you who pre­fer lis­ten­ing to read­ing, this post is also avail­able as an episode of the Done!” pod­cast:

A com­mon pit­fall in pri­or­i­tiz­ing is to always do what­ev­er appears most urgent — regard­less of what it con­cerns. Since there are almost always urgent things, we spend our days being stressed out, always so busy putting out fires that we for­get to do the tasks that are not yet urgent — until they are as well.

By impor­tance, not just urgency

In my recent­ly pub­lished book on pri­or­i­tiz­ing I write about and rec­om­mend that you pri­or­i­tize in a more nuanced way, accord­ing not only to how urgent a task is, but also how impor­tant it is, where the impor­tance is deter­mined by the goals we are respon­si­ble for attaining. 

So when we choose what to do next, we pri­mar­i­ly select tasks that are both urgent and that con­tribute to us accom­plish­ing our goals. By doing this, we spend less time on the tasks that are per­haps more urgent but which do not con­tribute to the goals we are striv­ing towards, and are hence giv­en more time to do more impor­tant assignments.

Where are the goals?

We need to make it easy to remind our­selves of what the goals we are striv­ing towards and are respon­si­ble for are — espe­cial­ly when things are hec­tic and we have a lot going on. To not have to mem­o­rize all the goals, we should put them some­where where we spot them eas­i­ly. But where?

Here are some ideas of pos­si­ble places where we can put or paste our goals so that we catch a glance at them often:

  • A page on the intranet to which you have cre­at­ed a short­cut, and then place the short­cut in the mid­dle of the book­marks bar or on the top sites”-page in your brows­er. Name the short­cut some­thing that sticks out — for instance ”«< GOALS »>”. Per­haps the page is in itself part of your oper­a­tions- and per­for­mance man­age­ment system.
  • If you are sit­ting in an open office land­scape, then per­haps you have screens on the walls through­out the office, where results data from the fol­low-up tool are pre­sent­ed and updat­ed in real-time. You can then often throw a glance at one of the screens to see how you are doing, where you are at, and what deter­mines if a task is impor­tant or not.
  • A spread­sheet con­tain­ing your goals to which you grad­u­al­ly enter the results for every peri­od. Or a PDF with the image your boss pre­sent­ed at the last com­pa­ny con­fer­ence when you were dis­cussing the goals for the next few months. What­ev­er you choose, you will have cre­at­ed a short­cut to the goals that stick out and which you keep on your com­put­er desktop.
  • A doc­u­ment of any for­mat that is named unique­ly so that you find it eas­i­ly if you search for the key­word, which I sug­gest you make goals”.
  • A note, quite sim­ply, pinned to a spot where you see it fre­quent­ly as you are working.
  • Some­thing phys­i­cal that rep­re­sents one or all of your goals. What that could be? Well,
    • a lego plate onto which you attach pieces of lego and let their sizes rep­re­sent your progress in mov­ing towards the goal
    • a glass jar with paper balls rep­re­sent­ing every step tak­en on the way to the goal
    • a wire run­ning along your wall, like a pen­nant ban­ner, with pen­nants rep­re­sent­ing your progress
    • or some­thing com­plete­ly different

Do this

If you were to ask your­self what goals you want to attain in the next while ahead right now, and if you then would have to make an effort to remem­ber what they are, it would prob­a­bly be a good idea if you made them more eas­i­ly acces­si­ble than they cur­rent­ly are.

  1. Think about where you usu­al­ly find your­self when you need to set pri­or­i­ties, that is, when you are choos­ing what to do next from the long list of things you could poten­tial­ly do.
  2. Think of where and how you could place, hang or paste your goals so that you can take them out eas­i­ly when you need them the most. It is def­i­nite­ly a good thing if they stick out” from the sur­round­ing envi­ron­ment some­how so that they catch your eye.
  3. Do what you need to do to place the goals where you want them or add a to-do-task to your list that describes what you need to do to get them in place.

Eas­i­er to prioritize

If you make it eas­i­er to throw a glance at your goals when you need some guid­ance in pick­ing the next best task to do, you will pri­or­i­tize more accu­rate­ly more of the time, mean­ing not just by how urgent the tasks are, but also by how impor­tant they are to you, to accom­plish­ing your goals and to your busi­ness as a whole.

You will be able to say no”, yes” and yes, but lat­er” to the appro­pri­ate tasks with a greater sense of sure­ness and a clear conscience.

What is your way?

Where and in what for­mat have you placed your goals with­in your field of vision? Feel free to share your best tip with me.

(Did you know that set­ting goals in a par­tic­u­lar way actu­al­ly can make you hap­pi­er?)

There's more where this came from

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