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Productivity and the Importance of Goal Setting

What is the importance of setting goals? One of the main, and most obvious reasons is to regulate, and possibly increase productivity levels by giving ourselves a target, and a game plan to work towards that target. This game plan can often be affected by external and internal variables, such as emotions, emergencies, lack of motivation, but setting an objective and having a strategy is something that can help anticipate and manage these variables.

Goal setting is an art. It’s subjective and personal to each and every one of us. A goal can be as simple as doing the dishes, to as large scale as having trifold sales of a business. Setting a goal is one thing, but developing tactics on how to achieve it while managing other factors that can often be unexpected, is where all the real work is required.

The first and foremost thing to do is identifying the goal, and understanding how it will impact our lives or help us move a step closer to what our long term plans are. The next, is to break down a large goal into smaller, manageable sections, to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of a task, as well as to make the overall process simpler to execute. Next comes the way these sections are laid out, and the steps taken to achieve them, keeping in mind that a disruption is always possible, but not letting the thought of it waver our focus. Finally, after so much thought and planning comes the time to act on the pathway that we have created for ourselves. This planning is done subconsciously, a lot of us don’t need to physically lay it out.

One of the most important things to achieve large objectives, is to allow ourselves to feel the satisfaction of completing each and every step that we laid out, no matter how small it is. Finding pleasure, and feeling pride in it, can be an excellent intrinsic motivator. It can help push us towards wanting to taste the happiness of achieving what we are actually working for, and can be a great reminder as to why we committed ourselves to a particular goal in the first place. It can also remind us of the consequences of achieving that goal, and why it is important to stay on track.

Planning and time management is something that not everyone excels in. Sometimes we procrastinate, leave things to the very last moment, and let the largeness of a goal intimidate us, which hinders productivity. It is okay for that to happen, since we are all humans and meticulous planning is simply not how life goes on. Wanting to reach a goal is full of hurdles, some known, some unknown, and no amount of planning can prepare us for that, which is where our instincts kick in. In the moment, acting fast and making quick decisions is important, and this is often done on the basis of instincts rather than a detailed analysis of how a decision can impact our future. This is one of the most subjective aspects of goal setting. Managing emotions and having a clear mind in such situations is crucial.

Overall, planning is a good thing to do to increase productivity and achieve our goals. However, everything cannot be based on planning, and often other factors like emotions or emergencies can affect our ability to achieve a goal. Therefore, it is more important for us to be able to trust our instincts and handle ourselves in tense situations that require immediate action. Goal setting is both objective and subjective, while the objective aspect is predictable and reliable, the subjective aspect of how we achieve a goal is solely based on how we perceive and act on it. For doing so, we need to have clarity in our minds about what we want and sometimes, it’s okay to just trust the process.

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash