How many times do we find ourselves working on a task that should have been completed days or even months ago. The reasons for procrastination are plenty, but one reason that should not slow you down is the vagueness or the magnitude of the task. Setting goals for the day and splitting tasks into smaller chunks is an essential part of planning. Once the steps leading to the goal are defined, scaling the summit becomes that much easier. In the blog post “Importance of Planning” we mentioned that setting objectives and goals is one of the key steps involved in crafting a strategic plan, in this post we discuss how to convert these goals into clear, doable tasks.
Make Your Goal Concrete
Abstract goals don’t offer any motivation and slow down decision-making. Remove vagueness and add detail to improve your chances of achieving your goal. Write down your desired outcome, then defining the goal becomes easier. For example instead of just saying “Improve Sales”, a concrete goal would be “Get Five New Clients Every Quarter”
Find the First Step
Planning all of the steps required to reach your goal is daunting. Focussing on one step at a time makes the entire process effective and enjoyable. There are a multitude of factors that may affect your plan, don’t let these factors mcloud your vision. Start by setting an important goal for the day. This should be the key focus. Don’t allow other distractions and minor tasks to prevent you from working towards your daily goal.
Break Large Goals into Milestones
Milestones define what action needs to be taken over a shorter time period when compared to a goal. If your goals are hard to measure, that’s all the more reason to break them into milestones. Classify milestones into three month or six month milestones to boost productivity.
A Gantt chart is a useful tool to help you create a map of milestones. The activities are listed on the left of the chart with a time scale at the top. You can create a Gantt chart using excel or you can use Google calendar to add milestones.
Create Tasks for Each Milestone
Start with your first milestone and create a list of tasks that will help you realize that milestone. Always start task descriptions with a verb, this makes them actionable and gets the momentum going. While creating tasks be specific, if a task is still vague, then break it down into smaller sub-tasks. If you find yourself dreading the start of a task or are putting it off for later, adjust the plan and reduce the size of the tasks. Set deadlines for each task to make the task owners accountable and keep the plan in perspective.
Map Task Resources
Before starting a task, ensure that you have everything you could possibly require- knowledge, expert advice, other department services or your task completion may be dependent on another team member completing his or her tasks. You can also set up alternative resources if task completion is critical to project success. Mapping resources ensures that it is utilized effectively and work is not stalled due to non-availability of resources.
Once you have the task, deadlines and resources mapped out, start working. The tasks are crystal clear and there is no reason to procrastinate. As you move from task to task, the goal comes into view, your confidence improves and the net result is success.
Breaking down goals into tasks make the impossible achievable. Tasks become manageable and achieving milestones becomes easier and more frequent. However, if things veer off plan, don’t fret, edit your plan, resize your tasks and keep your eyes firmly on the summit.