Thursday, August 21, 2008

Accomplishing Anything Through Goal Setting

Often in life we are faced with projects or tasks that simply appear to be insurmountable. When we are given a project of this magnitude it is important that we know how to go about dealing with it. Any task that we have to tackle can be compared to the action of building a house. You don't go out and build a house in a day, do you? No, you build it up one thing at a time until you have a completed structure. This simple principle holds true for any other task that you may face. To accomplish anything, you simply break it down into a set of smaller tasks.

Okay, this may sound simple beyond anything you have ever heard said before, but the most important part of accomplishing your goals is to simply set them as goals. Unfortunately, many people fail to do even this simple task. When asked what are they working towards, they may not even have an answer!Maintaining Focus By Accomplishing Manageable PiecesIt is important that if you do not already have the skill of maintaining focus that you learn it. Look at your current project; ask what needs to be done? Then pick a task. Pick any one of the tasks that need to be completed in order to finish the larger goal that you are working towards. Did you notice in the previous section that I said ONE? Not a handful, not a dozen or two. Just one. This is very important. By focusing on just one task at a time you will actually make some headway, and ultimately end up completing the task you are working on.Some of you may balk at the thought of only having one task to work on. I can hear your protests, you feel you will get bored or that your abilities are best used tackling the whole project. If you feel that you need to have more than one thing on the go, and that you need to switch between tasks to "Stay Fresh", then I strongly suggest that you limit yourself to just two tasks. I understand that some people need to do this in order to remain productive. But by limiting yourself to just two tasks at a time you will be able to make much more significant headway, while still being able to switch back and forth between tasks.If you decide not to use this approach, and instead tackle the entire project head on, What you will likely end up with is twenty or thirty parts of the project that are in varying stages of completion. But most likely not even one of these parts will have been completed.Instead of taking the project on head first, try to focus on only a few, preferably just one or two, really specific tasks until they are completed. Once they are completed you can then move onto other tasks, secure in the knowledge that you are making progress.Setting Deadlines and Sticking With ThemIt is vital to your success that you set realistic deadlines for the tasks that you are working on, and for the project as a whole. Setting appropriate deadlines is a "Science" all on its own, and we won't go into how it is done here. It is just important for you to understand a few very basic principles for setting deadlines. Make them realistic, but also make sure they add pressure to getting the task done. It is important that you find the right balance between these two. Otherwise you will either cause yourself too much stress, or you will set goals that do not add enough pressure to the tasks at hand. Lets use writing a book as an example. Lets say you are going to write a novel in one month ( Now, writing a novel is a huge task. But when you break it down into smaller pieces it quickly becomes achievable. The NaNoWriMo challenge, held every year in November, is a great lesson in setting deadlines and sticking with them. You set the ultimate goal, write a 50000-word novel. You set the absolute deadline, one month - November. And then you have at it. By breaking the task down into daily portions, many thousands of people, who otherwise would be unlikely to do so, are able to succeed at writing a complete novel in a one-month period.Completing The Project and Rewarding YourselfThe great thing about breaking a large task down into a bunch of smaller tasks is that it also allows you to give yourself smaller rewards as you work through the project. Each time you finish one of the tasks, take some time and reward yourself with a special treat. This will help to keep you motivated, and will reinforce your understanding that you are infact making progress.But don't forget, once you have completed the project, one step at a time, and everything is done that is the time when it is really important that you reward yourself for a job well done. Celebrate your accomplishments! Bask in the glory! Pat yourself on the back! And now that you have completely finished your project, you can begin that next project that you have been itching to get started.Visit The Scruffy Scribe for more discussion about productivity techniques and improving your writing.
By: Scruffy Scribe


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