Goals are not Wishes – Make tasks out of them

As I tried to formulate in the article “A Waste of Time – How (Not) to Reach Your Goals“, goals that you set for yourself are important – and if you everyday do at least one task that is directly related to your goals, then you’ll be doing fine in reaching them.

The point of this post is, that goals are no “wishlist“. I gave the example for goals you might want to reach (home or car, or a relationship with a partner you don’t know yet). These are more like a wishlist, as you don’t really know what needs to be done to reach these goals. If you want to reach them, you need to think about what needs to be done to reach them. Which can lead to other, more realizable goals like “get a better job” or “party every week” (sounds like a strange goal, but is closer to reality than “get a relationship”).

But these new goals are also pretty meaningless, if you don’t know how to reach them, and some of your goals might even be deleted from your list, as you realize they’re wishes and that it might really be the new job you need, or more friends to party with. Therefore, when you think about what you need to do, look at your goals and think of stuff that could bring you closer into the direction of these goals – like “watch [jobwebsiteOfYourChoice] for new possibilities”; “subscribe to the RSS feed of the fresh renting offerings website”; “arrange a party for my friends”. Make tasks out of them and put them on your ToDo-list. Do one of these every day. You’ll move forward faster.

One sentence productivity mantra from Penelope Trunk for free:

One thing at a time. Most important thing first. Start now.

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, Posted Monday, May 31st, 2010 under GTD.

2 comments

  1. Hatebreeder says:

    Ich halte es ja mehr mit dem Doctor: First things first, but not necessarily in that order. :)
    Oder auch das schöne englische Sprichwort, life happens while making other plans.
    Ist schon richtig, dass man sich Ziele setzen sollte und diese auch erreichbar sein müssen. Aber man sollte sich nicht allein von diesen treiben lassen, bzw. sollten nicht nur rein “weltliche” Dinge auf solch einer Liste stehen. Wichtig sind nunmal auch die kleinen Dinge des Lebens.

  2. Indeed. I made the distinction because reachable goals can get you further while pointless wishes usually don’t. And I’m a lot into GTD lately, and there goals are an accepted way to drive you further … I just think that many people write things like “Get rich” or “be happy” on their lists that should be re-thought so you have reachable things you can really do.

    I guess “life happens while making other plans” implys that you make plans too – it doesn’t say “life just happens even when you’re not planning” – and if you can give this a direction, it should always be a good thing :-)

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