11 Jan The Best Goal Setting Strategies to Improve Productivity This 2021
***Updated on 20 April, 2021
Goal setting strategies to improve productivity and ensure success
Welcome to 2021! As we start heading back to work, it’s the perfect time to set goals, build productive workplace habits and eventually, increase productivity. However, many of us set new year’s resolutions with the best intentions, only to run out of steam within a matter of weeks. Recent research has discovered that ‘most people have given up on their resolutions by 19 Jan’ – subsequently dubbed ‘Quitter’s day’ – with up to 80% no longer working toward their goals by early February.
Successful goal setting is a skill. So today, we share our top tips to achieve your goals and strategies to improve productivity.
1. Identify and clarify your goals
The first and most important tip for achieving your goals is to identify the right goals. What do you want to achieve? Why is it important to you? Knowing that you will need to put in both time and effort to achieve a goal, is it important enough? If you have many goals, you may need to prioritise the most important ones to focus on.
Goals can be big or small. For example, do you want to increase your email productivity? Improve your stakeholder engagement skills? Or maybe move into a new industry? Once you’ve worked out what you want to achieve, you need to make a realistic plan for achieving it. Try creating goals using the SMART framework. You’re likely to be familiar with the concept of structuring goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
SMART goals help you to understand better what you want to achieve, when to achieve it, and how you will know if you’ve achieved it or not.
Once you’ve created your SMART goals, write them down and keep them visible, such as next to your computer screen – this will make your goals more tangible and remind you to keep working on them.
Goal setting helps you to focus on what’s important. By writing down SMART goals, you can gain clarity on what you want to achieve and be clear about how to get there.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
2. Break down your goals
Once you’ve decided on a goal, you need to have a clear plan of action to achieve that goal. Here it’s useful to break down your goals into smaller goals or steps, similar to how you might plan out a project. You can use a mind map to identify different tasks and steps needed to achieve your overall goal. Once you’ve finished a mind map, you can turn that into a timeline that visualises the list of tasks, milestones, and deadlines. A timeline helps you stay motivated, as you can see your progress towards the end goal. Rewarding yourself for hitting milestones also helps to maintain motivation.
3. Block out time to work on your goals
Now that you’ve made a plan, it’s time to take action and follow through. Time-blocking is an excellent tool for making sure that you’ll work on your goals. Time-blocking is proactive, where you block out time in your calendar to focus and work on your tasks. This means that you can control your time, and prioritise the most important tasks instead of being distracted by less important tasks. Time-blocking also helps to avoid procrastination.
Another useful strategy to try is habit stacking. This is where you create a routine or habit attached to something you’re already doing. For example, if you drink coffee every morning, do 5 minutes of meditation straight after. Or, after lunch every day, spend 15 minutes replying to emails. Habit stacking works well because you link your new goals to something you’re already doing, making it easier to form new habits.
4. Review goals regularly
Reviewing your goals regularly helps to keep them visible. Block out time to periodically review your goals – this allows you to track progress and adjust your goals if necessary. Try scheduling a weekly evaluation to check your progress against your plan and work out what’s helping or hindering your progress. When you see good progress, you’ll feel more motivated to keep going. If you’re behind schedule, don’t beat yourself up – make adjustments and keep going.
It can also help to review goals with your manager or a colleague because being accountable to another person makes you more likely to stick to your goals.
The process of goal setting is one the best strategies to improve productivity as it helps you define what you want and work out how to get there. Done right, it can keep you motivated and achieve tangible results. PEP has been helping people define goals and increase productivity for over 30 years. Learn how we can help you and your team increase workplace productivity. Our programs will help you and your team to work more effectively and have a successful 2021.