Goals are those elusive things that are easy to talk about but difficult to achieve. When I was working as an office manager at a post production house, I had goals for what I wanted to accomplish within my workplace and the industry as a whole but with the daily grind of the job, my goals would often be shoved aside or forgotten about for months. Before I knew it, someone else got a promotion or implemented the very idea I had come up with but failed to execute. I was frustrated that I didn’t have enough time to work on both short and long-term goals, so I decided to do something about it. I created a three-month goal list to firmly establish and commit to the goals I wanted to accomplish.
Three-month goal list
To begin, create your goal list on a piece of paper. I like to use lined paper and title it “Goals” followed by a subheading of the three month period, such as “January-March 2018.” It’s best to keep this somewhere within eye sight so it remains on your mind daily. I hang mine on the bulletin board above my desk, but in the corner so it’s not in everyone else’s face. You may want to use a notebook but keep in mind that you will want this in sight, not tucked away in a drawer, so if you do use something bound, make sure to leave it open in your workspace and not use it for additional things.
Write out your goals
On a blank sheet of paper, write out the goals you want to achieve for your career, both in your workplace and outside it. Be concise and realistic, but remember to also challenge yourself.
Break them down
Now, take your long-term, abstract goals and break them down into short-term goals by asking yourself what you can do to achieve the goals right now. For example, suppose you are an administrative assistant and your goal is to work in marketing as an assistant marketing manager. Though that will likely not happen overnight ask yourself, what can you do in the next three months to help achieve your goal? Could you offer to help the marketing department with a company event or serve on a committee? Or what about reading a book on marketing or management? The point is to think about your goals and then break them down into tangible actions that you can do during the next three months to move closer to them.
Don’t over do it
Create your three-month goal list by writing down 3-5 actions you plan on taking to either achieve the goals entirely or move yourself that much closer to achieving one or more. It’s very important to be honest with yourself to set yourself up for success.
Post your list
Post your list in your work space where you can see it and access it easily. Cross things off as you complete them over each three-month period. You’ll be surprised at how much more you accomplish toward your goals by breaking them down into actionable steps you can take. Life happens though, so it is important to be flexible. Goals may change or get altered as your life does so take that into consideration and adjust your goal list accordingly during the three months. But always be honest with yourself about why you’re adjusting the list.
Maintain your list
Every three months, when it’s time to update it, notice what you’ve accomplished and what you haven’t. Do you need to break down your goals even more? Are you planning too much or not enough? How have you managed your time? Have you made any progress with your goals? You will learn a lot about what you did or didn’t do and each three-month period will help get you closer to your goals, while also helping you to gain a better understanding of what is working for you and what is not in terms of managing your time. Keep your list, not only for reference but to chart your growth as well. I have a box I put every list in at the end of the three-month period, keeping them in order with a clip. Once every few years, I read each over to see my growth, advancement and/or stagnation.