There is a powerful formula for setting and achieving goals that you can use for the rest of your life. It consists of seven simple steps. Any one of these steps can double and triple your productivity if you are not currently using it.
Many of my graduates have increased their incomes dramatically in a matter of a few years, or even a few months, with this simple, seven-part method.
Step one: Decide exactly what you want.
Either decide for yourself or sit down with your boss and discuss your goals and objectives until you are crystal clear about what is expected of you and in what order of priority. It is amazing how many people are working away, day after day, on low-value tasks because they have not had this critical discussion with their managers.
One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need
not be done at all.
Stephen Covey says, “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall,
every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”
Step two: Write it down. Think on paper.
When you write down a goal, you crystallize it and give it tangible form. You create something that you can touch and see. On the other hand, a goal or objective that is not in writing is merely a wish or a fantasy. It has no energy behind it. Unwritten goals lead to confusion, vagueness, misdirection, and numerous mistakes.
Step three: Set a deadline on your goal; set subdeadlines if necessary.
A goal or decision without a deadline has no urgency. It has no real beginning or end. Without a definite deadline accompanied by the assignment or acceptance of specific responsibilities for completion, you will naturally
procrastinate and get very little done.
Step four: Make a list of everything you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal.
As you think of new activities, add them to your list. Keep building your list until it is complete. A list gives you a visual picture of the larger task or objective. It gives you a track to run on. It dramatically increases the likelihood that you will achieve your goal as you
have defined it and on schedule.
Step five: Organize the list into a plan.
Organize your list by priority and sequence. List all tasks in the order they need to be done. Take a few minutes to decide what you need to do first and what you can do later. Decide what has to be done before something else and what needs to be done afterward. Even better, lay out your plan visually in the form of a series of boxes and circles on a sheet of paper, with lines and arrows showing the relationship of each task to every other task. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to achieve your goal when you break it down into individual tasks. With a written goal and an organized plan of action, you will be far more productive and efficient than people who are carrying their goals around in their minds.
Step six: Take action on your plan immediately.
Do something. Do
anything. An average plan vigorously executed is far better than a brilliant plan on which nothing is done. For you to achieve any kind of success, execution is everything.
Step seven: Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal.
Build this activity into your daily schedule. You may decide to read a specific number of pages on a key subject. You may call on a specific number of prospects or customers. You may engage in a specific period of physical exercise. You may learn a certain number of new words in
a foreign language. Whatever it is, you must never miss a day.
Keep pushing forward. Once you start moving, keep moving. Don’t stop. This decision, this discipline alone, can dramatically increase your speed of goal accomplishment and boost your personal productivity.