Originally published on AccompliTrack in June 2018.
You work hard. Every day, you get up thinking about all the tasks you need to accomplish, and every night, you go to bed while already planning tomorrow’s schedule. At times, you probably feel like you’re living in a whirlwind of activity—one where you barely have a chance to enjoy the success of one project before you’re starting another. The upside of being so busy is that you know you’re a productive employee. But there’s a potentially disastrous downside to this hectic pace: Many of us get so absorbed in the day-to-day business of working that we forget to set and track goals. Eventually, tasks blur together, and when we’re asked what we’ve accomplished, we often draw a complete blank.
The above situation is very challenging for a few reasons: One, it can leave you ill-prepared to shine during interviews or performance reviews. Two, it can seriously hinder your ability to write an effective resume. Three, without clear objectives, the “work, and reward” cycle that our brains are wired to thrive on breaks down. We’re left wondering, “What’s it all for?” We start to disengage from our work, and when this happens, our productivity declines—no matter how hard we try to stay focused.
In a perfect world, proper goal setting would be part of every workplace, so that no employee ever felt left behind. Unfortunately, we’re not living in that world, and employee disengagement has become a big problem. According to The Muse, a shocking 70% of American employees feel disengaged at work. Clearly, we need goals—and fast. Fortunately, if you’re looking to get (and stay) on track, the following strategies can help:
1. Define your goals, preferably S.M.A.R..T. goals
This step sounds obvious; most of us do try to define our goals, but unfortunately, we tend to leave them too vague. We know we want to do something—like increase sales by 30%, for example—but we don’t know exactly how we’re going to do it, how we’re going to verify that we’ve done it, and what kind of time-frame we want to do it in. This sets us up for frustration and often wastes time.
To avoid this kind of mistakes, most experts recommend setting what are known as S.M.A.R.T. goals. These goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. When using the S.M.A.R.T. method, you’ll have the data you need to fine-tune your strategy and you’ll approach your goals already knowing whether your expectations are realistic. Not only does this make your goals easier to achieve, it makes your accomplishments easier to talk about. Think of it this way: Saying you “increased sales” on a resume isn’t very convincing. Saying you increased sales by 30% within three months and providing evidence to back up your claims, on the other hand, will show a prospective employer that you can provide real value.
2. Align your goals
Align your goals with two things: 1. The central mission of the organization you work for, and 2. Your individual strengths, passions, and motivations.
To have a sense that your job is meaningful, you’ll need to know how it fits into the big picture at work. How will achieving your goals help to advance the company’s goals? At the same time, however, you shouldn’t focus exclusively on pleasing your employer. Try to align your work objectives with your personal goals, too. If you want to become stronger in a certain area, for instance, think about how the journey toward your current goal will enhance the skill you want to grow.
3. Track your goals
Even if you define your goals thoroughly and know why they matter in the grand scheme of things, you can still leave yourself prone to distractions and roadblocks if you don’t employ a tracking system. Life, as they say, happens; it’s just too easy to get caught up in what’s going on around us and become disorganized unless we equip ourselves with the right tools. Using a goal and accomplishment tracking app like AccompliTrack is therefore essential to ensure that you succeed. AccompliTrack helps you set, measure, and track your goals and achievements so that you can always access your current objectives and easily review past accomplishments. You can set reminder notifications, attach relevant files, record information about which company your goals and achievements were linked to. You can create category tags and print formatted reports.
Achieving goals can be challenging but setting them and tracking them doesn’t have to be. With the right strategies, methods, and tools you can turn your dreams into reality. And you’ll never come up short when it’s time tell the world about your success.