Why are short term goals more important than ever?

In the pre-pandemic era, one of the most common questions during an interview was, “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?”. Today, after spending a year in the pandemic and facing uncertainty almost every single day, one cannot even plan for a week ahead. In short, it is extremely tricky to set long term goals in the middle of a pandemic. When it comes to organizations and working professionals, it has become imperative for them to  revisit their goals and prioritize short term goals. 

Let’s deep dive into this.

> How do short term goals help?
As the name suggests, short term goals are goals that can be achieved in the near future which may include goals for the day, week, month or even that particular year. Given the current situation that we all are in, focusing on the short term goals will really help one get direction and feel grounded especially when the larger picture seems to be clouded or unachievable  at the moment.  Here is how short term goals help:

  • Create momentum
    Short term goals are reachable and measurable. Their completion is a great way to create momentum and encourage one to pursue more. In the long run, these goals also set the pace and allow for a structured approach, to achieve long term goals.
  • Receive insightful and instant feedback
    Because of the short term nature of the goals, one gets to know early on if the efforts put in will yield results or not. The non reliability on long term goals also helps save a lot of time and money.
  • Boost self confidence
    One of the easiest ways to lose self confidence and get demotivated is to see a long list of incomplete tasks. With short term goals, it is easy to see quicker tangible results which in turn boosts self confidence. Also, an achievement, however small, always plays a crucial factor in motivation.
  • Combat procrastination
    Even the best of us fall into the trap of procrastination. Setting short term goals is a great way to overcome this concern because of the specific and easily achievable deadlines.

There are umpteen ways in which you as both a manager or an employer and  an employee can set short term goals. All you need to do is ask the right questions to yourself while setting them. Here is what you need to consider.

> At an organisational level
Most businesses around the world have been vastly impacted because of the pandemic. As you maneuver your organisation through these trying times, you also need to set clear goals for your employees. Here are a few questions that the leadership of a company need to ask while adjusting goals.

  • What should the company aim to pursue now?
  • What are the goals that have helped in the past and can be carried forward?
  • Are there any existing goals that aren’t achievable or will hinder the company’s growth during this time?
  • Will the employees easily adjust to the updated goals? 
  • How will these goals impact the company in the short term and long term?

> At an individual level
As it is getting more and more difficult to stay motivated at work, as an employee you can do your bit by setting goals pertaining to your job profile which when achieved will definitely inspire you to do more. For example: you can start by reaching work 15 minutes earlier to help yourself organise the tasks of the day better.

Before you set some goals for yourself at work, ask yourself these questions.

  • Are my goals aligned to that of my team’s and organisation’s goals?
  • Do my goals inspire me?
  • Have I set realistic goals?
  • Are the updated goals in sync with my personal development goals?

Once you have got answers to these questions, you can set your goals. To make things easier for you, we have listed 5 key short term goals to help you at work and in your personal life.

1. Improve your work life balance
For working professionals, it is paramount to strike a balance between work and personal life. The balance will keep you happy, healthy & better your performance at work.

2. Work on one area that needs attention
We all have certain strengths and weaknesses. In order to enhance our outputs, we need to overcome our weaknesses. You can start by working on one area that needs attention at that time. Once you have overcome your one weakness, it will give you confidence to work on other areas as well. 

3. Communicate with your colleagues
With several employees opting for a flexible work model or remote working, it might be difficult to meet your colleagues. Make it a point to regularly communicate with your co-workers. To ensure good coordination, make sure to attend  weekly calls to discuss work or even personal hurdles.  This will help you clear out the hindrance and ensure a smooth work environment.

4. Set a morning routine
Be it listening to your favorite music during the work commute or grabbing your favorite cup of coffee before starting the day, we all had a set morning routine when we used to work from the office. These small and often neglected occurrences of our work day actually prepared our mind and body for the day ahead and helped us to focus as soon as we sat at our work desk. Make sure to have a morning routine even when working from home.

5. Clear the clutter
An inbox filled with over 100s of unread mails, a messy desk or files filled with papers that aren’t needed anymore can hamper your productivity by making you lose focus from what’s important.  Make sure to clean your devices and work station fortnightly.

From above, it can be concluded that  in the current times, long term planning can prove to be challenging without the much needed clarity. With no end in sight to the pandemic, organisations and individual employees should re-establish and embrace short term goals.

Have any thoughts on short term goals? Share in the comments section below.

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