Productivity Tools

How to Set Work Goals that You Can Achieve

set work goals

A New Year means a new you and a chance to set new goals. These goals may include goals for work such as aiming to boost work productivity or reaching a certain milestone in your career. Setting goals at work can help you focus on what you want to achieve, balance your time accordingly, and advance your career.

However, achieving goals is a lot harder than making them. While as many as 50% of American adults make New Year’s resolutions, research has shown that fewer than 10% have kept up with those resolutions just a few months later. It’s not enough to just jot down any goal that comes to mind. You need to set good work goals that are understandable and achievable and follow the right plan to accomplish them. That is, you need to use a goal setting system that works.

In this article, we will go over how you can set SMART goals and work on these goals throughout the year by setting a plan, tracking your progress, and adjusting them as needed. By the end of the article, you should know how to set goals at work that you can actually achieve. So, without further ado, here are 6 steps to follow when developing professional goals.

How to Set Goals at Work

1. Choose SMART Goals

goal setting: specific measurable attainable relevant timely

The first step, of course, is to decide what your career goals are. However, not any old goal will do. You need to set SMART goals: goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Let’s go over each of these in more detail:

  • Specific: well-defined and clear
  • Measurable: includes specific criteria that can be used to measure progress toward your goal or when your goal is achieved
  • Achievable: possible to achieve in the time frame you set
  • Realistic: within reach in your current position and relevant to your life
  • Timely: include a specific timeline with a start date and target end date in the foreseeable future

When you create goals that are SMART, you are creating goals that are possible to achieve as well as a plan for how to achieve them. When an idea for a goal enters your  mind, then consider if they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. If not, then either tweak them into a version that embodies these traits or set them aside. Once you’ve established that your goals fit this criteria, you are ready to learn how to write a smart goal.

Some examples of goals to set for yourself at work that are SMART include:

  • Achieving a 20% increase in email open rate by prospects by the end of the quarter
  • Making 10 more cold calls per week throughout the year
  • Learning a new fact about one of your co-workers once a week for the next six months

2. Write Them Down

woman writing in notebook

This one might seem obvious, but if you want to keep track of your goals, you need to write them down! This can be in a notebook, on a digital document, or anywhere else that you can easily record them and then find them again.

When recording a smart job goal, you need to include the specific details of the goal as well as why you want to achieve it. Include what you specifically need to do to achieve the goal in the time frame that you set, as well as a target date for achieving your goal. Finally, leave plenty of space on the page for extra notes and progress reports that you will add later as you work towards your goal.

3. Make a Plan for How to Achieve Them

red marker checks off boxes of to-do list

When you write down your goal, you should also include a detailed plan for how to achieve it. It’s okay if you don’t have every part of this plan worked out when you first write down your goal, though you should aim to set the details as soon as you can. This plan should be detailed both in terms of what actions you need to take and when you need to take them. Set down concrete steps that you need to undertake to achieve your goal by the target date. Include blank space under each step so you have room to write further notes.

4. Track Your Progress

map coordinates listing now, next, and later up a mountain

Once you’ve written down your plan, decide how often you need to check your progress. Frequently checking your progress is vital to making sure you’re still on track. When you check in, write down what you’ve done so far and what you need to focus on for the next period of time. You can also write down what new obstacles have come up as well as a plan for how to overcome them. Be sure to record both your pain points and your successes; you don’t want to downplay or ignore any difficulties, but you also don’t want to overwhelm yourself or get discouraged. Be realistic about what you’ve accomplished, pat yourself on the back for your successes, and form new plans for how to overcome any obstacles. 

5. Adjust Them as Needed

man typing on computer and writing notes at the same time

Here’s a secret: it’s okay to change your goals as time goes on! If something comes up or it turns out your goals are more difficult to achieve in the given timeframe than you thought, then you can adjust them. It’s okay if your goal takes longer to achieve or you have to switch to a more realistic goal. This does not mean that you’ve failed, just that your goals have had to shift as time went on. Our circumstances are always changing, and it’s okay for our goals to change with them.

You can also adjust your goals by adding in new steps to your plan, or crossing out those that are no longer helpful or relevant. Ultimately, your work goals are your own to adjust as you see fit. Own your goals and your accomplishments!

6. Reward Your Efforts

man holding a trophy on top of a mountain

Achieving a goal may be its own reward, but you should reward your hard work in other ways too! Do something relaxing or nice for yourself whenever you’ve hit a major milestone with your goals. This will both give you something to look forward to and rejuvenate you so you’re ready to keep working. It’s a lot harder to work towards your goals when you’re drained or unenthusiastic. So treat yourself after you do well; you deserve it!

Use Droplr to Achieve Your Work Goals

droplr get work done faster

Need more help achieving your goals? You can check out our article on the 5 Best Productivity Apps You Need to Try and find software that will help you organize your load and work smarter. Our app Droplr can also help you work faster, organize your files, and take notes about your goals! With Droplr, you can upload any file to the cloud for easy storage and sharing. Sort all of your work- or goal-related files into a board for easy access, or use Droplr boards as “inspo boards” for your goals!  You can also share your boards with others for quick collaboration. 

Droplr also includes a screenshot and screen recording app, cloud-based notes, a link shortening service, and more! Get started with Droplr’s 3-day free trial or contact our team for a demo so you can see how Droplr can help you boost work productivity and reach your work goals. 

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