Goal Setting, Part 3: Short-term goals

Setting, Part 3: Short-term goals

Short-term goals are either something you need to get done in a hurry, a method of controlling your workload, or steps in a plan toward longer term goals. Short-term goals are usually a lot easier to visualize and work your way toward achieving than the long-term goals.

To learn how to set short-term goals, start with something simple, but not too simple, so you're also learning something new in the process.

Any sort of measurable positive achievement is your most effective target for learning how to set short-term goals. This is the miniature version of your profession and your career. These are where you find the minefields and obstacles.

This is a tactical exercise, and you need to scout out the terrain. You need reliable information, so you check these things out:

  • What needs to be done?
  • What actions are required, and when?
  • What resources do you need, and where do you get them?
  • What costs are involved?
  • Where do you need to be, and when?
  • What's your schedule for achieving this goal?

At the end of this exercise, you've got a lot of information you didn't have previously, and it is all information you really needed to have, anyway.

Short-term goals are very useful for getting a handle on practical approaches to situations and time frames. It's sometimes better to break your forward planning down into short-term goals, because they're easily defined, and you can analyze them in detail, quickly. Having a few good, practical short-term goals is always a good idea. It keeps you moving, and getting things done, in terms of time management.

Another important aspect of short-term goal setting is that if you use it on the job, it helps control your work schedule. Short-term goal setting methods are a reliable method of self-management. You can schedule the various additional bits and pieces of a job in the same way, which prevents buildup of backlogs.

The most important part of short-term goal setting is getting measurable results, so you can keep track of your progress. Short-term goals can operate as an efficiency check, and are a good way of monitoring yourself. You know exactly what you need to do at each stage.

The best possible example of the practical application of short-term goal setting is the business contract. Many contracts work specifically on an "on completion" basis in short, structured stages.

When setting short-term goals for contracts, the important elements are:

  • Clear objectives
  • Systematic scheduling
  • Realistic time frames
  • Practical methodologies
  • Accurate costing
  • These are short-term goal setting methods, and they're enforced by the contractor as contract terms. It's a strictly controlled process, because contract payments are made on completion of set stages in the contract. It's based entirely on goal setting. Learn how to set short-term goals, and you also learn how to operate successful contracts.