Long and short range goals
Some goals are big and ambitious and will take a long time to accomplish. One of the first steps in the process of setting a goal is to break it down into specific action steps. Projects are often a step between goals and daily activities: the intermediate, or middle range. Daily activities are the choices we make today that will contribute to our goals and projects. We derive our activities from the top down, and achieve our goals from the bottom up.
goals — projects — daily activities
long range — shorter range — within reach today
In the book “Getting Things Done,” David Allen goes further with a six-level model:
- 50,000+ feet: Life (why do you/company exist?)
- 40,000 feet: 3-5 year vision.
- 30,000 feet: 1-2 year goals.
- 20,000 feet: Areas of responsibility.
- 10,000 feet: Current projects.
- Runway: Current actions.
David Allen defines a project as anything you want to achieve that requires more than one step. He poses the following questions for these levels:
- long term goals – “What projects will accomplish this?”
- projects – “What actions will accomplish this?”
- daily activities – “What actions are top priority?”
Setting a Target Date
To set a target date, consider the:
- difficulty level
- available resources
- number of steps involved
Look for the sweet spot: a place of high value with low effort. However, some very worthwhile goals require more effort and more resources like time, energy and money. Consider what the results will be, how much impact it will have, and how big a contribution it will make. The Economy of Goals means that we are unlikely to pursue a goal when the costs exceed the benefits. End goals provide built-in motivation. Choose a realistic yet challenging date. Often a target date is simply an estimate, a self-imposed deadline to provide motivation to reach the goal. It may need to be reassessed and adjusted as part of the weekly review.