Time Frames and Target Dates

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.

Setting time frames and target dates is part of planning SMART goals.

Learn more about How to Set Goals and find lots of free printables at the Goal Toolkit.

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at www.phonicspow.com. In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in goals
4 comments on “Time Frames and Target Dates
  1. […] list, add more detail and then prioritize. For each step, estimate the time for completion, set a target date, and select a mini […]

  2. […] You must take action to advance toward your targets. […]

  3. […] Act with persistence. Focus. Have a follow-up system. Set a target date. […]

  4. […] ones. You made a written plan to make them SMART with specific action steps, rewards selected and target dates set. Now comes the critical part: taking action. Ideas without action are unfulfilled dreams. What […]

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