Many people struggle with a work-life balance because they dont set any goals that they can work towards or track their progress to. Without goals, it is easy to drift and spend far too much time at work rather than work a reasonable 9-to-5 schedule because you literally dont know what to do next.
Without goals, you cant set priorities. Without priorities, you cant determine what are the most important things to accomplish on your to-do list. You lurch from one deadline to the next, and get more and more stressed and exhausted in the process.
The Advantages of Setting Goals
Goals give you focus and direction. They also offer a vision of success. You can decide what actions to take to achieve your goal, and measure your results as you advance towards it.
Goal Setting Strategies
There are a number of tried-and-tested goal setting strategies that can help you formulate goals, track them, and accomplish them. Lets look at four of the most effective.
1. Create SMART goals
SMART is a memory aid for good goal setting. The letters stand for:
* Time bound
In many cases, a goal is too vague. People say, “I want to earn more money,” but they dont define this enough. A good example of a specific goal would be, “I want to earn $12,000 more this year so I can pay off my student loan and take a nice vacation.”
You can measure this goal: $12,000. Is this goal attainable? It works out at $1,000 per month, or $33 extra per day. The goal is relevant to your priorities, and it is time bound. “This year” means by the end of the year, so you have 12 months from the time you set the goal.
The next step in this process is to decide on action steps to take that will advance you towards your goal.
2. Choose action steps that you are passionate about
Using the same example above, find something you really enjoy that can help you earn that extra $33 per day. It might be affiliate marketing (that is, selling for other companies in exchange for a commission) or writing your own eBooks and eCourses and selling them at an eCommerce aggregator like Gumroad.
Or maybe you are a musician, or someone who loves making handmade jewelry. In these cases, you could sell your work on SoundCloud or Etsy.
You could also work online as a virtual assistant, freelance writer, and so on. Its really just a case of what you are good at, enjoy doing, and can market to an audience who needs the goods and services you have to offer.
3. Write down your goals and track them
Get a small notebook you can carry with you. Write down your goal. Track your progress every week – for example, from your sales records or invoices of your clients to make sure you are on track with your $1,000 per month. If you arent, think of other things you can do to promote your work and boost your income. By setting your goal, you will always know where you are and be much less likely to drift aimlessly.
4. Re-evaluate your goal from time to time
Dont stick with a goal so impractical that you can never achieve it and where you always feel like a miserable failure. If you really cant earn $1,000 extra dollars a month, come up with a number you can manage, and look at your household budget to see if there is anything you can trim so you can pay off your student loan quickly. The only failure would be to give up completely.