why is setting goals and priorities important?

Why Is Setting Goals and Priorities Important?

I’m often asked, “Why is setting goals and priorities important?” Where do I start?

Here is a recent example of a goal I set and how my priorities needed to line up to make that goal happen. See what I did. Then check out the Action Plan at the end of this post to see how you can use my experience to structure your goals and priorities.

Goals keep you focused

Earlier this year I decided I wanted a new bathroom. Our 26-year-old bathroom was out of date. I wanted one that was modern with frameless glass doors, no brass, and no mold or mildew.

Since my husband and I are not DIYers, we needed to hire a contractor to do the work. I served as project manager.

During the project, I only paid attention to those decisions or actions that would help get that new bathroom done.

I allowed other things to fall through the cracks: healthy meals, writing my blog, exercise, my strategic marketing plan, research on several topics, timely payment of a bill or two, and coffee or lunch with associates.

It was OK to ignore those things, because I was focused on my goal.

Results: Our new master bath is done, and it’s fine. Goal met. I’m happy.

Now I’m dealing with all those things I ignored while construction was going on. No worries.

For more on goals: How to Write SMART Goals • Why Set Goals? To Get Results

Priorities help you reach goals

Once you’ve set a goal, you have to set your priorities for reaching that goal. Here’s how that played out with the remodel.

  • Find a contractor. It’s hard to do a project like this without a contractor who knows a whole lot more than my husband or I do. A few people recommended their guys. I interviewed a couple. I also called a contractor we’ve used before.His price came in higher than I expected, because I hadn’t done my homework on remodeling costs. But we’d used this contractor before and knew we could trust him and his crew. So we put our money on our faith in him doing a good job.
  • Pick out stuff, then get it. If you’ve never remodeled a room before, you will be astonished at how many details you need to pay attention to, including the quality of your subfloor, the plumbing you can’t see, and so much more. I was so grateful the tile place had free decorating services, since tile selection could have been a huge hurdle for me.

why is setting goals and priorities important

  • Coordinate schedules. I had to coordinate schedules with the contractors, my husband, and my own workload to minimize stress around here.  The contractors often needed input from me, usually at the last minute. I also had to coordinate with my husband in getting the dogs to and from daycare. The little dog doesn’t like anyone in or near her house. Then I had to find someplace quiet to get my work done.
  • Find a shower glass contractor. This is the last person involved in a bath remodel, because everything else has to be done before the glass guy can do his thing. And until the glass is up, you can’t use your new shower.

The remodel was like many projects you’ve worked on. You have goals, then you have to prioritize your money and your time. In the end, you’ve got a project you can be proud of.

Now check out how others deal with goals, priorities, and, inevitably, balance in their work and lives.

Why Jeff Bezos went out on a limb

In this interview on TechCrunch, Jeff Bezos shares his thoughts on many subjects, including why he started Amazon.

“In 1994, he told his boss he wanted to start an Internet bookstore. His boss told him it was a pretty good idea but that it was ‘a better idea for someone who didn’t have a good job.’ Jeff took a few days and decided ‘the best way to think about it was to project my life forward to age 80’ and make the decision that minimized my regrets.”

Get great insights into Jeff Bezos and why he’s done what he has. You may find inspiration.

What Scott Kelly learned in space

Astronaut Scott Kelly gives his perspective on a range of topics, including his management style and working in space.

“On the Space Station, I recognized that I have a good way of prioritizing what’s important and what’s not. I can put a lot of focus and energy on the stuff that needs to get done and not care about the stuff that doesn’t matter. I’ve noticed that a lot of my colleagues don’t have that same capability. They’re this type A personality that has to do everything perfectly all the time, and you can’t do that for a year in space.”

See the other nuggets Kelly shares in this interview on Harvard Business Review.


Try the B3 Method to gain perspective

This article from Entrepreneur magazine offers a different approach to goals, priorities, and balance.

Author Amy Vetter writes:

“We hear a lot about work-life balance. It’s a nice catch-all phrase that tries to explain the daily attention we place on both our work and home life. Can you give equal attention to a career and a family all of the time? I don’t think you can realistically.

“Instead, I prefer the practice of work-life harmony.”

Read more about Amy’s philosophy here.

Our before and after photos

why is setting goals and priorities important

why is setting goals and priorities important

Action Plan ⇐

As you read the articles and our referenced blogs, do the following:

  1. Make a list of the tips or phrases that stick out for you. “Work-life harmony,” for example, may resonate with you.
  2. Write down the list of goals swirling in your head.
  3. Decide which one goal you want to work on. Use our SMART goals guidance to create your goal.
  4. Break that goal into chunks, much like I did with the remodel. Those chunks become your priorities.
  5. Create a timeline for meeting your goal, with your priorities as milestones in that process.
  6. Plan the work and work the plan.
  7. Celebrate when done!

Your priorities can be in a chronological sequence, like mine were. Or you may be able to work on whichever priority you choose on any given day. The point is to work on them.

Keep a diary or journal of your progress. When you meet your goal, look back over your notes and see what you did well and what you would do differently. Record those as lessons learned for your next goal.

Keep me posted on your progress. And let me know how I can help you by posting in the comments below.

© Pamela A. Scott, MentorLoft.com 2017

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