Goal Setting

by Subhomoy Haldar

Getting things done!

I've decided to organise my life a little bit better. I have the problem of starting a multitude of projects but finishing only a fraction of them. As my roles increase in both quantity and diversity, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of all the endeavours I've undertaken.

Planner and yellow highlighter ➣ Planning ahead is important - Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

A better explanation

I have several roles in various organisations. Graphic Design is a common thing I do for most of these groups. Some of the work I do is paid, but most of them are unpaid duties, but important nonetheless.

Consequently, I get a lot of design projects. Common stuff include posters, and social media posts, which take a maximum of one-sitting to get most of the work done. Other rare, but usually paid and high-effort tasks include making logos, branding, one-time print items like menus, brochures, shirt designs and so on.

And this is just in the field of design. A hobby. My main job as a student is to study and finish all my assignments in time, have my lab files ready, ensure I maintain a minimum attendance and so on. It sometimes becomes stressful, even without the duties I have to bear as the General Secretary of a Club.

It is an understatement if someone states that I perpetually seem to have a lot on my plate. But I feel this is better than having nothing to do at all, idling away my time in base, meaningless activities that have hardly any effect on society, let alone be positive. It is imperative that I seek balance in my daily schedule. I know that I cannot do everything all the time. So I need to carefully prioritize and allocate chunks of my time to tasks.

The act of goal-setting

Sometimes, a goal seems too abstract or too cumbersome. I feel this on a regular basis and I think most of you do too. The way to deal with this is to convert the end goal to manageable, actionable tasks. Here's a method that I follow:

  1. Write the end goal prominently so that it never gets out of sight.
  2. Think of pre-requisites to that goal. It doesn't matter if the steps seem too big or too trivial. In the former case, it can be subdivided into smaller tasks; in the latter, it can be assimilated into a larger task along with several others.
  3. Once all the steps have been fleshed out into reasonable sizes, assign time slots to them the moment you have some time in you hands. Make reasonable allotments so that you may actually be able to finish the tasks comfortably while having a little bit of room to spare. You can choose the atomicity to be 30 minutes (for small-medium tasks) or an hour (longer tasks).
  4. Stick as close as possible to the schedule while ensuring that the ticking clock does not haunt you in the back of your mind. Rushed work might pay off in the short term but it is not good as a habit.

That's my general strategy to get my work done. The number of tasks varies daily for me because the amount of time that I get varies too. I made the steps as general as possible (as Mathematicians do) so that anyone can apply this plan to their own schedule while it's functional enough to actually get stuff done.

Conclusion

Let me know what you guys think of this algorithm. Suggestions and comments are always welcome!