Goal setting is linked to higher levels of performance in business, fitness, health, personal finance, and more. In one study, people who wrote down their goals and had weekly accountability check-ins with a friend were 33% more likely to reach their goals than people who didn’t put their goals in writing, with a success rate of 76%.
However, setting goals won’t help you much if you’re unable to prioritize them. Research shows that people often default to prioritizing goals with the most pressing deadline first, even if they’re not the most important or valuable. If you’re in a role where there always seem to be rush deadlines, this can quickly set your longer-term goals up for failure.
If you have trouble prioritizing time between short-term and long-term project goals, check out our guide below for actionable steps you can take to gain a better balance.
What Are Short-Term & Long-Term Project Goals?
Short-term goals refer to objectives that you plan to accomplish in the near future, such as within a few days, weeks, or hours. Think of short-term goals as your daily and weekly to-do lists. For example, a short-term goal for an accountant may be to prepare a financial record for a specific client by the end of the week.
Long-term goals, on the other hand, take much longer to accomplish and often involve a breakdown of milestones to keep you on track. A long-term accounting goal may be to implement accounting software that will help team members more effectively and accurately manage their day-to-day work. This could involve milestones like:
- Setting a budget
- Choosing a software vendor
- Negotiating a contract
- Making a purchase
- Transferring existing data to the new software
- Training team members on how to use the software
Short-term goals help you prioritize your time daily, while long-term goals set up a big-picture vision of things you want to accomplish. Thus, both goal types are important to drive significant results.
Tips for Prioritizing Your Time
1. Start With a Clear Vision & Purpose
It’s always best to start by creating long-term goals that give you (and your organization’s teams) a sense of where your work or organization is headed. Consider asking yourself:
- How do my daily activities contribute to the organization’s mission?
- How are my immediate deadlines progressing the project forward?
- What are the long-term rewards of my work?
Once you have a clear roadmap, it’s easier to decipher which tasks at hand provide the most value. To help track your progress toward longer-term goals, consider implementing project management software where you can break each goal down into short-term milestones.
2. Evaluate Your Resource Capacity
Goals don’t matter much if you lack the resources to accomplish them. Once you’ve established a vision, ensure you have a realistic amount of time to complete it with the budget, technology, and people (and where appropriate, vendors & contract talent) you have on hand.
3. Set SMART Goals
SMART goals offer a framework of criteria to help you determine realistic and meaningful goals. SMART stands for:
- Specific: Instead of setting a goal to increase the time you spend each day on a data entry milestone, make your goal more granular by changing it to “spend one hour per day inputting data.”
- Measurable: Like the example above, make sure your goals have components that allow you to measure whether the goal was completed.
- Achievable: Your goal should be realistically achievable with the resources available.
- Relevant: Goals should always align with your larger values and objectives.
- Time-bound: Set an achievable end date for your goal so you can prioritize and motivate the steps it will take to meet it.
4. Leave Room for Flexibility
Just because you currently have the capacity to complete a goal by a sooner deadline doesn’t mean other work won’t pop up in the interim. Always be sure to leave time for other tasks to occasionally take priority without throwing you off course.
5. Regularly Evaluate & Adjust
Sometimes, goals require more time, energy, or resources than originally estimated. If you notice that a goal’s deadline no longer seems realistic due to a new set of circumstances, don’t be afraid to adjust it accordingly.
Make Prioritizing Your Time a Breeze
Properly prioritizing your time between goals makes expectations clearer, helps you stay organized, and sets you up for likely success. A project management software that enables you to track your goals and see your teammates’ progress towards theirs increases accountability, team alignment, and efficiency.
coAmplifi’s workforce management software has the project-tracking tools you need alongside other benefits like timecard management, collaboration tools, and business analytics. Schedule your demo now!