Setting goals is one of the most important organizational skills you can obtain as goal setting requires a level of self-discipline that will help motivate you to focus on what needs to be done. It is a well known fact that individuals who set documented goals for themselves are usually more successful in both their personal and professional life than those who do not. Also, people who set and finish goals tend to get more done and often earn more money than people who don’t set goals.
What are Goals?
Goals are things you want to accomplish or change in your life. It takes effort and organization to make changes in your life so having goals will help you clarify what needs to be done. For example, you might reach the point in your life where something isn’t quite right. Maybe your job isn’t challenging anymore or you want to learn a new skill. Maybe you feel stuck. The good news is that you can change your career, and your life by setting some attainable goals.
Documenting your goals will help you keep track of your goals. Some do this in the form of a career plan which will help you think about how to accomplish your goals. Your plan will also help you think about who can help you along the way. For example, if one of your goals is to upgrade your skills by learn advanced spreadsheet design and a course is offered at your company, get approval to take that course and achieve that goal.
How to Set Goals
Make realistic goals that you believe you can achieve that are within your reach. Give yourself a set amount of time to complete each goal. Think of the people and resources you will need to achieve each goal. When setting goals, make sure you have both short and long term goals.
Setting Short Term Goals
When setting any goal, make sure they are very clear and specific. It would be pointless setting a short term goal that was impossible to achieve. It doesn’t mean that your short term goals shouldn’t be ambitious or challenging, it just means that they must be goals that you are able to achieve.
When setting workplace goals, make sure your goals align with the overall goals of the organization or department you work for. A major part of the planning process in any organization is setting goals and objectives. Most organizations do short and long term planning which ranges from one-year to up to a five-year period. As the administrative professional, depending on your level of expertise, you may be supporting the executives of the company or any number of the lower level management. Whichever department you work in, it will have goals and objectives set by the top-level executives that need to be achieved.
Setting Long Term Goals
According to JobSeekersGuide.org, your long-term goals should cover all parts of your life — career, education, financial and personal. They suggest that these goals can be related to each other. For example, you might have one goal that affects all areas of your life.
When setting long term goals you need to think ahead. In our fast changing work climate, it’s very rare today that one can expect to be doing exactly the same job they are doing today in five or ten years time. Think about where would you like to be in five years? How about ten years time? Think about and write down your long-term goals. Include career, education, financial, or personal goals. Some examples of long term goal are:
- Career: I want to learn about becoming an Office Manager.
- Education: I want to get my Administrative Assistant AS Degree.
- Finances: I want to save $3000.00
- Personal: I want to feel healthier by making healthy meals at least 2 nights a week.
Track your Progress and Reward Yourself
If you track the progress of your short-term goals, it will help you complete your long-term goals in the long run. The best way to accomplish this is to identify your short term goal and by what date you plan to accomplish it. Make sure you identify the resources required in order for you to be successful. Whenever you complete a goal, be sure to reward yourself on your accomplishment.
Be Adaptable and Flexible
One thing we can always be guaranteed in life is change and you may need to adjust your priorities and goals depending on the needs the organization you work for. For the administrative professional, the ability to adapt to change is a very necessary skill. Maybe your top priority and goal was to complete the department expense reports on time every Friday by 4:00 pm but now your boss has asked you to do a task he/she considers more important. It’s important that you realign your goals with the overall goals of your boss or department with the ultimate goal of re-focusing on your main goal as soon as you can.