I recently read a book about how to get things done. Like many people, I struggled with “getting things done.” I struggled with starting new projects. I struggled with finishing old projects. I struggled with prioritizing projects.
This was not a new problem for me. And I knew that I was not the only out there struggling with this problem.
Then, I looked around my home library and was awed by the books on the shelf. I asked myself: “how did he find the time to write and publish a book?!” I browsed through websites and I asked myself: “how could she post 5 blogs every day?!” I looked on the brag board at my gym and asked myself: “how could she jog five miles every day?!”
In short, I was wondering how other people got so much accomplished every day while I struggled to keep my head above water?! That was why I started reading the book on getting things done.
I found my answer.
I can say it in two words but I confess that the better answer will require more explanation.
Before you start rolling your eyes and/or feeling exasperated, here is the explanation.
I know that you have heard it before. A person must have long- and short-term goals. Without goals, a person is like “a ship without a rudder.” You must have goals that will take three to five years to complete. You must have goals that can be completed within a year. You must have goals that can be completed with thirty days. You must have daily goals.
Goals! Goals! Goals!
It’s monotonous but true. There are many books about how to set goals, why to make goals, and how to stay focused on your newly set goals. (You can find a few in the Meta-Inspired Store.) But I just want to mention the one thing that convinced me that goals are powerful.
I have been conducting a bit of informal research on how people “get things done.” I looked at the results.
Books were written, blogs were posted, and miles were run because these were goals that people had set for themselves.
The goal was to write the book. It was written.
The goal was to post the blogs. They were posted.
The goal was to run five miles. They were run.
Of course, setting the goal was only the first step towards achieving those goals. There were also other steps like commitment, determination, and discipline that were necessary to keep moving towards those goals.
But setting the goal was the first step in the process. Without goals, people are surely “a ship without a rudder” drifting in a different direction. And this applies to larger goals, too.
I remember W. Clement Stone who stated, “All I want to do is change the world.” Now that’s a goal! It’s even a game-changing goal. And he did it. He wrote “Success through a Positive Mental Attitude, started positive thinking camps, and helped people to empower themselves through mental discipline.
Think about any of today’s larger-than-life icons that have accomplished incredible goals; people who have “changed the game.”
- Steve Jobs—inventor, Founder of Apple, Inc. and Pixar Studios
- Richard Branson—business magnate, investor, adventurer
- Bill Gates—Founder of Microsoft, world’s largest philanthropist
- Oprah Winfrey—Media mogul, producer, philanthropist, actress
- Maya Angelou—prolific and profound author and philosopher
- LeBron James—most successful and influential basketball player in the world
- Lionel Messie—best football player in the world
- Any U.S. president—what more can be said?
They all set goals—big goals!—and worked towards them consciously and purposefully.
So, when I’m looking at results, I can see the power of goal setting—for both big and small goals. In fact, perhaps it is better to have a big goal to accomplish great things. Like Walt Disney, it is important to harbor a magnificent obsession.
Does goal-setting work?
It works for big goals and small goals, for large objectives and small tasks, for grand visions and minor chores.
That’s how you “get things done.”