ICPWhat does the GOALS acronym stand for?

The GOALS acronym outlines activities that use goal setting to overcome procrastination. These guidelines are:

  • Generate list of tasks
  • Organize daily activities
  • Align personal goals with organizational goals
  • Line up tasks according to priority
  • Stay focused

Generate a list of tasks

One way to use goals to overcome procrastination is to generate a list of tasks you wish to accomplish. At the beginning of each day or project, you should generate a task list to identify steps toward accomplishment of the overall goal.

A list of tasks might include objectives for overall goals but not all tasks on your list need to be objectives. For example, your daily task list might include returning a very important phone call. Although the phone call is not directly related to your goal, completing it allows you to focus on your objectives. This list of tasks will help you recognize smaller tasks and overcome any fear that might result from focusing on the overall goal.

Organize daily activities

Use a computerized scheduling program or a hand-written calendar to identify critical meetings and appointments. Then, fill in the rest of your day with tasks from your list. Remember to allow sufficient time for each task, and stick to your agenda each day to maximize your time.

Align personal goals with organizational goals

A third guideline is to align your personal goals with organizational goals. One way you can ensure that your personal goals reflect the organization’s goals is to review your organization’s mission and vision statements. Ask your manager or supervisor to evaluate your goals and provide feedback. Goal alignment will help you avoid putting effort into tasks that do not have organizational support.

Line up tasks according to priority

Another guideline is to line up your tasks according to priority. Use a ranking system to prioritize your tasks according to organizational and individual needs. Ensure that tasks with deadlines are at the top of your list, and fill in more flexible tasks on your agenda as time becomes available.

Stay focused

A final guideline is to stay focused. Minimize distractions such as e-mail, chatty co-workers, and unnecessary meetings to make the most of your time. Distractions encourage creative avoidance and will only make procrastination more appealing. Remove yourself from situations where distractions prevent you from completing your tasks.

To minimize e-mail distractions, set aside a certain time in your daily task list when you will read and respond to e-mail messages. You should only attend necessary meetings. You will be able to see from the meeting agenda whether you need to attend or not. Also, include additional time in your daily task list, in case meetings run over time. If co-workers are your distraction, explain your goals to them and ask for their help and support in achieving them.