For businesses of any type and size, time is probably the most valuable asset. Investing it on the right things will result in improved productivity, increased revenue, more engaged workforce, etc.
Here’s a shocking stat: An average worker invests 51% of daily work time on low to no-value tasks.
Unfortunately, if your workforce is working on things that deliver little value for most part of the day, your business will struggle to achieve its goals and stay competitive in this dynamic market environment.
To achieve surplus growth, your business needs to stay focused on its long-term goals while successfully accomplishing daily and monthly tasks, also termed as short-term goals.
Now, setting both long and short term goals is important as they give you a strong sense of purpose (and direction) to work for.
However, whether at work or in personal life, one of the most common problems that people experience is their lack of ability to maintain a fine balance between short and long term goals. Especially, when it comes to goals for time management.
Yes, “balance” is the key here.
While your long-term goals are the bigger picture, short-term goals are small pieces that you put together to complete it.
Understanding short-term and long-term goals
Let’s understand what separates long-term and short-term goals in a business environment.
Short-term goals are accomplishments you want to achieve in the near future.
Finishing assigned projects within a week, or earning a monthly revenue of $50,000 in the next 3 months are a couple examples of short-term goals.
Short-term goals can also be a ladder to achieve your long-term goals.
Say you want to register the total sales of $600,000 in a year then achieving monthly sales of $50,000 per month will get you there.
On the other hand, long-term goals are accomplishments that you want to achieve in the distant future, like taking your annual business turnover to $12,000,00 in the next 5 years .
Long term goals call for more patience, planning, and time.
Generally, such goals are made of several small or short-term goals. That’s why it’s vital to determine short-term goals alongside long-term goals for time management.
Top tips to balance long-term and short-term goals for smart time management
So, we’ve come down to the crux of the matter – balancing short-term goals with long-term goals for smart time management.
Businesses are continuously dealing with short-day-to-day tasks as well as work towards long-term goals. At times, both types of goals conflict with each other, which leaves business owners and managers with a tricky decision on how to achieve the right balance.
Before we get started with tips, keep in mind to refrain from setting “unrealistic” goals for yourself. Be “honest” and “specific” about your goals to achieve desirable outcomes.
Let’s take a look at 5 valuable tips to help you align your short-term and long-term goals.
1. Prioritize and set goals
The first step towards balancing short-term and long-term goals is to prioritize them. It is essential to identify which goals are more important and need immediate attention. You should identify the goals that will have the most significant impact on your life and career and focus on achieving them first. Once you have prioritized your goals, you can create a plan that outlines the steps you need to take to achieve each goal.
To set effective goals, use the SMART method. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Specific goals are clear and concise, while measurable goals enable you to track your progress. Achievable goals should be challenging but realistic, relevant goals align with your values and priorities, and time-bound goals have a deadline for completion.
2. Identify the “high-value” goals
Not all business goals are the same. Here, you have to scan your list of long-term goals, and categorize them for more clarity.
The high-value goal is the one that aligns with your overall business strategy and vision. It’s the goal that, when achieved, will have the greatest impact on your success in the long-term. This goal should be your top priority, even if it means temporarily putting aside some of your short-term goals.
By focusing on your high-value goal, you can ensure that your daily activities are aligned with your long-term vision, and that you’re making progress towards your ultimate objectives. This can help you avoid getting bogged down in urgent but ultimately unimportant tasks, and ensure that you’re spending your time and energy on what really matters.
Once you’ve identified “high-value” goals, you’ll be able to break them down into small steps, which is short-term planning.
3. Break down your goals
Managing your time effectively is crucial for achieving your goals. One way to do this is by breaking down your goals into smaller tasks and creating a schedule. This involves identifying what needs to be done and setting achievable milestones. By doing this, you’ll have a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished and when.
Once you have identified your goals and milestones, you need to allocate time for each task. This requires estimating how much time each task will take and prioritizing them accordingly, which is the prime goal of time management. By doing so, you’ll be able to manage your time better and ensure that you’re making progress towards your goals.
It’s also important to ensure that you’re not over-committing to tasks. This can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. To avoid this, allocate time for rest and relaxation in your schedule. This will help you recharge and be more productive in the long run.
4. Use a top-rated time tracker tool
Let’s get things straight – you cannot achieve your goals if you’re not utilizing your time efficiently.
While you may think that you and your team are doing your best at work, the fact is you may be wasting your time unconsciously at work. This is where using the best time-tracker app can help you improve your efficiency time management skills so you can invest your time on things that are worth it.
The app helps you with time tracking and monitoring your team’s productivity, activities, tasks, etc., and offers you actionable and insightful online reports and statistics that will help you analyze how you are spending your time at work. You can use this app to improve your performance at work by comparing current and past time data.
5. Review goal progress frequently
Say you wanted to achieve 3 short-term goals within a year and you’re into the third quarter of the year. Have you achieved all of them, or are you somewhere near the halfway mark? Do you have adequate time to achieve your goals in the remaining time?
This is where reviewing your goal progress frequently becomes important.
While working towards achieving your goals, review their progress to stay on top of deadlines. Reviewing your progress lets you know whether you are moving ahead on time, or you need to speed up your efforts to achieve your goals within set time frames.
Reviewing also helps you adjust your plans and make changes to goals accordingly.
6. Remember to relax!
It’s obvious that you are working hard to achieve your short-term and long-term goals, but remember to maintain a fine work-life balance. Don’t live a lop-sided life where you are too engrossed in your work and goals that your personal life takes the backseat. Give your mind and body adequate rest by indulging in your favorite activities.
Taking your focus away from your goals for some time and doing things that bring you sheer joy and happiness will help you keep a fine balance that is crucial for your overall well-being.
The Final Thought
Ultimately, the goal of time management is to help you achieve your goals and fulfill your potential. Whether you’re working towards short-term or long-term goals, effective time management is crucial to your success.
While goal-setting can take up a lot of time and energy, it’s worth its weight in gold. Since both long-term and short-term goals are interrelated, you need to take calculated steps and create a roadmap to achieve them. Investing time on the right things will help you accomplish your short goals one-by-one, and ultimately reach where you want to.
By implementing five useful tips mentioned in the blog, you’ll be able to achieve a fine balance between your short-term and long-term goals.
Vartika Kashyap is an author and the Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub, a project management and team collaboration software company dedicated to better collaborative work management. She is known for her articles and for being socially active on work-life balance, mental health, and teamwork.