Goal Setting and Time Management


Goal setting and time management can often be a challenging task however the rewards far outweigh those issues. Consciously setting goals and managing time is more than just keeping a diary of chores to be done on a daily basis, it allows someone to view the bigger picture thus fulfill desired goal. It allows us to differentiate wants from needs and hence concentrate on what is most important. The importance of setting goals can be summarized as “many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal”. (Locke 9) A goal is a specific and measurable objective or idea that one wishes to fulfill in future. This paper seeks to understand goal setting and time management and their importance.

Guidelines on setting goals

There are three types of goals long term, medium term, short term goals but all can be set and achieved by following similar guidelines. The first step in goal setting is deciding the goals then writing down a list of where one want to be in 10 years, in 5 years, in 2 years, in a year, in six months this are further broken down into daily tasks. This daily chores are reviewed at the end the end of the day; it’s only by achieving these daily chores/goals that eventually the long-term goals can be achieved.

Goals should be stated in a positive way; instead of stating ‘I don’t want to be stupid anymore’ the goal would be better stated as ‘I desire to learn more’

A goal should be precise complete with dates and time required to achieve it, this allows it to be measurable.

Often a single person can have several goals, here priorities have to be set so that one does not feel over burdened by many goals and allows the goal setter to focus his /her energies on the most important goals.

Everyone has goals but very few people write them down. Writing goals “crystallizes them and gives them more force”. (Shalley 10)

Daily operational should be small and achievable because “Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward”. (Shalley 10)

Goals should be those that one can perform that is their outcome depend on us not others thus it’s not advisable to state a goal as ‘I would like to get a job’ simply because the outcome of the ‘job’ depend on the employer.

All goals should be realistic. If someone desires to be a doctor in two years yet at the moment he/she is their first year of high school is unrealistic and would obviously not be achieved in the specified time.

Goals should be flexible, this gives space for unexpected events that could be beyond individual control and insulates the goal setter from discouragement that comes from not being able to achieve the goal.

Time budgeting

Time budgeting and goal setting are intertwined. Better time management skills contribute to achieving goals by ensuring that time is spent on the most important goals. Time can neither be stored nor increased but can be utilized more efficiently. Time management is approached the same way as the goal setting principles of writing daily and weekly tasks, prioritizing the tasks and being realistic.

The daily tasks are broken down to hourly task to better measure success.

Time budget for a student whose priority are his/her studies

9:00-10:30 Lecture
10:30-11:30 Personal Study
11:30-12:00 Break time
12:00-1:00 Lunch hour
1:00-2:30 Lecture
2:30-3:30 Personal Study
3:30-4:30 Class
4:30-5:30 Gym time
6:00-7:00 Lecture
7:00-8:00 Group Study
8:00-10:00 Leisure time
10:00-11:00 Personal Study
11:00-1:00 leisure time
1:00-8:00 Sleep

Importance of time management and goal setting

Setting a goals and managing time helps one to cross the bridge between where they are today and where they want to be in future by achieving the desired goals. (Mager 8) Goals help someone to change unfavorable habits to good habits since it serves as a constant reminder of what is to be done and at what time. Goal setting “can lead to more effort; for example, if one typically produces 4 widgets an hour, and has the goal of producing 6, one may work more intensely than one would otherwise in order to reach the goal”. (Mager 8)When a goal is set one is more likely to be persistent to work through challenges in pursuance of the desired goal. Goals “narrow attention and direct efforts to goal-relevant activities and away from perceived undesirable and goal-irrelevant actions”. (Locke 9)


Characteristics of a good goal and time management plans can be summarized as ‘SMART’ that is they should be “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely” (Vermeeren 7). A goal should be reviewed at the end of the specified period and analyzed to determine whether or not it was fully achieved and the challenges experienced during the period. These challenges should be written down as this helps to follow a better path to achieve other goals in future. The main purpose of a goal is to “provide a sense of direction and purpose”. (Bandura 5)

Works Cited

Bandura, Alman. “Perceived Self-Efficacy in Cognitive Development and Functioning”. Educational Psychologist 13.5 (2005): 4-10.print.

Locke, Edwin.Motivation by Goal Setting: Handbook of Organizational Behavior.London: Imprint, 2001.Print.

Mager,Robert. Goal Analysis. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. Print.

Shalley, Christina. “Effects of Coercion, Expected Evaluation, and Goal Setting on Creativity “. Academy of Management Journal 56 (2007): 1-10.Print.

Latham, Garvin. “Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task Motivation”.The American Psychologist 12.7(2002): 6-15.Print.

Vermeeren,Douglas. Guerrilla Achiever. New York: Springer, 2010. Print.