Goals will not get you very far down the road to success unless you take meaningful, relevant actions. Just as there are two kinds of goals – SMART and Vision – so there are two kinds of actions:
- Tasks, which are individual actions
- Projects, which are an orderly series of tasks
Let\’s look at each in a little detail.
A task is just something you have to do to reach a goal or other desired result. For example, if you were planning a party, your tasks could include making an invitation list, sending out invitations, deciding on refreshments, buying refreshments etc. Or let\’s say your goal is to read the Bible from cover to cover. A task would be \”Read a chapter each day,\” repeated over and over.
A project is a series of tasks, all of which are necessary to accomplish the goal or objective, along with necessary resources. In the example above, you could make Bob\’s Birthday Party a project, and divided into all the tasks needed, as well as expenses to cover purchases and other costs; a timeline; and responsibilities for the various parts. The 5W2H formula is helpful here: who, what, when, where, why, how and how much.
A \”to do list\” app can be very helpful in clarifying tasks and projects, as well as setting specific parameters. Currently there are a number of very good free \”to do\” apps including Todoist, Microsoft To Do, Microsoft OneNote, Asana, Trello and more. You can also use an Excel spreadsheet and save it to the cloud using OneDrive or other storage solutions.
If you are the kind of person who does not like structured tasks or projects, you have one more option: simply review each goal at least once a day so you don\’t forget and are prompted to think what you are going to do about it. Again a free, multiplatform \”to do\” app can be very helpful with this.
Whichever practice you choose, you will likely be more successful if you have some form of measurement to track your progress. Let\’s look at your measure options next.