Goal Setting: A Key Time Management Tool

As a student, you may already have a large goal in mind which may be to graduate from college, but there are many goals that need to be met before achieving that larger goal.  Therefore, you need to plan a goal, write it down, and revisit it periodically to keep you focused on attaining it. Goal setting is a great way to manage your time effectively as it keeps you focused on one goal at a time. By making smaller goals, your overarching goal will not seem so farfetched. 

How should you start to make a goal? 

Be specific: First you need to evaluate yourself and think about what you may be currently struggling with academically.  If you are struggling with a specific subject or skill, this is a way to begin to narrow your goal’s focus.  For example, if you are having trouble writing a paper using correct grammar or having difficulty understanding various math concepts, you can choose one of these and plan your goal.  Be sure to make it as specific as possible.

Identify what you will do: It is important that you identify what you are going to do to achieve your goal.  For example, if you decide to focus your goal on getting better at writing the correct verb tenses in your sentences, you need to state what you will do get better.  Examples can be going to the tutoring center at school or visiting with your teacher for tips and practicing with a few online topics. 

Time-bound: You need to set time frames for reaching your goal.  This will help keep you accountable for your own learning.  Perhaps you would like to reach your goal by the end of the semester or in the next couple of months.  Include this as you write your goal.  Be sure you give yourself ample time to reach your goal and set a realistic time frame.  You may have to create a calendar with activities you will do daily, weekly, or bi-weekly to reach your goal.

Make it measurable: Effective goals need to be measurable.  This also helps with accountability and can be written down as a percentage.  Think of this part in terms of how accurate you want to be on your improved skill.

Examples of goals:

I will be able to solve equations using the quadratic formula problems with 80% accuracy by the end of the semester.  I will reach this goal by meeting with my tutor twice a week and working on additional problems independently prior to visiting with the tutor again.

I will use the correct subject-verb agreement in my sentences with 90% accuracy by the end of the month.  I will reach this goal by doing online tutorials and practice exercises on a weekly basis.

Writing your goal may take some time, but it will definitely help you manage your time effectively and make you a better student. When you make your goal, it needs to be clear, attainable, measurable, and time efficient. As you work toward your goal, continue to revisit it to help remind you of it.  Also, be sure to make a new goal when you reach a goal.  This will help keep you motivated to meet your larger goal. 

 *Photo courtesy of Flickr

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