Achieve your career goals

Achieve your career goals

Clay Christensen is a Harvard Business School professor specializing in the future of work and how to set smart work goals. 
If you are have trouble finding your business niche perhaps his suggestions will help you on your way.

Before you set a goal

Dr Christensen suggests taking a step back. Most people start planning by setting goals. Dr. Christensen suggest that you cannot set realistic goals until you know your purpose in life. What is you calling?
I’m a conservationist. I want to help people live a productive, sustainable life. Hawaiians call it being pono and it means living in harmony with each other and with our earth.
Here are some of Dr. Christensen’s thoughts on how to live a productive life.
Understand your values. Values can usually be expressed in a word or two. If you value honesty, loyalty and caring for others those values will guide your purpose in life. 
Your calling must be consistent with your values.
When you understand your purpose, picking your niche is relatively easy, but for me it has not been that easy. I spent 30 years working for various federal and state conservation organizations. When I retired, I lost my way for 10 years while I tried to make enough income to survive in retirement in one of the highest cost of living states in the union.
During that time I had a variety of sales, computer and conservation gigs, but I lacked focus. Gradually, I realized that most people work to survive. The are drifting without purpose. Their only goal is to provide for their family and sometimes it isn’t even that.
This article is about setting goals, but goals without purpose are meaningless. 
How we spend our time determines what we do in life. Usually, we work for our bosses goals and our life goals overwhelmed by outside forces.

So what are the qualities of a well crafted goal?

My wife says I have to many interests. I’m sure she is right. When I try to do to many things, I get a little bit done on each thing and accomplish nothing. 
Try to focus your goals on those things that are most important to you and do not work on more than three goals at a time. 
Break you goals down into small measurable steps and put a deadline on each step. That way you will see progress toward your goal. Being able to mark off your progress helps motivate you to keep going. 

What matters is how you spend your time

You can talk about your goals all you like, but what matters is how you spend your time. Block out the time on your calendar when you will work on the most important thing in your life. Consider that time an appointment you cannot break.  I use block journaling to plan and record my life. It lets me see what I have accomplished and what I plan to do. It is old-fashioned pen and paper, but it works for me. I’m a computer guy, so I also use Evernote, Trello and Planyway. They integrate beautifully and providing all the planning capability most people need. I track my time using Toggl. Explaining how I use those tools will take another article, but you can Google them. 
Watch how you use your time and your money. If you are not working on your goals you are wasting your life. When the way you live your life is inconsistent with your calling, you are headed in the wrong direction. When you focus on your life purpose all your decisions will be much easier. Your purpose will guide your goals and your goals will determine how you live your life. On the river of life, if your boat looses its rudder you may get swamped in the rapids of life.
How do you know if your life is on track? Make a lot of little failures. People often develop a strategy for accomplishing their goals but fail to test whether the strategy is working. The result is by the time the figure out things are not working they are already facing catastrophic failure.
In summary: 
Know your calling.
Be sure what you are doing is consistent with your values.
Identify what you must do to accomplish your calling.
Break those goals down into measurable objectives that have realistic deadlines.
Watch how you use your time and your money.
Check often to be sure the strategies you are using are working.

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