By consistently setting goals and maintaining the practice, you are already in the minority of people who are more likely to achieve success in life. However, to take it to the next level, you will need as many strategies to help you out as you can.
What does it mean to have a goal setting strategy? In this day and age, we have so much to deal with and so little time, so much so that it is no longer enough for us to just to set and achieve goals, but rather we must also do it fast and with as little resources as possible. That means you should not only need to have a goal setting plan, but also a strategy that helps you achieve your goals as quickly and as effectively as possible.
Here are two goal setting strategy that you would want to consider when setting goals.
The Minimum Effective Dose
I learned about the concept of minimum effective does (MED) from Tim Ferris’ book, ‘The 4-Hour Body’. As explained by Tim in the book, MED simply means the smallest dose required to produce the desired result. The absolute bare minimum. For example, to boil water the MED is to raise the temperature of the water to 100 degrees Celsius. Anything more would not bring you any additional results. It wouldn’t boil the water more. So if your goal is to boil water, what you want to focus on is just to get the water up to that temperature. It is not necessary for you to expend any more effort to make the water any hotter.
That same principle would apply to the goals you are trying to achieve as well. For maximum efficiency, what we want to do is the bare minimum required to get the desired results. When setting your goals and your action plans to achieve it, always set out to do the MED, especially at the beginning to get things moving. Any extras can be put aside first. Don’t try to be an absolute perfectionist and be utterly ambitious. Often times doing that will only overwhelm you, make the task seem tougher and scare you off from taking action.
It is not hard to determine the MED for a goal. You just need to be very clear on what you are trying to achieve and how you can achieve it; and not succumb to any desire to try to over complicate things. Focus on making the cake first and put the icing and decorations aside. This concept is similar to Pareto’s Law (also known as the 80/20 rule) where in most cases only 20% of the effort brings about 80% of the results.
Working Hard and Playing Hard
It is much better for one to spend a shorter period of time fully focused on a task rather than allocate more time but not be fully focused on it. I know many people who take many short breaks and ‘relaxing’ interruptions while they are supposed to be working just so they don’t get too stressed out. Not a good idea. It is much more efficient if you allocate only half the time do the work and fully focus while you’re at it, and then spend the rest of the day really relaxing rather than taking many breaks in between.
In fact, it is discovered that whenever you are deep into a task or activity and you get interrupted, it takes you 20 minutes to get back into the state that you were in before you were interrupted. That means that it takes you 20 minutes to get back to the same level of efficiency and effectiveness that you had when you stopped.
If you have noticed, it takes some time before you get into the groove of any task you are doing. Once you get there things just flows and becomes faster and easier. Taking many breaks in between will make you lose this. Thus in your goal setting plan, schedule your action items on shorter periods of focused effort rather than stretching it out across many break periods.
These two goal setting strategies alone will make the achievement of your goals much more effective and efficient. Don’t just blindly work and go about trying to achieve a goal. Rather, have a strategy that will make the odds of success stacked in your favor.