7 Effective Goal Setting Tips To Improve Productivity


How do you effectively set goals to improve productivity for yourself, your team and your organization?

To help you set goals to improve productivity, we asked business leaders and Eller Alumni this question for their best advice. From focusing on small and actionable goals to using the SMART method, there are several tips that may help you effectively set goals and improve productivity for yourself, your team and your organization.

Here are seven effective goal setting tips to improve productivity:

  • Focus On Small and Actionable Goals
  • Find Motivators that Will Keep You On Track
  • Strategic Planning
  • Make Goals Achievable, Time-Driven and Measurable
  • Break It Down and Enjoy Milestones
  • Use a Task Management Software and Aim Big
  • Take the SMART Approach

Focus On Small and Actionable Goals

In order to help me achieve my goals for myself, my team and my organization, I set smaller goals that lead to our larger, more strategic initiatives. These can be daily, weekly or monthly tasks that all tie into reaching the larger objective. I find this to be much more manageable and you track more easily track your progress toward your goals.

Elyse Flynn Meyer, ’07 BSBA (Marketing and International Business), President and Founder of Prism Global Marketing Solutions

Find Motivators that Will Keep You On Track

There are a variety of organizational tools and planning methods that give me the ability to plan anything I can imagine. However, in my life, it will only happen if I truly believe it will help me in tangible ways. It is critical for me to think about the end goal and all of the ways that this goal will affect me. Additionally, other motivators can be used along the way such as rewarding yourself with your favorite snack after completing a part of your overall goal or taking a 10-minute break after 30 minutes of productivity.

Kirk Williams ’21 MSM Graduating Student

Strategic Planning

We spend a day diving deep into the organization by evaluating prior success and challenges. We then analyze what needs to happen in order to improve the organization and collaboratively identify the top three to five goals for the year. These goals align with the organization's core values, mission, and why. As a team, we prioritize and game plan what the successful accomplishment of these goals looks like, with weekly check-ins and quarterly evaluations.

Alison Stine, ’13 BSBA (Finance), Founder of Stine Wealth Management

Make Goals Achievable, Time-Driven and Measurable

Goals to improve yourself, your team or your organization can effectively be set with something that is achievable. Sometimes a quick win in the short term can be a springboard towards an overall goal or strategy. Goals need to have timelines, otherwise, they will always be at risk of delays, and it creates a sense of urgency. Goals need to be measured, you need to determine if you are on track and will make your timeline.

Joseph Romani ’22 MBA (General Management), MBA Consultant at Chewy

Break It Down and Enjoy Milestones

Create a roadmap with multiple milestones rather than achieving everything at the same time. In addition, reward the success moments whenever a milestone is attained. Doing this definitely improves productivity and brings a sense of motivation.

Rahul Mitra, ’21 MBA (Corporate Finance) '21 MS (MIS), Business Intel Engineer Intern, Amazon Advertising, DSP at Amazon

Use a Task Management Software and Aim Big

Setting realistic goals doesn't mean curbing your ambitions or aiming low for the sake of hitting your numbers. Even the most audacious goals can come to fruition if you effectively plan and manage your productivity. Using task-management software like ClickUp, Asana or Trello can help you build a task-oriented roadmap to achieving big things without having to confront the whole magnitude of what you're trying to achieve each time you sit down to make progress. By breaking goals down into steps with dependencies and clear order, you can better measure progress and fight the fatigue of taking on big projects by knowing what you're working on has a specific place in the process.

Kevin Kitchen, ’22 MBA (Marketing and Entrepreneurship), Director of Marketing Operations at ClickFunnels

Take the SMART Approach

First, ensure whatever goals you set are aligned to the overall vision for the company and objectives from the c suite. There are so many choices and directions a business can go, so ensuring folks are marching in the same direction is key.  Next, take a SMART approach to goal setting - Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable and Timely.  After that, it's about executing with focus, making sure you are not distracted with the wrong priorities.  Lastly, set aside time to celebrate success while learning from how you could do things even better in the future.

Erick Barbor BS (Finance), Head of Strategy at Samsung Electronics America

Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.