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Use September to Reset & Refocus

September is a great time to reset and refocus. The summer months are often filled with lots of distraction. Hopefully you found time to recharge and refresh and that is so important. As autumn days arrive, it is a good time to consider the final four months of the year.

Review your Goals

Consider the goals you set at the start of the year. There may be some goals you haven’t started yet. Or maybe some new goals that emerged as the year progressed. Now is the time to re-evaluate your priorities so you can focus on the most important things to do between now and December.

Be Realistic

By this point you should have a realistic view of your busy schedule. Where can you find extra time to work on goals?  Set one goal to achieve over a realistic time-frame. Once you make progress you will feel productive and motivated to tackle the next one.

Remove the Vague

The key to making progress is to break down a big goal into smaller actions. That way you can begin to make gradual progress every week. Use short gaps in your schedule to crack through a few tasks each day. They all add up and if well planned, will result in you achieving the overall goal by your deadline.

As Tim Herrera said recently in Smarter Living in New York Times “rather than looking at tasks, projects or decisions as items that must be completed, slice them into the smallest possible units of progress, then knock them out one at a time”.

5 Tips to Reset Your Goals

Here are 5 simple questions to help you set a good goal.

  1. WHAT – What is the change I want to make?

Be clear and be specific. This will help you decide the work that needs to get done to achieve the goal.

  1. WHY – Why do I want to do it?

What is my motivation, what difference will it make? Does this fit my overall vision and purpose?

  1. WHEN – When does this goal need to be achieved?

Set a deadline for completion and then work backwards to set interim deadlines for smaller tasks along the way. This helps you stay motivated and focused throughout.

  1. WHY NOT – What are the risks, the stumbling blocks or things that may prevent you succeeding?

List anything that may get in the way. Things that could cause you to give up. Things that prevented you in the past, things to avoid this time.

  1. HOW – What actual work needs to be done to achieve the goal?

This will help you develop an action plan, basically the work you need to get done.

Goal Action Plan

Once you work out the steps you are starting to build your action plan. Add target dates, measures and resource names for who will complete the work. A simple Word table or an Excel spreadsheet will help you track your progress versus plan. Check the Be Productive Resource Page to download your Goal Planner template.

Sample Goal

Here is an example of a personal goal, developed from High Level Goal to detailed Action Plan:

What: Get Fit

Why:   For health benefits

When: Complete a 5km race by the end of December

What: Actions to Take

  1. Buy Running Shoes
  2. Download a running app
  3. Look up race dates
  4. Make a training plan

Be Productive in Quarter Four

How great would it feel to finish the year on a high? Now is the time to focus so you can have a productive Quarter 4. Best of luck and if you need any help planning or setting goals just contact me at [email protected]. Check our Articles section for further productivity and time management tips on Managing Email, Reducing Stress and Saying No.

About the author

At we run team workshops and webinars on Productivity & WellbeingIf would like to book a session, contact our Productivity Consultant Moira Dunne to find the best solution for you. For tips on a range of topics, access the blog here.