Proven steps to setting personal goals at work

Personal development goals are essential if you want to improve your performance, achieve more, and increase your value to your team. By setting goals regularly and pushing towards them, you’ll make sure that you steadily progress at work and enhance your life at home.

What you want to do is take a step back, work out where you need to improve, and set targets that will help you stay in control.

When you develop personal goals, it’s important to make them both achievable and measurable. If they’re not realistic, you won’t be motivated to reach them and if they’re not measurable, you won’t know whether you’ve hit them or not. Being measurable doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be quantifiable — though if you can attach hard numbers, so much the better. For example, if your goal is to keep your desk and your Mac desktop clutter-free in order to make you more productive, it’s easy to see whether you’ve achieved that at the end of a day, week, or month.

Other goals could be not so easy to measure. If you set yourself the task of being more mindful at work, for example, there’s no quantifiable way to define success. But the result of that goal should be you feeling more relaxed, confident, and able to deal with stressful situations. And that is measurable just by asking yourself a few questions and noting the answers at the end of a given time period.

How to improve your personal development

Here are some examples of personal development goals you can set at work and how you can achieve them.

Make better decisions

Decisions are measurable but not easily quantifiable. The net outcome of making better decisions should be better results.

Making better decisions means being armed with better data, organizing it, and using it to inform the decision-making process. So, resolve to do more research and use an app like Studies to keep and organize notes. If you find your research involves reading large PDF documents, use PDF Search to quickly find the information you need.

Once the research on the given topic is over, create a mind map using XMind or iThoughtsX to organize your thoughts and make a more accurate decision.

Solve email

We all struggle to keep our email inboxes clean. Whether you’re a compulsive filer who has a folder for every little thing, someone who lets everything stay in their inbox, or the kind of person who rarely even reads messages, we can all improve how we work with email. That may mean adopting a Getting Things Done style approach, where you deal with everything that can be dealt with immediately and file the rest, using reminders to schedule a time to process it. Or it may mean changing to a different email client that allows you to manage email in a way more suitable to you. Unibox, for example, groups your email messages by sender so you can see all the messages from each contact in one list by clicking on the contact’s name in the sidebar. It also treats email replies like instant messages, allowing you to see the message and your reply in one window.

Get rid of the clutter

A desk covered in old papers, folders, and other debris is a distraction and an obstacle to productivity. The same goes for your Mac’s desktop. In fact, leaving lots of files and folders on your Mac actually slows it down. Resolve to keep your desktop, both physical and virtual, clear at the end of every working day.

If you don’t want to manually tidy your desktop at the end of each day, use Declutter. Declutter sorts files on your desktop into color-coded folders automatically using rules you set. It makes keeping your desktop clean very easy.

Learn to touch type

If your job involves spending time sitting in front of a screen and typing on a keyboard, learning how to type faster, without looking at the keyboard, is a huge time saver. And that means learning to touch type. By touch typing you’ll avoid having to look down at the keyboard and be able to focus on what you’re typing on screen. You’ll also type faster. KeyKey Typing Tutor helps you learn to type faster. Spend as little as 15 minutes a day honing your skills and you’ll notice the benefits right away.

Be more focused

Focusing for long periods is tough. But keeping your concentration levels up is essential if you want to do more. The key is to make small, gradual improvements and train yourself to focus for longer. One way to do that is to choose a task to complete, decide how long it should take, and set a timer to ensure you stay focused for that length or time. Be Focused allows you to do exactly that.

For eliminating distractions, an app like Focus allows you to block websites and applications for a set amount of time, as well as set timers.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

The key to getting more done during the work day is to automate as much of the repetitive work as you can. If you regularly type the same opening to an email — or any other passage of text — for example, you can automate it, so it’s typed at the touch of a key. Rocket Typist will do the job. Or, if you frequently have to work with documents created with others and need to clean up unwanted characters, TextSoap will automate that. Use the best tools that take the strain and free you from small, repetitive tasks.

As you can see, setting personal goals at work is hugely valuable and not difficult to do with the right tools — all of the apps mentioned here could be found in Setapp app collection — and the right, ever-improving mindset.