Vision vs. Goals vs. Projects vs. Tasks

I recently posed this question on my Facebook page:

I’m interested in hearing how you set goals and stay on top of them. Anyone care to share?

The responses I received varied, but most of them were more about projects and tasks then about goals. Since it’s the time of year to work on goals, I thought a review might be helpful.

Here’s how I think about this.

Life Vision

Your vision is just that. It’s how you see your future. More to the point, it’s what you want for your future.

Your vision includes your art, your career and your personal life. It’s a broad description of how you want to live this life you were given.

Example: I live a comfortably life filled with making art every day, connected to spirit, and am able to save effortlessly for retirement.

Goals

Your goals are specific, but big-picture, things you want to achieve in the future. They usually have a deadline at least a month in the future, and more likely 3-6 months, a year, or even 5 years down the road.

Example: I will exhibit my art at City Art Center by the fall of 2014.

Projects

We all have various projects we’re working on simultaneously — projects that are compartmentalized. These projects contribute to the completion of our goals and fulfillment of our vision.

Each project has its own tasks that must be completed to ensure a successful project.

For the example above, the project for the goal would be: City Art Center Exhibit. I have a whole post featuring examples of projects coming right up.

Tasks

The tasks, as I said, are the steps that must be taken for each project. Look at your task list right now. Can you associate a project with each one?

Continuing with our example, the tasks for the project “City Art Center Exhibit” might include:

  • Create an exhibit timeline.
  • Finish 1 new work a month.
  • Attend all openings and events at City Art Center.
  • Become a member of City Art Center.
  • Develop a marketing plan for exhibit.

Coming up tomorrow: I’ll give you examples of projects.
Wednesday: I’ll show you how to get a grip on your projects.

So, how do you set goals and hold yourself accountable?

If you don’t set goals, why not?

What is your philosophy on goal-setting?

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12 comments to Vision vs. Goals vs. Projects vs. Tasks

  • Hello Alyson, you’re in good company with this: Chris Brogan is going through the same things these days. :-)

    http://www.chrisbrogan.com/plan-for-a-better-2011/

    Between your thoughts and his, I have enough to think about for a few years.
    Happy Holidays from a delighted Cultivate Collectors Class participant.
    -Stefano

  • My problem is that I set too many goals for the amount of time I have, then I become overwhelmed and don’t follow through! :(

  • H’m. I would say there is a certain overlap between my goals and my life vision. For example, if being famous as an artist and supporting myself with my art are two of my goals then, seeing myself doing things either leading to these or because of these goals (such as painting, drawing, bead weaving in a studio designed to my specifications, and so forth) are the life visions related to those goals.

    Then objectives would be the specific goals leading to the ultimate goals stated above and tasks are the specific steps taken to accomplish those objectives. It’s kind of like fractals where the closer you look the more you see the same equation iterating over and over ad infinitum. Small steps leading to the accomplishment of overall goals.

    Do the semantics matter at all as much as the actual getting things done (assuming well thought out planning, of course, since spinning wheels do nothing beyond spraying mud everywhere)?

  • I’ve been a goal-setter since I was born. i have my “biggies” (5 year goals) followed by my annuals (to do this year) and both are pinned to the bulletin board above my desk in the studio. I pull them down about once every 3 months to review and mark up: i.e. note if I am making progress, decide to keep or revise, or, ta-da, mark as done. I have no problem setting up little rewards for the accomplishment of such: a new supply I covet, a dinner out, a special treat….These keep me going! If I did not have a list how would I know where I was headed? The tasks (or projects) are what get me to the goal….like plays on the field. Constant revision and tweeking is necessary as I do more research and broaden the perspectives. Some of the goals are “super secret”, sharing them would risk discouragement; others are announced to my support group as another way to encourage accountibility. Revision, reward and review are keys…that’s why they are right in front of my nose at all times!

  • Patricia – I don’t think semantics matter as long as YOU are consistent with your planning. To get to A in 5 years means doing 1, 2 and 3 this year. To do #1 you must acccomplish 1a, 1b, and 1c. To do 1a you will need to have *** supplies and you want to finish it by 00-00-11. Call em what you want just break it down so it does not sound so terribly overwhelming and impossible. And don’t forget the juicy carrot at the end of that stick.

  • My business plan is basically my set of business related goals. I have my 10 yr, 5yr, and 1yr goals and then I break the current year into quarterly goals where I list tasks that need completed. I have a list of goals I want to accomplish that year, then I outline how I think I’ll go about achieving them or different things that I want to try.

    My quarterly goals look more like to do lists where i get to cross things off as I complete them. There are the things that I have to do each each quarter (like newsletters and emails) and then specific things that need to get done in those three months. My monthly and daily to do lists end up in my dayplanner where I can look at what I need to be doing every day.

    This year I had to readjust my business plan because I had hit the 5yr mark of the original plan. It was great seeing how far I had come by looking back at how many of goals I was able to achieve in that amount of time!

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