Outside of work, I’ve always wanted to set and attain personal goals. I never wrote them down, but I always had them at the back of my mind. And with that, it was very hard to get to them as I always ended up procrastinating. A few months ago, I read Ryan Allis’ advice in your 20s and decided that I should do something about it. Writing your goals down is powerful and the act of writing down itself has shown to increase the probability of goals being achieved by orders of magnitude.
In a 1979 Harvard MBA study, participants were asked whether they had written down their goals. 10 years later the 3% of the students who had written down their goals were earning 10 times as much as the other 97% of the class combined.
As I found out, just writing down goals is not enough. Particularly on longer term personal goals, it was hard to decide what exactly I needed to do and when I was supposed to be doing them. All of this ended up in action paralysis without much progress.
I figured splitting each goal into distinct sub-goals and having smaller tasks for each of my goals would be the right approach to all of this. Organizing all of this wasn’t going to be easy and this is where Asana came into the picture.
Asana is intended to enable better teamwork without email within the business world, although I found it perfect for organizing my personal goals. Asana divides the entire organization into teams and associates projects with each team. Each project is then associated with specific tasks that the team can track and follow-up on. I setup a team of family and friends first and then I set up each of my goals as a project. Within each project, I added specific sections for each sub-goal and had tasks with due-dates within each section to track the next steps. Asana also has high-level dashboards for each project and they helped me see how I was making progress within each of my goals and how close I was in achieving my goals.
Email reminders and calendar integrations were great to stay on top of these tasks and to schedule individual tasks alongside my work-related tasks on a single calendar. Another feature that I began to appreciate was the ability to set recurring tasks which was particularly helpful for my health-related goals (go to the gym /go for a run).
Perhaps the most powerful feature was the ability to have a team overseeing all the projects. My team was a team of friends and family who could oversee all my projects(goals) and the progress on associated tasks within each goal. All of this was super easy to use and even my mom, who isn’t great with technology was able to easily navigate Asana and comment on tasks as I was doing them!
Being held accountable for these tasks was perfect and it didn’t take many follow-up messages or comments for me to push on the progress. Just the fact that my team was watching and tracking what I was doing was powerful enough to drive me to achieve a lot of my goals including my stretch goals well ahead of time.
In short, I was able to use Asana to organize my personal goals, create a plan of action and set up an accountability structure that’s helping me achieve a lot of my personal goals.
(Credits to all the above images go to Asana Inc. and I do not claim to own any ownership/rights to these images)