goals

How Your Current Tasks and End Goals Help To Support Each Other – TUB-Thump 032

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Why are you going to that lecture? Why are you taking those notes? Why have you got things on your mind?

Everything you’re doing right now has some sort of end goal attached to it. Do you know what your end goals are?

Episode 032 of TUB-Thump takes a look at the importance of combining future context with the present moment. Focus on the end goals in order to achieve your best in your current tasks.


Here are the show notes for the 4-min episode:

  • 00:40 – Keep the end goal in mind to better understand the best way to tackle your current task.
  • 01:00 – This works with everything you do. Find the future context in the present moment.
  • 02:00 – What do you need in order to excel and reach the end goal?
  • 03:30 – Things get easier with an end goal in mind.

Music for TUB-Thump is Life, by Tobu, which is released under a Creative Commons license. Check out more of Tobu’s great sounds on Soundcloud, YouTube, and his official site.

TUB-Thump is part of the Learning Always Network.

Keep being awesome!

Three Years To Tick A Box – Small Goals and Why Your Degree is the Minimum Requirement

small goals

Three years to get your degree. That’s a big win.

You could wish that it was only two years. Or a week and half. Anything less than three years would be an advantage, wouldn’t it?

Not necessarily. Because you’re not at university *just* to get that piece of paper and the highest possible grade.

There’s even more value available in being distinctive.

My last couple of posts on TheUniversityBlog have looked at thinking beyond your grades and getting the most value from your student experience. Let’s wrap things up here by celebrating all the little plans while you’re working toward that big moment of graduation.

You may feel like there’s loads of time left.

Trust me, it’ll be over quicker than you’d like it to be.

Lots of Small Goals TUB

Lots of small goals

Your journey is full of lots of smaller wins. They may even add up to much more than the one big win of graduating.

Here’s the way Fast Company describes it:

“How do you prevent the intimidating big picture from dragging you down? Simply by finding ways to push yourself higher to more creative, more innovative levels that make you feel proud and give you the strength to make it through the tough days.” [SOURCE]

There’s so much happening right now. But with so much thought of the future and that one big goal of graduating being the driver, it’s easy to neglect where you are at this moment.

Your relationship with higher education can quickly swerve off-course.

That’s not your fault. There’s a lot to think about.

And because you’re thinking about so many things, you may forget to define your smaller goals.

A focus on getting a degree is understandable when the degree is another box ticked. Another step up the ladder. But it’s not enough.

Three years spent on a single box ticking goal isn’t a good use of time. I’m sure you completely understand that.

But that doesn’t mean the goal doesn’t get in the way.

Even when you make it a goal among many goals, it’s paired with that big future goal of getting a job after you graduate.

Degree as Minimum Requirement TUB

Degree as minimum requirement

Ticking the box is always at the back of your mind. And unless you see all your non-degree related skills and experiences as relevant in the long-term, you may still put the emphasis on ticking that box before anything else.

As you enjoy the club you joined, casually volunteer, and fill up your free time with fun, it could all mean something big. Notice that. Don’t leave everything to chance; make a bigger plan to fit in smaller goals, while you’re pursuing your big box-ticking goal.

No need to trust luck to get you further. You can spend a little more time and effort making a better bet for your future?

The degree isn’t the ultimate goal.

The degree is just the start. It’s the baseline. It’s the minimum requirement.

Beyond work experience and other well-worn paths, there are other things you can do. Things that don’t always take up too much of your time either. Schedule wisely and a few minutes each day may be all you need to create an empire of awesome.

Planning With or Without a Plan TUB

Planning, with or without a plan…

You may not even know what your future career plans are. Even uncertainty can come in useful:

  • You can explore new skills and experiences that aren’t limited to a single area of work;
  • You can find a new dynamic to help you see things differently and, perhaps, more clearly;
  • You can get some first-hand experience of different fields, allowing you to decide whether or not you want it to have a place in your future working life.

So while it may take you three or more years to get that stamp of approval from the university, that should give you time to build a bigger picture of yourself at the same time. The more you can do that, the easier it will be to sell yourself when you finally do graduate.

More than just a degree, you’ll have a lot more to show at the end of those three years.

Note it down as you go along. Big and small, document your achievements and experiences. They could come in handy later. And it’s better to have it set out as you go along, rather than wracking your brains later and getting a blank.

Over these years, what will you achieve and proudly show off as part of the story of you?

Obvious Advice Is (Not Always) Obvious

Some advice is ace. You know it’s going to change your life for the better. Even if the change saves you one second a day, or helps you do an easy task easier still, you know you’re onto a winner.

Some advice is awful. It goes against everything you want, everything you know, and everything you feel. You don’t care if it works for some people, it won’t work for you.

photo by dvs

photo by dvs (CC BY 2.0)

And some advice is obvious. You struggle to see how you can benefit from something the whole world should be doing.

At that point, you realise that a lot of obvious advice may be coming at you loud and clear, but that doesn’t mean you take it up and action it.

Be honest with yourself. You’re told to have five or more fruit and vegetables a day. It’s not a mystery, but do you follow the advice?

You’re constantly reminded to exercise every day. Just a brisk walk or a short workout to start your day. How often do you do this?

Tutors tell you to start working on your assignments straight away. Don’t wait until the last minute. Despite this, have you got another all-nighter on the way?

For all the quick fixes and life hacks that give us a warm and fuzzy feeling, there is a bunch of clear and actionable advice that falls by the wayside. You’ve heard it all before, but you’re resistant to such a change.

The first step is to ask yourself why you find it so hard to alter your ways. What stops you from making a positive move toward a potentially huge change in your behaviour?

For some, the goal isn’t being broken down to manageable chunks. For others, there isn’t enough commitment in whatever is trying to be sorted in the first place. To make any change, you need good reason, clear goals, and some sense of enthusiasm. That boost of energy can come from what happens AFTER you’ve dealt with the not so awesome stuff. No matter, you need to find a way through that you’ll actually adhere to. Any less than that and you’ll hit a brick wall.

The biggest changes in life are rarely the result of a magic bullet. However hard you look for an easy solution to a big problem, you’re unlikely to find it.

The essay won’t write itself (cheating isn’t a magic bullet, it’s cheating). The exercise can’t be delegated to someone else. You’re responsible for managing your life as a whole and any little hacks are a nice bonus, not a suitable alternative to effort.

When you next hear obvious advice, don’t dismiss it straight away. Before you discount it, make sure you’re using that advice or have an even better approach to hand. If you know it, but don’t do it, obvious advice isn’t quite as obvious as you first think.

Visions & Goals vs. Plans & Ideas

You’ve got a choice.  Either strive to follow your vision or simply make do with whatever comes your way.  It’s up to you.

photo by Wellstone

photo by Wellstone

Most of us probably start out with the former.  Vision is not the same as having a passion.  Visions and goals are more easily found.  They give reason to what you’re doing.  Your vision has likely shaped the story behind why you’re studying Astrophysics, Performing Arts, Geography, English, Law…  Whatever you’re doing, it’s unlikely that you’re at university because you chose a course and institution at random.

While you head toward your visions, you make plans and come up with ideas that you hope will turn those visions into realities.

But what if things don’t go according to plan?  What if your big ideas weren’t so perfect after all?  I’ll tell you what…it doesn’t matter.

Your vision needn’t suffer when your plans have to change.  Similarly, your goals can stand firm even if you need new ideas to reach those goals.  But vision often gets muddled with plans, even though they are two different things.  Sadly, the muddle can lead to ignoring your vision, just because a plan didn’t work out.

Vision is (as I see it, at least!):

  • Overall aims and objectives;
  • Perception of the future…a destination;
  • Movement toward a solid strategy;
  • A reason to make plans.

Plans are:

  • Ways of getting closer to where you want to be;
  • Outlining a way to get from A to B…the route (plans) may change, but the destination (vision) doesn’t;
  • Building blocks, but not the overall structure;
  • A reason to carry on;

Light up your vision.  Work toward your goals.  By doing that, review your plans and ideas as you go along.  There are always changes along the way, but it’s up to you to embrace the change, rather than let it get in the way of the bigger picture.

That’s why you’re at university.  Grab the opportunities while it’s easy to use such a selection of resources.  Embrace the world of now so you can love the world of the future.

I’m not saying visions never change.  You may get a flash of inspiration, a switch will flick in your head and you’ll see the world in a different way.  That’s all the more reason to embrace the visions that come to you and work your plans around them, not the other way around.

With that attitude, passions can become more apparent and you can find more certainty in what you do.  Greater clarity brings a vision closer.  Consequently, you will be able to plan better.

What do you think?  Are you working toward a particular vision?  Has a plan backfired, stopping your entire vision in its tracks?  Has a minor idea turned into a spectacular vision?  I’d love to hear your stories.

photo by woodleywonderworks

photo by woodleywonderworks