The importance of setting non-work goals

We are taught to set professional goals. But it’s the non-work goals that have the highest impact on the quality of your daily life.

As you probably know, under the Monthly Method you set goals in 3 areas of your life:

  1. Career and Growth
  2. Health & Key Relationships
  3. The Quality of Life

I came up with this system after spending years trying different methods, different apps, reading different books, etc. Most of us set goals in our professional life. Some of us have health-related goals. But setting goals for key relationships and the quality of life is kind of unheard of. However, after embracing the Monthly Method for a few years now and also teaching it to my clients, I can say that this definitely works. And here is why.

Benefit #1: Balance and Quality of Life

This approach helps you to bring balance to your life. That way you don’t have one area of your life heavily dominating while others are getting completely ignored. 

Every month you are doing something to elevate your key relationships, your health, and your hobbies.

You also engage in activities that create great memories through the Quality of Life goals.

You go on that weekend getaway.

You go to that concert.

You read that book.

You meet with your friends.

All of that is what adds colour and flavour to your day and prevents the groundhog day effect. 

non-work goals

Benefit #2: Stress reduction and burnout prevention

Let’s say you have a goal of going to bed at 10 pm every single night to get enough sleep. And you are also building a meditation habit. And you choose to play with your kids outside for an hour after work while your spouse is cooking dinner instead of continuing to work. All of these little things prevent burnout. They allow you to relax and recharge. 

A less obvious reason why this approach reduces stress is that it puts your work life in perspective. Under the Monthly Method, you have 3 work goals and 6 non-work goals. I like how one of my clients put it during our last call. She said “I just realized that I have more to life than work. I have all these things in my life.”

Under the Monthly Method, your work goals are just 1/3 of all goals. It’s not  100%. And this is the reality. Think about it. You have 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. That’s 168 hours. Your workweek is 40 hours a week. That’s 24%. Ok, add the commute time, deduct the breaks, and we are averaging at about 30-33%. Why are you making your work feel like it’s 100% of your time when there is so much more to your life than work. 

By setting goals in other areas of your life, you realize the proper significance of your work. Not that it doesn’t matter. But it’s not everything. And you should treat it accordingly. And realizing that it’s only a 1/3 of life downplays the significance of all the problems and stresses you might be experiencing in that one area of your life called work. You always know that you have your health, your key relationships, and your enjoyment of life to pay attention to. 

Benefit #3: Energy Management 

Your productivity levels rely on two things:

  1. Your time management
  2. Your energy management

Even if you have time to do the things you want to do but you have no energy to do them… Guess what? You are not going to do them. 

The best energy management framework I found is embracing the circular cycle of Want-to vs. Need-to activities.

In order to have more energy, you regularly need to engage in your want-to activities.  By setting goals in the Quality of Life category, you are making sure that you are engaging in the want-to activities during the sprint. 

The Quality of Life category fuels the effort needed for the other 2 categories. This is the secret sauce behind the Monthly Method.

This is why my clients don’t get exhausted following the Monthly Method because they are replenishing their energy resources by showing for their Quality of Life goals as well as weekly celebrations. 

Btw, if you are feeling a bit confused with all these categories, download the free guide. It will walk through the process and give you examples of goals you can set in each of the categories.

The Quality of Life category is often the category my clients have the most trouble setting goals in. Because we are not trained to set goals that will be fun and enjoyable. We’ve been so obsessed with productivity, that we forgot to pay attention to what we actually like doing for the sake of the process, not the outcome. 

Not having goals in this area leads to exhaustion. When you only on the work or health goals, these goals consume psychological energy. Your energy resource is depleted because they are need-to activities. And that’s when you feel exhausted.

So here is a tip for you. If you often feel exhausted in your goal-setting journey, it might be a sign that you don’t have any activities in your life that would replenish your energy resource. Check out this post to get some ideas on how to fix that. 

Benefit #4: You become more efficient at achieving work goals.

Setting goals in different areas of your life makes you more productive. You can get a lot more valuable things done during your work hours when you have goals in other areas of your life. 

And this is how it works. 

Generally speaking, people schedule the goals from categories #2 and #3 in the evenings and on the weekends. You probably don’t want to schedule family time and fun stuff during your 9-5. So you schedule them after work or on the weekends. 

Because you have all these exciting things scheduled after 5 and you are truly excited about them, you are motivated to get all your work done during your work hours. You simply don’t have time to be working after 5 because you have goals to spend time with your kids, go for a run, meet with your friends, etc. Your life after 5 and on the weekends is too exciting to be working. 

And by having these commitments on the weekends and evenings, you become much more productive during your workdays. 

Do you remember the last time you went on a two-week vacation? The week leading prior to your vacation was probably the most productive week you had in months! Because you were excited to go on vacation and there is no way on earth you wanted to work during your vacation. So you got everything that needed to be done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. 

When you set work goals only

Let’s look at what happens when you set professional goals only. You probably end up procrastinating because you have the whole day to get it done. And you can always work on it after dinner. Plus, you don’t really have anything planned for the weekend. So you might spend couple of hours on Saturday working on your work goals. And then your work occupies your whole life just because you are not actively setting goals in other areas of your life. 

Having fun as an adult requires time and planning

Getting together with your friends requires planning. None of it will happen on autopilot. You need to take ownership of the quality of your life the same way you are taking ownership of the quality of your work. It’s no different.

No fun trips, beautiful hikes, or memories with friends will happen on their own. You need to make them happen. And you need to plan them and make time for them. Because what’s the alternative? The alternative is to be working at all hours of the day or be watching Netflix because it’s the lowest-effort leisure activity out there.

And by planning these memorable activities and allocating big chunks of your time to them, you become so much better at completing your work goals. Because you no longer have a whole to get one task done. You only have a couple of hours because then you are meeting your friends. 

As you can see by setting goals in different areas of your life, you get to elevate all of them, including your work life. 

Try it out for yourself and let me know how it goes. I love hearing your stories. 

What goals do you want to achieve in the next 3 weeks?

Read next:
    1. Why do my clients stop watching Netflix and YouTube
    2. 5 Benefits Of Taking Monthly Breaks From Productivity
    3. The Need-to vs. Want-to Cycle of Daily Life

If you prefer an audio format, please consider subscribing to the Monthly Method Podcast.

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