The Difference Between Goals and Objectives

“I want my home to be organized.” “I want to be able to maximize the space in my home.” “I want less stuff.” All of these statements would be classified as goals. They are long-term aims that you may wish to achieve, but they are not concrete, measureable steps to follow. Goals show us the direction we wish to travel in, a general path to follow, but goals don’t provide a detailed map we can follow to reach a destination.
“I want to create a portable tax folder this year so all of my tax related documents are in one place, easy to find, and ready to hand to my accountant at tax-time.” “I want to pare down the number of sweaters in my closet by 50% so I have more room for the sweaters I really like to wear.” These statements would be classified as objectives. They are measureable, concrete steps that can be followed. They show us how to get from point A to point B. They are finite directions.
Thomas Szasz, author and professor of psychiatry, wrote “The greatest analgesic, soporific, stimulant, tranquilizer, narcotic, and to some extent even antibiotic-in short, the closest thing to a genuine panacea-known to medical science is work.” As human beings, we are doers. By sitting idle we know we will never get to where we want to be, but when we start doing without a plan we can become overwhelmed and lost.
If your goal is to live a more organized life, but you don’t know where to start, try writing down some definitive objectives that are specific, concrete, and measureable. Little by little, your objectives will keep you on track to your more all-encompassing goal-a more organized life.

–Jenny Power, Absolutely Organized

Organizing Tool Kit

Worksheets for Goal and Objective Planning