Being Goal-Oriented at Work

Being goal-oriented doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you are not naturally goal-oriented at work, here are five ways you can keep yourself on track toward your work-related goals.

Practice planning

 It’s not enough to have a goal; you have to know what it will take to accomplish it. That’s where planning comes in: For each goal you set, sit down and write down every task that needs to be done to meet the goal. These might be short-term tasks — such as sending an email or purchasing a supply — or long-term projects, such as completing a course or landing a new client. Once you know the steps you need to take to meet your goal, you can organize those steps to use your time most effectively.

Manage your time

 Time-management is the ability to plan and prioritize your time, and it’s key to meeting your goals. To manage your time effectively, you need to know how long your plan will execute, then assign any tasks accordingly to make the most of your time and energy. (Sometimes, it’s helpful to assign tasks on a calendar or write your to-do list in order of the time of day you need to accomplish each thing.) Don’t forget to schedule breaks; they can help you refocus and regroup before starting your next task.

Track your progress

 Just like you need to know the steps necessary to reach your goal, goal-oriented people also know where they stand about their goals. In other words, they take the time to evaluate if they’re on track and decide whether they need to pivot or reallocate their time and resources to reach their goal. Be sure to schedule periodic check-ins with yourself and honestly answer the question: Am I where I need to be to meet my goal? If the answer is no, it’s time to re-evaluate your plan and make needed changes.

Keep yourself accountable

 Goal-oriented people don’t necessarily have will powers of steel. Instead, they stay accountable to themselves. If you struggle with motivation and accountability, then consider getting an accountability buddy — a coworker or friend who is willing to help you stay motivated by checking in with you every day. You’ll update them on your progress, and they’ll help boost your motivation toward your goal.

Stay positive

 Meeting your goals can be tough work! But staying positive can make the work toward your goals a little easier. When you’re working toward a goal, give yourself positive affirmations, such as, “You can do it!” or “You’ve got this!” Or create a vision board you can look at, and that will remind you of why you want to reach your goal. For example, if you’re vying for a raise, perhaps a picture of a beach — where you plan to take a vacation with that money— will keep you motivated and help you stay positive.

Giving Your Salary Expectations In An Interview

Whether you are currently filling out a job application or preparing for an in-person interview, you may be asked to provide an answer about your salary expectations. This can be an awkward question because you have to define your worth while also maintaining a sense of flexibility. Check out this informative guide to help you understand why employers ask this question and how you can answer it in a diplomatic way.

The importance of salary expectations

Whether you are currently filling out a job application or preparing for an in-person interview, you may be asked to provide an answer about your salary expectations. This can be an awkward question because you have to define your worth while also maintaining a sense of flexibility. Check out this informative guide to help you understand why employers ask this question and how you can answer it in a diplomatic way.

What are salary expectations?

Salary expectations refer to the amount of money a prospective employee expects to be paid for the position in question. You may be asked about your salary expectations as early as the application phase, or further along in the process during a phone or in-person interview. How you answer can determine several factors including:

  • The salary you end up receiving if you obtain the position
  • How an employer perceives you as a candidate
  • Whether or not you get the job in question

Why do employers ask about your salary expectations in a job interview?

Employers ask you about your salary expectations for a variety of reasons during your job interview. Here are some examples:

  • They want to assess how you view yourself and your previous qualifications
  • They want to determine whether your salary expectations align with what they can offer you based on their budget
  • They want to see if you’re over or under-qualified for the role when compared to other roles within the company and their salary levels
  • They want to be respectful of your needs and qualifications in relation to the position in question

What to include and exclude when asked about salary expectations during an interview

To approach the topic of salary expectations in a professional manner, you need to know what to include and exclude from your answer. Here are some items to include or exclude when answering the question: what are your salary expectations? to help you create a polished answer:


  • Job-focused language that implies your passion for the industry over salary expectations
  • Information about your previous work experience and qualifications that constitutes a particular pay grade
  • Salary ranges to imply openness and flexibility
  • Questions about the company and the type of salary range allotted for the position


  • Mentioning strict salary expectations or unwillingness to negotiate
  • Discussing salary range that is well below your current or previous salary
  • Statements that reference your need for money rather than your love for a particular line of work
  • Talking about salary ranges of company competitors

Example answers for salary expectations in an interview

Here are a few example answers to the question: ‘What are your salary expectations?’ to help you come up with your own:

To demonstrate openness

‘Due to my passion for marketing and my desire to work for such an inspiring organization, I am open to negotiating my salary at a further point.’

To demonstrate specific expectations

‘I would be okay with a baseline salary of $45,000 as I have two years of event planning and coordination experience where I earned $44,000 and I am eager to learn more.’

To demonstrate flexibility in salary range

‘My salary expectations are between $50,000 to $60,000.’

To demonstrate an interest in the position while gauging the employer’s budget

‘Can you tell me more about the daily work environment and my roles and responsibilities? What type of pay grade would you assign to this position based on those duties?’

To determine specific needs when asked to come up with an actual number

‘I would like to earn $80,000 for this position because I know it requires working more than 40 hours a week, managing a department and representing this organization. I am ready to dedicate myself to the job and this company.’

How To Break Up The Monotony Of Your Workweek

At the height of shelter-in-place this past spring, I was only leaving my home about once a week to go grocery shopping, get exercise through hikes, or carry out other essential activities.

During one point of quarantine, it crossed my mind that any source of excitement—no matter how dangerous or out-of-character—would be a welcome respite. Sound familiar? When deprived of healthy activities that feed our brain’s dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and other “happy” chemicals we receive from excitement, variety, and connection, our mental circuits can malfunction.

When brains struggle to confront constant monotony, you slide into uncommon habits. For instance, you might have found yourself taking on addictive behavior around social media, gaming, gambling, or any other activity that would help give you a slight mental boost. Maybe, you’ve gone in the other direction and find yourself struggling to even find a way to get out of bed in the morning.

Through my work as a time management coach as well as my connections with people, I was hearing of individuals, who were typically early-risers, getting out of bed around 10 or 11 a.m. due to low mood and negativity.

If you fall into any of these categories or simply have a more mild level of boredom with the sameness of each day, there are still things that you can do to break up the tedium of your workweek. Keep in mind, what is permitted will vary by your local restrictions, and what you choose to do will be dependent on your comfort level with venturing out.

Work Space Transitions 

Even though you probably never thought about it much before, the “rat race” offered a lot of variety. You woke up, dressed for work, commuted, attended meetings, went to lunch, and headed home.

By nature of the workday’s structure, there are quite a few different things you do and people you interact with. And although commuting across the hall to your home office is convenient, it can get boring.

To mix things up, consider changing your location throughout your workday. For example, you may start in your office, do some work at the dining room table, and then finish the day on the front porch. If you get easily distracted by your home environment or the people within it, consider constraining yourself to a smaller area, such as the basement.

Further, try to make small physical shifts, such as sitting down in an armchair for brainstorming or standing up for phone meetings.

Another workday transition: punctuate the same ole, same ole by changing up your thinking. Extend a meeting to someone at your company you don’t regularly work with and with whom you can have a fun conversation. Other ideas: Attend a training in something you’re interested in learning or take on a special project you feel extra motivated around.

Finally, there are small ways where you can introduce some flair such as changing up your Zoom background, having flowers on your desk, or sharing something funny with your colleagues. At times, the little things can count for a lot.

Wellness Challenges 

Before businesses and venues shut down, I was at my gym at least five days a week. In its absence, I’ve had to get creative on how to add challenge and variety to working out and staying healthy. If you’re struggling in this area, here are some ideas of what worked for me.

When the days were cold, dark, and short, YouTube was my go-to for workouts that got me up and moving in the morning. For my own preferences, I would choose videos featuring groups of people working out, ideally on the beach. I quickly became bored of my favorite YouTube channel, after which I sought out newer videos as well as Facebook Live videos with local fitness instructors.

Once the weather started to get much better, hiking, bike riding, running, and swimming became possibilities. I scoured Google maps for new state parks and metro parks in my area; fortunately, there were many options.

Once Memorial Day hit, swimming outside in lakes with a wet suit was a possibility. So now Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, I swim across a .4-mile wide lake at a state park with a few of the members of my swim and triathlon team for safety. Tuesday, I lift weights. And Thursday and Sunday, I do shorter distance sprint and stroke work in front of a smaller beach near me.

Goes to show, you can still be active each day in a variety of ways. And you can find things you like to do—whether it’s different workout videos, walking in different places, paddle boarding, or doing some other variety of activities that bring you joy and a fitness challenge.

Diverse Socializing Opportunities 

Different types of interactions with people create unique experiences. A deep one-on-one conversation is different than a small-group discussion; hanging out drinking refreshing beverages is different than running together.

As you can, seek out this variety. Have a heart-to-heart with a close friend, but then get with a group to just laugh and shoot the breeze. In my week, I purposely try to make sure that I have a mix of different ways that I’m interacting with people, so I’m not solely having serious discussions or solely keeping things shallow.

Also, think about different activities you can do with your family during this time. Maybe it’s exploring a town you’ve never visited, playing new games, or even working together on a home project.

Learning and growth add excitement to our lives. So another way you can break up the monotony of your workweek is to invest time in a hobby.

For instance, you can learn a new skill, practice an instrument, read a few new books, or make something for your home. I heard stories of people using their reduced work hours to develop artwork or break out of a mental funk by practicing piano during 15-minute breaks.

Another benefit of these types of activities is that not only do they offer change, but also they give you something tangible to work on where you can see progress and have some level of control. It’s so satisfying to know you can plan to do something and complete it without worrying about what new rules and restrictions will pop.

Once everything calms down, there won’t be the entire bouquet of choices we’re used to. In the interim, turn to these varied options to add flavor to a bland workweek.