Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Why writing goals helps improving your research

If people who write their goals are accomplishing significantly more than those who don’t (says research), how does this works for researchers? The same. Writing goals might be more important than you think to achieve them.

writing goals

As a researcher and professor, I know my goals, but I’m not used to writing them. However, when you start supervising several students in their Master or Ph.D., try to innovate classes, accept administrative commitments and work on research projects, time vanishes in a blink of an eye.

When I found Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner, where writing your goals is an essential part of the process, I thought it wouldn’t make a difference, but I decided to experiment nonetheless. I was wrong. It works.


Writing research goals

When you write your goals, be it weekly, quarterly or annually, and review them on a regular basis, you have a greater perception of what’s moving in the right direction and what’s not. And also a better awareness of what postpones your established goals.

Do you write your research goals?

I didn’t.

But I understand now the value of this strategy. And having experienced how it works and releases the right amount of dopamine to keep me pursuing, I’d say its a strategy worth experiencing.


Writing goals that matter

However, Michael Hyatt distinguishes “achievement goals” from “habit goals” and I confirm it.

Achievement goals aim at milestones in your research, like submitting 4 papers to peer-review journals, make a measurement campaign, read 3 books by an author under study and so forth.

Habit goals aim at giving you the lifestyle necessary to experience accomplishment in your research. You could relate this to the deep work that brings achievement goals to fruition, or health issues which keep your mind fresh and open to creative work. For example, write 500 words every day, walk for 30 minutes a day, or read for 30 minutes a day, and many other regular tasks.

I have to admit that having invested on Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner helps in this experience. But I also have to admit I was doing something similar for 9 months using a simple agenda. If you want to try I suggest you start with an agenda where you regularly write and assess your goals. I saw the effects and hope you see them too.

Question: have you experienced the effects of writing your goals in achieving them?

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

One Reply

  1. jorge oliv

    Super Útil dica de trabalho eficaz. Abraço.

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