Unbeknownst to all, i've never actually goal set. Ok, that's a lie. What I mean to say is that I've never actually strategically goal set.
I've definitely had desires or business goals I've wanted to accomplish, but I've never gotten around to actually figuring out (in detail) how I'm supposed to get there. For no reason other than lack of knowledge, to be quite honest. And probably some overwhelm. Because the process is intense. So on my 33rd year or life, I finally decided to research goal setting practices. First off, I need to start off by saying one thing: you need to find what works for you because otherwise, you won't follow through with it. It's a daunting practice but NOTHING GOOD EVER COMES EASY. IT'S 100% WORTH IT. I'm going to share what I find works for me in the hopes that maybe it works for you or maybe it even inspires you. I'm also going to share the sources I've adopted them from, because their own work deserves true credit!
You should always have a plan for how you and your business/professional life are going to get better. If you don't have a plan, you're not going to get better. (TRUST ME, aka Melanie).
As housekeeping, she first mentions to go back through your calendar over the past year and make the following 3 lists (disclaimer - i didn't go back through my calendar because I could list them out without going back. If you could also do this, go for it. But going back through your calendar is helpful, especially if you calendar EVERYTHING):
- 5 things that were awesome and helped your business grow and were positive - you want to see more of this;
- 5 things that were a waste of time and energy - you want to not see these at all;
- 5 things that make you feel like you're living a good life, i.e., what are the 5 things that when you do them, you feel like your living your best life, aka dinner with friends, exercise, a good book, date nights, etc.
The following is a mix of something my friend Jenna Guadagni mentioned to me, I subconsciously heard somewhere, and I realized worked for me: Now using the above 15 points, write down your goals for the year. Seriously, write down all of it - revenue goals, exercise goals, marketing goals, conversion goals, new client goals, ALL OF IT. I make a checklist on Apple Pages of all of my goals, divided as either business or personal. Then decide what the deadline will be. Some might have hard deadlines, i.e., launch dates, and some might have monthly minimum requirements, i.e., two date nights a month/exercising twice a week. Heck, some might not have deadlines, i.e., be a nicer person. But regardless write down a date, a minimum requirement, or December 31, 2019. Now the hard part, I actually go back and create individual checklists on Pages of every month out of the year. I write down above mentioned deadlines in each of the months at the top in bold and highlighted. AND THEN, two months at a time, I write down what I'm going to do that month to bring me closer to my goal. What does this mean? At the beginning of this month I created my January and February master checklist stating what I was supposed to do that month to bring me closer to my goal. See below screen shot of my own January as an example.
The checkbox effect once completed REALLY does a lot for me so i'm all about it. If you have it, use it. It will get you excited once you've completed your mini goal. OK, now from here, you divide your month into week tasks. I know you're laughing so hard right now like, is this girl serious? But yes, i'm totally serious. I sit down every Friday afternoon and plan out my next week, while looking at my own goals, my marketing plan, and other TO DOs. What does this really look like? Ok, so based on the above checklist I still have outstanding drafting a tentative workshop calendar. So I'm going to include that in my TO DO's for next week. Then I look at what else I have tentative, and I plan and schedule accordingly. Not all of it makes its way into that week because I have other things going on that aren't on the checklist (like getting ready for our Valentine's Day, for instance), but they'll eventually make it to other weeks and hopefully, by the end, my monthly tasks will be completed and I will be closer to my goal. Piecemealing this way is so important because
I've learned first hand that it's REALLY DIFFICULT to TRULY BELIEVE a goal is achievable when you're looking at it from the starting point.
All you see are the million things that need to happen to get there all mashed into one, dysmorphic blend of holy heck, and most people just give up, or say they'll get there but don't really do the things they need to do to get there and then get really frustrated when they don't achieve their goals. You guys, I've been there, done that. A LOT.
I actually take my weekly planning a step further and calendar my days by the hour aka block scheduling. I learned this from Leandra Cohen from Manrepeller via this article, and it's changed my life. I'm still getting used to allocating the proper amount of time to certain projects and actually allocating time for things I didn't think I needed time for (like, taking 30 min to clean the clutter at the shop because I can't stand to look at the mess or ordering diapers), but I'm onto something. I'm convinced my colleagues think I'm nuts because when asked to meet on something last minute, they receive a very serious "ugh, sorry, that's not on my calendar for this week," to which they laugh but really think, "Wow, I can't believe I work for her." Ok just kidding. (lol I hope). It shouldn't be that extreme. And, by the way, I've realized blocking out "Misc." times is very important or at least leaving open spaces on your schedule because you really never know when important meetings or TO DOs will come up. To block schedule I first create a draft weekly schedule in my notebook which once finalized, gets transferred onto my google calendar. And I get alerts as soon as one time block is done and the other's begun, letting me know I need to move on (I'm still getting used to this - when I focus, I FOCUS, and it's hard to get me out of my concentration but I'm getting there). See calendar example below:
Personally, block scheduling has helped me GET STUFF DONE. I have A LOT on my plate (personally and business wise), and I get so overwhelmed I don't know where to start. It's not perfect - there are days and weeks where I have to put out fires, but it's a step in the right direction and whatever doesn't get done one day just gets pushed to another day or week, and hopefully all gets done by end of month. I'm really hoping this was helpful to some degree! I know it's exhaustive and I'd be lying if I said it didn't take me weeks to finalize but now that there's a groove to things, organizing this way has helped me stay so focused and productive.