Staying on top of your goals can be tricky business. You’ve got deadlines and appointments and lunch dates and interviews. It can seem overwhelming at times! However, there are many tips & tricks I like to use to make sure that I’m staying on track of mine.
First of all, I like to know that my quarterly goals are set straight. What are my financial goals? How are my business goals shaping up? Do I have any life breaks to schedule in (like that doctor’s appointment I’ve been avoiding)? If I know I’m going to have a bit of a crazy life period, then I’m not going to be doing any major pushes or content creation in a big way during that time. (My life is always noted first!) So, I look at the financial plan and my life plan concurrently and decide which are the big things that I really want to be tackling in the next 90 days.
Sometimes, things are already planned out. If I know that there’s going to be a major project or collaboration coming up, I’ll definitely put that as a main focus. However, your 90-day goals don’t always have to be brand new. Some of the things I’ve been working on throughout the year are things that are being put onto my 90-day list. It’s okay to carry your goals forward if they haven’t been completed by your timeframe. They might not be brand new, but it’s just a refresher as to how we’re going to tackle them.
Writing Down Your Goals
Basically what I use to keep track of my 90-day goals is a 3×3, 9-box grid. I write down three goals on the lefthand side and across the top it’s labeled 30-days, 60-days and 90-days. I love this because everything is laid out super clearly! You can see exactly what’s happening and when.
After I have everything slotted in there, I’ll go over deadlines and timeframes. Everything—and I mean everything—then gets added to my Google Calendar. I also have a paper calendar where I can mark down the major milestones, too. I like to have everything written out really clearly so that if I get to Thursday and see something is due by Friday, I can get to it right away! But that typically doesn’t happen because of my next point…
The Daily Check-In
The daily check-in happens on Monday mornings. This is where I’ll start fresh, observe my week, check out client appointments, etc. and plot them in my Weekly Kickstart by InkWELL Press. It’s a fresh start each week—which I love! It gives me space to write down what I need to do daily, plus what my top 5 things for the week are.
Image courtesy of InkWELL Press
Some things I go over during my check-in are:
- What things do I need to get done for my clients?
- Which of my tasks are due soon?
- Do I have any tasks due to my team?
Then it all comes down to finding the time slots for everything. For example, if I need to do a blog post and it usually takes an hour, I find a free hour to plug that into. I also love to give myself a little room. If the post is due by Friday, I like to try and get it done by Tuesday. That way if I don’t get it fully completed on Tuesday, I know that I still have days left in the week to tackle it.
Making Appointments For Myself
The tasks that I absolutely need to get done are called my “appointments”—and these are concrete. The rest of the items on my to-do list are more open to change. In other words, they’re written in pencil. My “must-do” items get marked in my calendar and then everything else is sort of free to move around. For instance, if I have 3-4pm free in my calendar, then I know that’s when I’ll be working on one of my “pencil” tasks.
If I don’t have a sense of where my week is going it’s really tough to be productive!
I also schedule in “rest” appointments. If you’re anything like me, you might feel guilty for taking a break. I feel much better when I know that I’m supposed to be “off” and doing non-work things if it’s on my calendar. It’s a weird trick but it works for me.
My End Of Day Reflection
At the end of the day I like to take some time to reflect on how the week’s been. What did I get done? Which items did I get to cross of? (And celebrating the ones that I did, of course!) On Fridays, I do what I like to call a “CEO Check-In”. It’s basically a self-interview. At the end of the week, I’m checking in with myself and asking “What did you get done?”
What I’ve found is that if we don’t have a record of how our year went, it can be easy to say, “Oh, what a terrible year. It was a total wash!” or “Wow this year was amazing!”—and we kind of forget to reflect on what the good parts actually were or what lessons we learned.
It also helps me to organize the flow of each week. Whatever you’re noticing about yourself, it’s good to put it down in your check-ins. It’s a great way to look back and figure out what times you were most productive, when you weren’t, what areas you need to improve in and so on.
When Do I Use This Information?
Around the end of the goal-setting period (usually in December) I’ll look at this data and analyze what happened through the year. Maybe in Spring I was really productive and then come Fall, I was a little more sluggish. Who knows. However, just being able to make note of what’s going on and what trends are happening in my business can be really helpful for me!
A few good things to notice:
- When you’re feeling tired
- If you’re not motivated
- What times you’re feeling sluggish
How else can you work on improving if you don’t know where you’re needing to improve? It’s important to set time for yourself, too, if you notice you’re not being as productive as you can be. Sometimes what I do is I’ll block out a chunk of time and go to a coffee shop or to the park and just do some journaling.
And when I’m feeling super motivated again, I know the tasks that need to get done and I’ll assign myself things to get them done by the end of the work day. It’s a check list—and I’m very motivated by knocking things off that list!
I hope this helps you guys understand my process of goal setting a little bit better and helps you with staying on top of your goals!