- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On August 13, 2014
While I firmly believe that some of the best things that happen in life are unplanned, when it comes to business, having a plan is important.
Even if you don’t stick to your plan, having something to fall back on – something to help you find your focus – is incredibly valuable. Without a plan/guide/map, when you wander off track and need to get back – how do you know where to turn?
When I work with clients to help them organize their office space or create systems and processes for their businesses, I always ask a lot of questions. My clients might find it annoying (or stressful) at first, but I do it for a very good reason. It’s important to know WHY you want to organize your space a certain way and why you think you need a particular system. I always encourage my clients to choose what works with their brain/lifestyle/habits/preferences. What works for me might not work for them. I take that same approach to planning and goal setting.
I’m going to share (part of) my process for goal setting that helps keep me on track. At the very least, it keeps me from forgetting things!
First, at the beginning of each month, I set goals. What five or six things do I want to accomplish this month? You may want to choose 2-3 things.
Next, I drill down to the current week. What do I need to get done this week? I add things that are practical and necessary (pay a certain bill, book a trip, etc) as well as action steps that are part of my larger monthly goals.
I post both of these sets of goals on my wall above my desk so I see them every day. I write the goals on Post-it Notes and, as I accomplish them, I remove the note. This system works for me because I stopped using Post-its for random notes and thoughts. I capture those in one notebook that’s always with me.
Last, I set daily goals and schedule my time every day. It can seem like a tedious process, but it has been incredibly helpful to me. I start off by writing down each hour of the day. On some days, I even break this down into half hour blocks. Let’s face it, sometimes its easier to focus for 30 minutes than it is for one hour. I write down all scheduled appointments (and yes, these are on my Google Calendar, but I still write them down). Next, I schedule my work and projects in. So, perhaps at 9am I’ll allow myself to check email for half an hour. Then at 9:30, I’ll return calls.
I do my best to schedule important things early in the day because no matter how much you plan, you never know when something will come along that will derail your day and throw you off schedule. If you’ve mapped out and tackled the important things first, when something comes up, you won’t be stressed about missing a deadline.
On my daily list, I split my paper in half. On the left is where I schedule out my day. On the right is where I keep notes. This is where I jot down things as I think of them. This helps me keep track of things to do, stuff I want to look up, etc. And again, if I get derailed, when I make my list the following day, I can always flip back and see what wasn’t crossed off. I keep my lists until everything is crossed off or until the stuff on them isn’t relevant anymore.
I readjust throughout the day in order to catch up or to re-prioritize.
This process has worked for me. Do you have a particular process that helps you accomplish your goals, manage your to-do list, and get things done?