Updated: Jan 31, 2020
This week I am spending the week working as little as possible in the business, and spending time working on the business.
The walls of my office are covered in flip chart sheets, post it notes, and I have been busy with felt tip pens and making plans!
End of Quarter 3. My time to stop, pause and reflect.
What worked in the last couple of months. What didn't work so well. What are my priorities for the last couple of months of the year.
For those of you who set goals at the beginning of the year and, in particular those of you who are using Phoenix Planners, then now is the time to review your last couple of months and set your priorities for the last quarter of the year.
How are you progressing towards your goals?
What has worked?
What hasn’t worked so well?
What will your priorities be for the next 3 months?
Most people I know dread their annual and quarterly career reviews. They don't feel that they are worthwhile and for a lot of people they know they are good at their job and see this as wasted time.
For people who do want to progress and develop, regular career reviews or personal development reviews (when done well) can be very effective.
Identify what needs to be done, work out how it can be done and then set a date when it will be done to hold yourself accountable.
All are key factors in achieving success.
Whether you find your work reviews useful or not my question to you is this ..
What if taking a more professional approach to personal goals resulted in success?
Here is how ...
Set your Annual Objectives
Setting annual objectives does not have to happen in January, but everyone should be looking at their personal goals on a regular basis. Setting goals that you want to achieve in 12 months is a good mid length range to work towards.
Annual objectives are set in the workplace to encourage employees to work on their professional development. Why wouldn't we also want to invest in continued personal development in the same way?
The way in which we set professional goals is proven to be successful.
The same approach for setting personal goals should be taken. Write them down, be specific, make sure they are achievable and that you have set a timescale for when you intend to achieve them.
Accountability partners are great for helping you to stay on track. In a professional environment this is often a role automatically taken on by your line manager however with personal goals you can choose someone to help you stay on track. Consider who you know who would be a good accountability partner. Someone who you can communicate honestly with and someone who is going to take your goals and progress seriously and drive you forward.
Once you have set your annual goal you need to start breaking it down, also known as ‘chunking’
Start off with breaking it down into four quarters. This will help you focus only on the first set of activities to work on. The remaining quarters can stay on the back burner. This will help prevent overwhelm but also the flexibility to review the activities should things change over time, which is often the case.
March is the end of the first quarter for this year some people will be reviewing what they have achieved so far this year and planning the next quarter.
Is this you?
Most employers ask employees to review their progress quarterly but how many of us do this for our own personal development and growth?
Reviewing our progress on a regular basis helps us keep track of where we are and how we are progressing to what or where we want to be.
Have you achieved what you wanted to achieve so far? Would regular reviews of your progress have helped you achieve more? Do you know what you want to do differently so that you can be even more successful?
Monthly tasks and activities
Once the goal has been ‘chunked’ into quarters you can focus on breaking them down even further into individual tasks and activities. The smaller the chunk the higher the chance of success.
Set tasks and activities to achieve each week. Prioritise certain tasks and where possible diarise the time to complete them rather than just having a ‘to do’ list.
Be specific about what you will need to do, and when. Keep it recorded and in a place where you won’t forget about it!
Use the accountability partner, friend or family member to help you stay on track.
Resources and training
When setting goals, you need to also consider what resources and training you need to be able to achieve success.
In a business environment you would look to bring in a subject matter expert or use a mentor to help you achieve the task ahead. You would look at what resources are needed to meet the deadline and ensure that tasks are completed on time to keep everything else on track.
The same approach should be taken for personal goals. What resources do you need to support you? Using coaches and mentors as well as support groups are often key factors to success.
Do you know the smartest way to achieve your goal or do you need to bring in an expert to help you achieve success?
What internal resources do you need? Resilience, determination, perseverance?
Do you need training to achieve your goal? If the answer is yes then you need to consider training courses or programmes.
All of this is will have an investment of time, energy and finances. Does this impact whether or not the goal is achievable or do you need to review the time frame set or may be event the goal itself.
Project manage your goals
Approach personal goals like a project. Goals are very much in the future and something you work towards whereas projects are in the present and being worked upon.
This will help you stay action focused rather than focusing on a result in the future.
As with project management you can also consider the following points.
what will be the benefits when you achieve the goal?
What risks are likely to arise. How can you remove, manage and mitigate them?
What will be your milestones and key milestones to keep you on track?
Who do you need to support, who may you need to manage to get them on board?
Are you goals dependent on anything else that you need to consider?
In line with Mission, vision and values?
Most businesses require the objectives to be set in line with the organisation mission, vision and values.
Do you know what yours are? Do you check if your goals and activities are in line with them?
Are the goals the goals you want to achieve or are they goals that you have set because you feel you ‘should’ or they are someone else’s goals?
Are they goals you are willing to work for? Are you willing to make the sacrifices and changes to achieve success?
If you are experiencing procrastination, or you are setting the same goals year after year without making any real progress towards them then it may be worthwhile checking them against your personal mission, vision and values.
If you are struggling to achieve outside of the workplace then try transferring the business principles over.
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