They can see their goal clearly, and they know the actions they have to do – but they forget to prioritize those actions.
It’s the beginning of the year. You’ve had some time to reflect on the events of last year, and you’re thinking “Hmm, I really should have planned better. I didn’t really get that much farther compared to last year and work is just so hectic.” Fortunately, both your head and heart are now filled with renewed optimism.
“This year will be different!” you say to yourself. “I will define my goals and create a plan to achieve them – and by gosh I will stick to the plan!”
Fast forward a few weeks later and reality has reared its ugly head. Everything seems urgent and new ideas are popping up left and right. “It’s okay,” you say, “I spoke to a few people after I finished my plan and I got some great ideas – the old ones weren’t really working anyway!”.
Fast forward to the end of the year. You’re once again looking back, contemplating over the last year. “Hmm, I really should have planned better. I didn’t really get that much farther compared to last year and work is just so hectic…”
Does that sound familiar?
Well, you are not alone. Millions of people in the world make resolutions every new year only to break down and lose their focus a few weeks later. In my experience, most people do this mainly because they skipped a step in their planning process. They can see their goal clearly, and they know the actions they have to do – but they forget to prioritize those actions. Like someone who’s bitten off more than they can chew, they soon enter into an overwhelmed state, and basically break down to look for quick fixes, and so the cycle continues.
Here are a couple of steps that you can insert between your goal setting and planning stages that can help you simplify and make sure that you and your business can achieve your goals.
1. Flowchart. After we have set our goals, we will discover some key activities that need to be undertaken; for example, in order to achieve your sales target, you’ve determined that you need to hire a new sales person. Instead of just putting that into your action plan, you will be better off flowcharting the process of recruiting a new sales person by starting with the end in mind.
In our recruitment example, the final scenario is that the new sales person starts with our company. We then simply need to figure out what is the step right before that – in our case it would be calling the person and offering the job. You continue this process until you arrive at your first step – which in this case will be creating the job description.
Once you’ve charted out each step, you can then decide who should actually be the person executing that step and how much time they would need. This will allow your brain to relax a little bit as you now know that instead of one big problem, you actually just have to execute a series of simple steps (and some of those steps can actually be delegated away!).
This simple process will allow us to achieve clarity as to what our pressing problem is. Instead of worrying about questions like “How am I going to find a sales person? Which advertising media would be best for this? Will this new guy fit in with my team? Is my current job ad good enough or should I make a new one?” all at once, you can now focus on the first step, which for us will be to create the job description and ideal profile of our candidates.
2. Schedule. Once we’ve determined which tasks belong to us, we can then give it a place to live where we will always see it. This would be in your diary or schedule. If you use an actual diary to keep your schedule, then write down when you will be doing those flowchart steps; if you use Outlook or other forms of digital diary, then simply type those steps in. If you currently don’t use any form of diary or schedule, well it’s high time that you start, buddy!
Remember though, for all of this to work, you must have FOCUS. Follow One Course Until Successful. If you get your bright ideas during the implementation of your plan, ask yourself the following questions: a) Is it a nice thought? b) Is it a good idea? or c) Is it a must? If the answer is a) or b), then keep your bright idea until your next planning session. If it’s a must, then go ahead and run your new idea. Just make sure you break down its steps.
Enjoy the application of this knowledge in your life and business!
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