This week I'll be sharing some thoughts and tips on goal setting, planning and productivity with the Portsmouth Etsy Team. I thought I should share on here. It's something I'm really passionate about. Mostly because I have seen the incredible difference it has made to my business. Without further adieu, here are Three Thoughts About Goal Setting, Planning and Productivity.
I quit my day job in 2012 and for the first 3 or 4 years of my business I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know how my business was performing, I didn't know what was next, and I didn't know what I was working towards. I wanted to make it work, that was all I knew. I started consuming as much information as I could on business and productivity. I got a little bit obsessed but it led me to massive changes in how I do business. I started looking back in order to look forward. I started setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (there are loads of different iterations of that anagram but my favourite is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound. I set myself up to succeed. I planned how I would celebrate when I reached those goals. My goals were meaningful, I wanted to WANT to make them work. I kept them in clear view and I reviewed my business regularly so I knew how I was performing. I knew what I had to work on next. I knew where my time was best spent. I started to feel like I was actually responsible for what happened to my business instead of leaving it to chance.
A goal is useless without an action plan. When I first started, I would look at my goals and wonder how I would get there. I started writing out project plans for the goals. I'd divide those projects into tasks and it was the tasks that made it to my to do list. It was the tasks that I knew would be the steps to reaching the goals. Planning is one of my favourite things, and I think it definitely one of my strengths. I have clear strategies and action plans for how I will reach my goals and I'm never short of things to work on. It helps me focus on making sure I'm doing the right work at the right time.
Spoiler alert - I'm a human being. This means that I'm just as susceptible to procrastination as the next person. I do however, have a number of tools in place to make my procrastination time as little as possible. I don't have notifications on my phone. I often keep my phone on Do Not Disturb, or airplane mode while I'm working. I have a schedule that allows for bouts of highly focused work, followed by lower focus times where I can get menial tasks done that don't require much of my brain power. I've done what I called an "attention audit". I looked into how I worked throughout the day and on certain days of the week. I tried to identify times where my focus levels were high, and where they were low. I break my tasks into those categories so I know if I've got a lot of energy and focus, I'll be working on the big, important tasks. If I'm tired, and feeling a bit distracted, I have plenty of other tasks that I can get done in those times.
I have always loved a good to do list, and finding my way round the world of self employment where there is no one but me to set my goals, targets, tasks, no one but me to set the rules - I love it. I feel empowered knowing I have control over my business, and control over my success. If you want to do a little review and goal setting task I've uploaded a couple sheets to get you started. Click here to download some fun worksheets.
And when you've finished setting your goals? Make sure you pat yourself on the back. And why not treat yourself to a Gold Star? You deserve it :)