Are you looking for an easy approach to goals? The problem with goals is that we tend to make it hard on ourselves to actually achieve them. We try for too many at once or don’t get specific enough on just what it will take.
What are you trying to accomplish this year? Will it be a list of generic resolutions that you won’t even feel bad about abandoning, or a few goals that will help you live your dreams?
If you really want to live your dreams, you will want to strategize ways to shine enough attention towards the goals that they get done. It’s much too easy to give a big effort for a few days and then abandon the effort once something, anything else comes up to distract you.
You need to set aside both time and resources to achieve the goal. I’m not that big on measuring goals, but you want to at least block out the time to devote to it.
I was able to plan a cross-country move and all the start up tasks involved in starting More than Organized by just doing at least one thing everyday for a year. That plan kept such a big goal from feeling overwhelming and I saw enough incremental progress to stay motivated.
Keep your focus by giving everything you do a theme. Themes help create a routine and consistency of effort. Working even for a short time regularly, on the things you want to accomplish, will result in big improvement over time.
They also put a bit of fun into the process and allow for better batching of tasks.
How do you pick your themes? There are several approaches you can take, but I have found that a hierarchical one provides the most consistent results.
Just 3 elements get you set up for success.
Know your mission and your vision. What do you want your life to be? What do you want your work to be?
Pick A Word. I first heard about this a couple of years ago from Chris Brogan and Rob Hatch. It’s simple, just pick a word or 3 that will guide all of your decisions for the year. Now your year has a theme and all the work will too.
I tend to tie my word to my big picture vision for my life and work. That way there is leverage in all of my actions.
Segment your time. Do you have a natural way of thinking about time? Some people like planning to the second, some like a more flexible approach. Working with your natural tendencies will help you assign appropriate time blocks for reaching your goals.
I tend to think in calendar time. Year, month, week, day, AM/PM. Some of my clients who have many things going think more hourly, and I have one retired client that likes to think in months only.
Roles & responsibilities create themes. Marketing, money, writing, client work, rooms of the house, kind of craft, or type of cocktail can serve as the guiding theme for your blocks of time.
Intuition & feelings inform the tasks. Danielle LaPorte has fabulous insights on tying your core desired feelings to your work. Working on the tasks that give you the feeling you want to have get you to your goals more quickly.
Intuition can then guide the assignment of specific tasks from a list of tasks for each of your themes for each chunk of time. That way you will always know what to work on next.
Look for opportunities to leverage your effort where and when ever possible. Save time by doing a little bit more now so that next time it is easier.