We are rapidly nearing the end of March which means the end of the first quarter of 2008. At the end of December I suggested you set some 90 day goals for the first quarter. If you followed my suggestion, it’s time to revisit these goals.
Take a moment and re-read your goals. Now consider what you’ve accomplished since January 1st. Have you achieved your goals (or will you by the 31st)? If you have congratulations!
Take a moment and plan how you’ll celebrate. Will you buy yourself something special? Go to dinner with your family? Just take a moment and give yourself a mental pat on the back? Don’t skip this step. When you work for someone else you get recognition for your accomplishments. Don’t short change yourself.
Are your goals still a priority?
What if you didn’t achieve your goals? First, don’t beat yourself up. It doesn’t do any good to mentally abuse yourself for falling short. Instead, take a moment and acknowledge what progress you did make. Even if you only made it halfway you’re still further ahead than you would have been if you hadn’t set the goal.
Now ask yourself if these goals are still a priority. Maybe you’ve changed direction since January and these goals no longer fit your long term vision. If so, toss them out and move on.
If they’re still a priority you need to discover why you didn’t achieve them. Were they too ambitious? Remember I always have to watch myself or I’ll cram a year’s worth of work into these 90-day goals. If you did the same, vow to be easier on yourself next quarter.
Out of sight, out of mind
Did you forget about your goals somewhere in the middle of the quarter? It’s very easy to get caught up in the everyday work of your business and forget about the big picture.
If you did forget, for the next 90 days keep your goals in front of you. I’ve got my goals on a whiteboard beside my desk. I have monthly milestones marked off and I’ve written down my progress at the end of each month. I can always see at a glance how close I am to achieving these goals.
Do you run out of time?
If you remembered the goals but didn’t have time to work on them, perhaps you need to review your workflow. If these goals are truly a priority but you’re too busy you need to find some time in your week to get them done.
Is there some of your work that you can delegate? Entrepreneurs are often terrible delegators. No one can do it as well as we can. That’s why we’re entrepreneurs. But it doesn’t mean we can’t learn to delegate.
Can you turn over your bookkeeping to a bookkeeper or virtual assistant? Can you enlist the help of your family? There may be tasks in your business they can help with. Or they could agree to take on extra household responsibilities to cover for you while you work on these goals.
Are you wasting time each week? Professional organizers state that the average person spends one hour a day looking for things. If you could get better organized and save that hour a day you’d have 5 hours a week to work on your goals. If disorganization is the culprit, spend some time over the next week to get organized and set some systems in place. The time you spend now will payoff in the long term.
What about the internet? Most people don’t factor in email and surfing the web into their daily task list. They fit it in around other tasks and wonder why they don’t get everything done.
To cut down on the time email and the internet takes out of your day get disciplined. Unsubscribe to all but essential ezines. If you don’t read it, get rid of it. Be ruthless. You won’t miss it.
Next, set two or three times a day for reading email. Have you ever gotten to a sticky point in a project and thought “I’ll just take a break and check my email” and before you know it an hour has gone by? Try checking your email once in the morning, once after lunch and once shortly before the end of the day. I know one entrepreneur who has an autoresponder set up that informs people she’s received their email and will respond by a particular time.
Plan for working on your goals. Schedule some time each week to work on your goals. Mark it into your planner the same as you would an appointment with a client. If you can manage the same time each week, that’s even better.
I try not to schedule appointments or work on Fridays. This leaves me time to work on my goals or catch up on items I didn’t complete during the week. I’ve never yet had a Friday that wasn’t busy, but keeping it open has allowed me to accomplish a lot more.
How did I do?
I didn’t achieve all my goals, but I came pretty darned close so I’m pleased. First, I was a little too ambitious – I had six goals for the first quarter. However, by week three I’d realized that was nuts so I crossed one item off my list. I’m putting it forward to another quarter. In fact, I may not work on it until the third quarter.
Of the goals that remain, my first was to write 36 blog posts by March 31st. This is my 39th post, so yeah me!
I planned to run a six-week teleseminar series where I interview one business expert a week for six weeks. I didn’t accomplish this goal, but the first teleseminar for the Build Your Business Teleseminar Series begins April 3rd with blogging expert Yaro Starak. So I can count this as pretty good progress.
I had a goal to hit 500 daily readers for my blog. I’m not there yet, although I did hit the 500 mark on one day and the average number of readers is growing steadily so I’m pleased with this progress.
I planned to run two teleseminars. The first one last week was a success. My second one is this Friday. Item complete.
I also had a financial target for this quarter. I haven’t quite reached it, but I’m really close. As a result, next quarter will be much sunnier.
Overall I’m pleased with my progress for the first quarter of 2008. Between now and next week I intend to spend a few hours planning the next 90 days. I hope you do the same.
Andrea J. Stenberg
How did you do on your 90 day goals? Please share with us by leaving a comment.