Absolutely, positively, 100%, yes!!
You need goals and you need them written down or mapped out, and I’ll tell you why (along with four tips to help you do this, so be sure to read down to the end).
You’ve probably heard the story about the rocks and the sand. It’s been told and retold and featured in many publications, but here’s a quick version:
If you take that same jar and first pour in the sand, you won’t be able to fit in all the bigger rocks.
The big rocks are the important things in life, the big things. The sand represents all the little things. If you let those little things come first and fill up your life jar then you don’t have room (time) for the bigger, more important things.
Without goals, the sand will fill up your time and you won’t have room left! Put the big rocks in first and then everything else will fit around them.
How does this apply to your business and goal-setting? If you don’t have goals set, you don’t know what your big rocks are! If you don’t know what they are, how can you put them first and make sure they fit?
It’s easy to let time tick away while we surf the internet, twitter, or email. That’s the “sand.” Ever notice how sometimes an hour can go by and you realize you didn’t actually accomplish anything? How could you have better used your time on a “big rock” instead?
When you’ve got goals and a vision for your business and your life, you can keep refocusing your time around those goals. For me, one “big rock” is spending time with my children. One of the main reasons I work from home is so that I can be there for them and if I get too busy and let the “sand” of email, networking, housework, and other small tasks take over, I miss time that I could have spent with them. The other things will get done, but I need to focus on that “big rock” first.
“Big rocks” in my business include paid client work, my newsletter, and my marketing efforts. Because I know that sending out a weekly newsletter is one of my goals, I’ve made it a “big rock” to put in my time jar. Each goal I set helps me to identify other “big rocks” and focus on them.
It’s okay to take down time. In fact, one of your “big rocks” might even be taking time for yourself, or self-care (for example: exercise, diet, and health related goals), and that’s great! Don’t confuse it with the “sand.”
Are you beginning to get the idea? You’ve got to have a way to know what’s sand and what’s rocks if you want it all to fit in your jar. We all know how limited our time is, and how hard it can be to fit in everything we need to accomplish. That’s what makes it so crucial for us to know what’s most important.
What Are Your Goals for 2009?
Take some time to sit somewhere quiet and imagine your life as you want it to be. Think about how you want your business to work to support that life vision. Then write down your goals or create a vision board that shows your goals. You may have daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, and/or yearly goals.
– Do you want to spend a specific amount of hours working per week?
– Produce a set number of items or specific amount of sales?
– Learn a new business related skill?
– Start and send out a regular newsletter?
– Improve your website?
– Stick to your marketing plan (or create one to stick to)?
– Take time for yourself and your children?
– Study time management and organization?
Whatever your goals are, write them down, and put them somewhere that you’ll see them frequently so you’re reminded of what your “big rocks” are. It’s the only way everything will fit.
Four Tips To Help You Achieve Your Goals
1) Start small and focused. Don’t set 100 goals for yourself or you’ll get overwhelmed first. Choose just a couple. Once you’ve accomplished those or made them a habit, then set more.
2) Know your motivations. When you list your goals, beside each one, list the reasons you want to achieve the goal and why it matters.
3) Make a plan. Schedule your goals in. Note what steps are required to reach your goal and break it down into a checklist. Use a planner or calendar to stay on top of what you need to be doing. For daily goals, I try to get the most important things done in the morning so they’re finished and before the day gets crazy and things start to come up (“sand” will always show up in your day so accept it).
4) Reward yourself! Take time to acknowledge each goal you complete. I don’t care if it’s as small as responding to all pending emails, getting your kitchen clean, finishing a meal plan for the week, or packing up one custom order to ship. Celebrate every “big rock” you fit in your jar. Realize that you’ve completed something and you deserve to feel happy (no matter how many other things you’ve got left on your list!).
P.S. Want more advice on setting and achieving goals? I recommend this:
http://organiseyourbusiness.com/?page_id=30 (It’s not an affiliate link, just a product I personally own and have found helpful in my business goal setting.)
Photo Credit: Adivin, Licensed from iStockPhoto.com