Are you happy with your current level of productivity? If not, I want to deliver over to you a life-changing, business-altering plan you can begin using today.
The one single factor that has contributed the most to my productivity is the 90-day goal setting process. If you are not accomplishing everything you’d hope to, it comes down to two reasons: lack of clarity and daily broken focus.
Clarity for me comes through setting out in a very clear direction for the next 90 days. It’s hard for us to get clear on two and five year goals. In fact, it’s even harder to get clarity on our life’s purpose and calling. Setting 90 day goals gives me clarity on the path that’s already been illuminated before me.
Focus is what allows you to be productive in the moment. It’s easy for me to know how I should spend my time today if I’ve already established a few 90 day goals. The #1 enemy to you not accomplishing your dreams is broken focus.
If you are new to setting 90 day goals, then I want share with you a simple model you can use to get started. I’d encourage you if at all possible to find a day (maybe even two) to get away and establish your 90 day goals.
Step #1: Break away from your routine to evaluate, think, and plan
A few of the reasons I love the 90 day goal setting process is the opportunity to hit both the pause and restart button. Have you figured out yet that things change rapidly? Our long range business and personal goals are guesses at best.
The ones who move ahead do so by evaluating, thinking, and planning every 90 days. Doing so will allow you to ask a few important questions:
- Is what I’m doing now giving me the results I had hoped for?
- In light of the happenings of the last 90 days, is there something I should give more attention to?
- What’s working that I should do more of?
- What’s not working that I should stop doing all together?
- Where’s the bottleneck in my business or personal life?
1. Evaluate – Look over your calendar for the past three months. Are you spending your time in the right areas? Look over your financial records for the past few months. Are you spending your money in the areas that support your goals?
2. Think – We are often so busy we never make time to just think. It’s amazing how the answers begin to come to us when make space to think. I also like to think out loud on a whiteboard so I can see my thoughts.
3. Plan – After you have evaluated the last quarter and given space to think, now you can plan for the next 90 days.
Step #2: Establish your 90 day game plan
If you are just getting started in setting 90 day goals, then just set 3 to 5 goals and go for it. If you want to take your goal setting to the next level, then use the model I learned form Todd Herman, the creator of the 90 Day Year Program. The following tips are a combination of Todd’s advice and my own experience.
- Choose less than five outcome goals – When I first started setting 90 day goals, I set 10-15 goals. Honestly, it was way too ambitious for a 90 day time period. I recommend you keep it down to 3-5 goals at most. Also, be sure they are outcome driven. In other words, they achieve a desirable result in some way. My outcome goals go on a whiteboard so I can see them daily.
- Set a few performance goals for each outcome goal – You have probably heard “what gets measured, gets done.” This is what a performance goal establishes. Keep it simple here, but set a few performance goals that allow you to see how you are doing in achieving your outcome goal. I have a handful I check every Friday. My performance goals go under my outcome goals on my whiteboard.
- Brainstorm process goals (tasks) that support your outcome goal – Who is going to do what, when? This is the process level. You have achieved ultimate focus when what you do daily connects directly back to your outcome goal. My process tasks go in my to do system so I know what still needs to get done.
Step #3: Spend the first hour of each workday on your 90 day game plan
I’ve written about my morning process before in a blog post called Do Creative Work First. The basic summary is you should spend the first hour of your day doing your creative work. Creative work is what only you can do that drives your business or projects forward.
Many of us start our day in social media and email. Doing so pulls you into reactive work. Reactive work is when we get pulled into other people’s agendas and pulled away from our most important goals.
You will be amazed and what you can accomplish when you have clear 90 day goals and a morning strategy for moving those goals forward.
How about you? Do you manage your productivity through 90 day goals? I’d love to hear your tips!