Moving forward in life and business: Prioritizing and goal setting
So, you've got a bunch of new ideas and are not sure what you can do first. As someone new to business, you want to get everything up and running but are confused about where to start.
Avoid the analysis paralysis
Stop thinking, and start doing! Thinking about all the options is great for brainstorming or moving in different business directions, but it won't help to actually MOVE things forward. Consider your options, but don't forget to actually act.
Prioritize when you have too many ideas
More often than not, we have too many ideas about what we want to do. Rather than pursuing them all, it helps to make a prioritized list of to-dos and then start checking them off. You'll feel accomplished and ready to move on to the next thing, rather than feeling overwhelmed.
Step 1: Make a list
I know this doesn't work for everyone, some people would rather have a general idea of what their tasks are rather than see a huge list of them. Don't worry, this list will get shorter once you prioritize, cut anything that isn't serving you, and get things done.
Step 2: What is your biggest goal?
Is it to launch your business? Get a new product out there? Get more email subscriptions. Select your biggest, push goal. It may be for the month or for the year, since there can be plenty of smaller goals.
Step 3: Which tasks help you reach your biggest goal? Which do not?
If a task isn't helping you move closer to your big goal (BHAG - Big Hairy Audacious Goal - if you want) then move it over into a column that means it can rest for now. It's not as large of a priority as some of the other tasks.
Step 4: Identify steps toward your goal.
If you want 5000 subscribers, then identify the steps that get your there. It might be building your email list, increasing your visibility, or driving traffic to your site.
Step 5: Align your tasks with the steps that help you reach your goal.
Place the tasks underneath each step, and then walk to your BHAG knowing that everything you need to do will be accomplished.
What about concurrent priorities?
I deal with priorities that are ongoing or long-term by breaking my goals into months. For example, I am going to focus on personal branding, training for Tough Mudder, writing, and gaining traction in my business for June.
These might be a lot of things, but they are not all business related and each one helps me move forward personally or professionally. As my monthly goals, they are walking me toward my yearly goal of growing my business, writing a book & launching an e-book, and completing Tough Mudder.
What about business goals and personal goals?
These can be totally separate, or together, based on where you are in your business. If your side hustle is now a 9-5, then you may have time to have a separate set of goals. For me, my top 4 monthly goals are all outside of work activities, so I cannot have too many. 4 goals seems like it has been the most I can try to work toward so I don't get too scattered.
My criteria to prioritize tasks:
- Will this help me make money? Whether it's investing in my skills or taking time to build my voice through blogging, these goals and steps will help me become more financially happy.
- Is this building the skills I need to make my business successful? I rely on my writing and analysis skills to make myself more successful in side hustling. A lot of the things I enjoy doing build those skills, so that I am not throwing myself in too many directions.
- Do I enjoy this? Not all side hustle activities are going to be fun, but the end goal should be. I don't want to work toward a goal that I don't enjoy.
- Is it a quick win? If I can finish something quickly, I will complete it in the morning so that I feel productive for the rest of my day. Quick wins might be writing, writing a tough email, working out, or eating a healthy breakfast.
- Am I building healthy habits that lead to success? By training almost every day, and meal prepping for my week, I am building healthy habits that contribute to my ability to focus on my business and work harder to better myself. I knock out the most important things - like my personal health - to make sure I am mentally and physically in the right place to contribute to others.