Whilst goal setting itself is a case of taking the time to sit and focus. To decide where it is you want to go and how you are going to get there. Staying on track and achieving those goals requires a little more effort. It also requires the use of various tools to make sure you can achieve them.
So I thought this was an ideal time to give you a little look behind my blog and on my desk. As to the items I have surrounded myself with this year. This is the goal setting toolbox I am going armed with into 2018.
I have covered the exact planners I use in this post here. However part of my toolbox is to have not only this years to hand but last years. At least for the first quarter of the year. In my first planning stages I will take the time to check the entries made last year. Draw up a list of projects, tasks or ideas I noted down but never completed. Also it’s a great way to take stock of what you did and didn’t achieve with your goals the year before when planning and setting the coming year. Once I am sure everything has been transferred across I will archive it.
Or in my case several. Being that I am focused this year on more than one project/business I have decided to have a dedicated notebook for each area. This way there is no confusion, not checking back references to make sure it relates to the right area and no scanning note after note that has nothing to do with what I am looking for.
I will use these to capture thoughts and ideas. Plan out and plot course of actions. Brain storm and everything in between. This gives me more room to work, makes my daily planner less confusing as it will only contain the real planned events that need completing and means I keep my head clear and focused on the task at hand and not become distracted.
I am a stationary geek, but my notebooks were low cost purchases from Primark for around £3 each. I went with motivating statements on the front covers and a colour palette I am styling my office space on this year.
Once I set my goals, I spent time clearly drawing up an action plan of steps I needed to take to reach each of those goals. I have armed myself with these. Clearly laid out so I can see at any time what are the next steps in the sequence.
Post it notes
You love or hate these bad boys! Excessive use will just cause mess. However I am using these to mark and move events and steps in a calendar styled fashion on my wall, so I can see the bigger picture. I also am using these for tasks that may run over to move than one week in my planner, so as not to have to repeat myself. i.e I have a post it note for all the blog posts I am in the process of outlining. This list will not change as I move to the draft stage, so instead of rewriting them again, I simply transfer the post it across.
I tend to buy a multi-pack with different and bright colours. This way they stand out and I can colour co-ordinate different tasks or business areas. Allowing me at a glance to know what each refers too. You can order them from Amazon ( affiliate link below)
Google Drive & Evernote
There is a lot of research going into several of the areas I am working on this year. Things that I may need to refer back to at a later time. Equally I am a very visual person. So mood boards, vision boards etc work well for me when forming ideas.
Google drive is excellent for storing analytic data, spreadsheets etc. It’s clouded based which means it doesn’t use up space of your computer’s hard drive. It also means I can use these documents on the go from anywhere. Be it my phone, laptop, or a third-party computer.
Evernote, is another favourite for me. I have several notebooks created inside my account. Again one for each area of the business and I use it when I am on the go. It saves me having to make sure I carry all the various hard notebooks with me . It is also a great place to capture and save ideas, guides, reports etc found online. Saving time and paper as I don’t need to print or copy the info manually into my notebook.
When planning any goals, I use the Smart method. I make sure these are:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
Achievable (agreed, attainable)
Relevant (reasonable, realistic, resourced, result-based)
Time Bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)
This means that not everything I have set as a goal is actively relevant right this second. Several of my goals are big goals. What that means is they are goals that will take me 5 maybe 10 years to do. These goals are then broken down into smaller goals, which ultimately build my goals for the year ahead.
However when you are working on larger goals, it’s easy to lose sight of why you are doing the smaller day-to-day things. That’s why I have my 10 year, 5 year and 1 year goals plotted out visually and on the wall for me to see and remind myself of the bigger picture.
2017 Wrap Party
I stumbled across Aby Moore mid way through last year and have become an avid fan of hers. She is an amazing blogger who has built a successful business from it. Not only that she actually takes the time to share with other mum’s out there. Exactly how she did it. What works and where to focus your energy. So when she dropped into my inbox at the end of the year with the wrap party I knew it was worth doing.
She provides you with a workbook to note down your processes and plot your goals and daily emails and Facebook lives to help you. It’s great for understanding your why. Seeing what needs to be done and ultimately coming away with a clear vision. It also offers support and a whole network of like-minded people. Whom you can share you questions, thoughts and concerns with. I would highly recommend signing up even though we are now already into 2018.
This little web player is my best friend. With such an extensive list of artists and genre. There really is something for everyone and every mood. I have the web player downloaded to my desktop and my phone. The fact I can search by mood means, I can pick the music I need for the moment. I especially like the focus section. For this month’s writing assignments, the deep focus playlist has been my go too.
If you haven’t heard of the pomodoro technique. Then it basically means setting a defined time period to focus on one task with a break at the end of it. Before moving on to the next. This works fantastically with the GTD productivity method (getting stuff done) and time blocking. It keeps me on track so I don’t wander or become distracted. It also helps keep me motivated on the more challenging tasks I don’t like doing. You set your timer for 25 mins and get down to it. At the end you get 5 minutes break time to relax before you begin again. If you are working on larger tasks, you can break them down into 25 minutes of focus time or adjust the timer if you need longer periods of focus.
So there you have my toolbox that will help me stay focused this coming year. I hope some of these can be of use to you also. Is there something you swear by? I’d love to know, so please share it in the comments below!