That’s why we’ve asked business owner and consultant Sarah Harrison to share some practical ideas for turning business dreams into reality. Sarah’s wisdom comes from experience: This former product-team manager left her full-time job feeling burned-out and exhausted. When she decided to start working for herself, Sarah applied the same systems she used successfully during her career to to create systems for her own goal-setting, planning and accountability.
Here, Sarah explains her tried-and-tested strategies for setting and achieving goals in your business -- or even in your life.
1. Commit to creating systems, not just setting goals
Sarah commits to monthly planning, weekly planning and two daily check-ins. That might sound like a lot, but in reality the time commitment is minimal. The important thing is to create a regular practice of reviewing what you accomplished each day (or each week or month), then quickly moving the appropriate “to-dos” and related tasks forward. Sarah describes each part of her 3-part system here.
2. Create deadlines or time limits for certain tasks
Do you struggle with time management when there’s a flexible time frame or an undefined deadline for a project? Yep, so do we.
Thankfully, there are tools and systems to help you stay focused and on track, especially when it comes to completing small but necessary (or unavoidable) tasks. Sarah recommends using the Pomodoro Technique or the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology to create structure when you're working through smaller to-dos. You can also use apps to help you stay organized or stick with low-tech strategies if you prefer.
Whatever solution you use, get those mundane tasks out of the way in a timely fashion. Check ‘em off your list so you’re free to tackle the big-picture goals.
3. Dream big -- but stay grounded
When it comes to dreaming big in your small business, Sarah says having a framework to refer back to and build on throughout the year is key for moving your business forward.
Her own power planning guide includes sections for visualizing your ideal life one-to-three years out, planning your life by category and mapping out each year ahead. The guide also provides a framework for how to break down those big goals into manageable tasks you can keep tabs on throughout the year.
Another tip? Share your goal-setting and planning process with a trusted friend you know will help you stay accountable -- both to your business and to yourself.