If that nudge can work for retail, why not apply it to the type of introspection and planning needed to accomplish goals we set six months ago when 2022 was just starting out?
With that plan in mind, here are tips on how to get back on track and get s#it done between now and the end of the year—particularly in this post pandemic world.
A word of caution: Most of these tips aren’t “one and done” items but advice that you can revisit repeatedly.
What are we waiting for? Let’s get started!
PLOTTING YOUR COURSE
Yes, I’m focused on end-of-year planning, BUT let’s dream big for just a moment (before we then narrow it down). Let’s think about lifetime career stuff for just a moment. What do you want to achieve? What are your interests? What are your passions? At the end of your career, what do you want to have accomplished? Let’s keep these big things in mind before we laser focus on what we want to get done between now and the end of the year.
Narrow your focus
Use your long-term goals as a starting point and identify where you want to be in your career one year from now. Be daring—but also be realistic. (For example, someone who’s just starting a new mid-level position might have dreams of running the company one day, but it’s highly unlikely that will happen within a year.)
Chunk your one-year goal(s) into sections
Specifically, what you can get done by year’s end. Now break up that year-end goal into what you can accomplish toward each goal within a month, then further divide each month’s tasks into smaller pieces that can each be accomplished within a week. You’ve seen the forest—now it’s time to take a good close look at the individual trees that make it up.
PRO-TIP #1: Project Manage Your Schedule
Here are the forms I use to schedule my BIG goals in between all the smaller stuff that’s due for various clients.
Notice how I start BIG – what do I want to accomplish by the end of the year (I rank them to understand the true priority amongst all these priorities):
Then I break it down to monthly, weekly and then daily because I know there are other day-to-day goals that will need to be accomplished along the way.
Using this sort of rigor in seizing control of my schedule helps to set me up for a realistic Action Plan that I can stick to vs. the unrealistic plan of cramming it all into December.
Now, I have had success being last minute with certain projects (the pressure of procrastination kicks me in to high gear!!).
However, I’ve also had my fair share of projects that are continually pushed to the next quarter or year because the “here and now” of daily projects takes precedence.
That said, if I truly want to make changes in my life and/or accomplish Big Things, I find making progress monthly is the only way to make it happen.
A side benefit to taking a monthly approach? It’s staggeringly motivating to see progression, even if it’s small steps!
This is particularly helpful if you don’t like what you’re currently doing or you’re just a little bit bored with the monotony of day-to-day activities.
Alrighty, enough on forms, let’s get back to how to get s#it done between now and the end of the year…
Update your calendar
Now that you’ve laid out what needs to get done, block time on your calendar to work on that week’s goals. Then treat that time as sacred – don’t let anything take precedence over the time you’ve set aside to accomplish your Big Goal.
Develop an action plan for each goal
Put all of your reflection and planning down in a cloud-based file that you can access from anywhere, in a hard-copy notebook that you can flip through, or in another format. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you write it down. This helps you track where you’ve been—and keep yourself accountable.
Evaluate daily how you’re doing
Set aside a chunk of time at the end of each day to evaluate that day’s progress and make a plan for the next day. If you don’t dedicate time to working actively on your goals, how can you hope to accomplish them?
Assess how you manage your time
At the end of the day do you find yourself wondering, “Where did all the time go?” (Take a look at “Top 10 Tips for Defeating the Time Thief” for specific strategies on how to get the most of your time.)
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day—and neither was your career.
Don’t be disappointed if things aren’t moving at breakneck speed. As long as you’re going forward at a reasonable pace, that’s good. (However, if things are moving at a glacial pace—or, worse, backward—then you’ll want to reassess what you’re doing.)
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought here! Come back in two weeks for the rest of the list on how to get s#it done between now and the end of the year.
Oh, and if you were hoping for more of a daily “To Do” list to get motivated and get stuff done, check out these two blogs I wrote pre-pandemic for helpful daily reminders:
In the meantime, if you’ve tried any of the advice described here, feel free to share in the comments below how it worked (or didn’t work) for you.