#goals: Chunk down with 90-day sprints

Welcome back! We hope you’re coming along with us to further understand how to plan and, ultimately, achieve your version of success.

We’ve talked about defining what you want, then translating that into how you plan your business objectives you need to achieve in order to live the life you want.

3 powerful questions to ask are:

  • What would you like your business (or area of responsibility) to look like in 3 years (think about this in terms of turnover/sales, GP,  impact, staff, hours of work you have in the business or things you would like to be focused on)?
  • What is your vision for the next 12 months? and
  • What needs to happen in the next 90 days to move you towards your target?

Part of creating those goals on the business is breaking them down into shorter, achievable plans with hard deadlines, or what we call: 90-day sprints.

Carve out time for working “on” your business.

1. Make time

I hear it all the time: “I don’t have time to do what needs to get done.” Don’t worry, I do understand, but if you don’t invest the time on working on the things you want to change, then you’re going to keep getting the same results. Make time to get more time on things you enjoy!

So, it’s a matter of blocking out a period of time when we work “ON” the business, rather than “IN” the business.  More specifically, working on your 90-day sprint plans.

It doesn’t matter the time of day or the way you translate that task on your calendar (paper, Outlook, iCal, etc.), it’s about building the routine/habit to do it regularly each week.

It’s the same as blocking out the time to return a call to a client or preparing invoices. If you schedule in your 90 day focus areas in the same way,  it will force the process along.

So if you don’t think you can possibly fit it into the “normal work day,” then perhaps to start with, you can look at adding a 7am, evening or Saturday morning block of time.

How much time should you block out? You should aim to block off at least two blocks of three hours every week to work on your 90-day initiative. This means you can get some momentum behind it.

Keep a list of your ideas and filter through these 5 tips.

2. Keep focus on where you’re going

Once you’ve carved out the time to focus on plans, then you need to avoid “shiny object syndrome,” or, simply put, getting distracted.

Define key success criteria for each area of focus so you try and eliminate as much as of the “guesswork” out of what needs to get done. Where you may not know how to do something—replace that with ask or appoint ABC to help do that part.

If you find you keep getting distracted, go back to your 90 day focus areas to keep razor sharp focus on where you want to go and the plans you’ve made.

You could also keep a list of ideas and review.

Don’t be afraid to store a notebook on your nightstand or even a running list on your phone where you can throw a few notes about a business/marketing/client idea you have.

Review the list monthly and ask yourself if any of those ideas take you closer to your 90 day objectives.

  • If no: park until the following quarter and review then.
  • If yes: ask yourself will it take you closer to your 12 month objective.
  • Note: also review if you focus on it, will it take your focus off your current list and which is more important?

Review and decide whether you should pursue it further. (Note: Follow through the rest of these tips for ways to filter your idea and decide if it’s worth your time.)

3. Make it a habit

We all get “busy” and can fill our day with things but we want to make sure we are focusing on the things that will provide us with the greatest return.

Start celebrating the time you are spending on growing/focusing on your business/department. If you are billable person, while you may not be billing for that time—make sure you trap how much additional revenue and/or cost savings could result out of the time you are spending on it.

4. Appoint an accountability partner

CEOs, entrepreneurs and other leaders by nature can be dreamers, always coming up with the next big idea.

However, the process of dreaming itself can be a distraction. If that sounds like you, you may need an accountability partner (or sometimes referred to as the “parent test”—i.e., that is they are concerned and cautious but want you to be successful).

Just firstly articulating what your 90 day focus areas are and then saying it out aloud and sharing them with a friend/accountability partner will already significantly put you on the forefront.

Look for your partner to be that honest, skeptical, direct person who can poke holes in anything and make sure you stay focused on what you said you would do. They will sometimes ask the questions you don’t want to and find the weakness in any idea. (Note: Not because this is someone who doubts you or doesn’t believe in you, but rather a positive risk manager to keep you on track.)

So basically if the idea survives your “parent/accountability partner,” it is probably worth pursuing.

5. Set your number

Decide what number you’re comfortable with spending money on to further your business goals without running it by someone (like your accountability partner, CFO or even yourself). Do you ever find yourself spending more time on analysing or comparing something in the market and realise that the time you spend “reviewing” whether you should or shouldn’t do it is already triple the cost of the item?

For example, you might set that number at $500, so if it’s less than $500, just make a decision and do it. Because you don’t want to waste too much time comparing things when in the reality your time is worth more than what you would have spent.

On the flip side, if it’s more than $500, then ask yourself and your partner what the benefits are and decide whether it will really further your goals if you go for it.

Plan positive disruption days.

If you’re looking at ways to positively disrupt your business, don’t wait for it to happen and not be prepared for it—rather put a plan in place for it.

Companies like Google will block off days where they work on something that is not part of a regular work day and test out whatever it is they are considering.

It doesn’t need to be often, but doing this monthly, quarterly or whatever time frame makes sense provides a chance to review an idea at a set time so you won’t get distracted from what you really need to do.

Now that you’re planning out your next year for your business or department with actionable items, it’s time to share with your team. Check back next week for more!