Do you ever feel, former procrastinators, as if you’re running for a finish line that keeps moving farther away? That’s part of the frustration of not reaching goals. We should dream big and reach high. But when daily life seems to gang up against us, the finish line grows dim. So does our willingness to press on.
It helps to break goals up into segments. It also helps to break the year up into quarters.
Looking at a goal for the year is daunting. Breaking the year into quarters and assigning sub-goals to every three months gives me something I can get a grip on. Focusing on a shorter time period and smaller segments facilitates progress. The finish line moves closer. I reach my end-of-year goal because I’ve reached quarterly sub-goals along the way.
Start with the end goal in mind. Simple example- Goal: Mail Christmas letter by December 5. Jan- Mar: Gather names and update addresses / April-June: Purchase paper, stamp and address envelopes /July- Sept: rough draft letter, select pictures /Oct-Dec: Finalize letter and print, sign, stuff envelopes, mail.
Some goals only require one or two quarters to complete. It’s important to assign them time slots anyway so they aren’t forgotten.
The quarterly approach helps us pace ourselves. When we know certain times will be extra busy or a little slower, we can plan quarters accordingly. Using quarters we can avoid overload and take advantage of margin.
Okay, I’m putting myself out there. We have over 40 years of photos I’ve never dealt with. My goal: Make 3 albums for Christmas. I’m using the actual photos, not digital. Please pray! Here’s my basic plan:
Jan.-Mar.: Set up photo “filing system” / Sort photos from all 16 boxes into 6 categories
Apr.-June: Sort all photos stored elsewhere / Pare down photos in family categories
July-Sept.: Make 2 albums
Oct.-Dec.: Make 1 album
Five boxes done so far!
How will you break up your “essential few” into quarters?
THIS IS A GREAT IDEA! Where and how do you record your quarterly tasks so that you keep them in front of you? Do you have a running list for each quarter that you add to as needed? Do you have a task management system you use? Do you put them on a calendar? In other words, how do you REMEMBER in October what you planned to do in January?
Beth Sterne says
Wow, Amy, you are ON IT! I record goals in my planner on a page(s) in the front where I identify my goals and break them into quarters. I write the goals for the quarter on each whole-month page in the planner. I write what’s necessary to accomplish those on the days of the week.
A running list for each quarter that I add to as needed? Not sure I understand. Of course goals often involve more than I’m aware of, so if that’s it, I write those in the weeks as I go along. I don’t add new goals unless it’s absolutely required.
My task management system is my planner and sharing my “big rocks”/ main sub-goals for the week with my accountability partner. (At week’s end I report back to her. This helps keep me moving forward.)
In addition, I sometimes use the white board or bulletin board next to the computer. If something is pressing, I tape a huge note to the kitchen cabinet so it hangs below and flutters for attention!
To remember later in the year, I have the notes I wrote in January which I see in the planner when October arrives.
Biggest help: Having only two goals this year. This is new for me and extremely helpful. With only two things to accomplish (yes, they have steps) I find I not only remember, I am compelled to focus on them.
Hope this is useful.