Four key steps to take before you set your goals

by jon on January 8, 2015

How on earth will I ever achieve that goal with what’s already on my plate? I often find myself asking this question and my first solution is to figure out how I can “fit” something else in. However, this rarely seems to work well and often leads to more frustration and overwhelm. This made me start to think about what I wanted to do more – or less – of as I prepared for 2015…

Then I stumbled onto a book called “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” The author defines his approach this way: “Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make the highest contribution to the things that really matter.” This idea inspired me to start thinking differently about how I could energize my days and elevate my impact.

As you start to think about 2015, where do you want to make your highest contribution? What is compelling and inspiring to you? I put together four key steps below that can serve as a guide as you start setting your goals and look at where you want invest your time this year.

Step One: Define your highest and best use as a leader. What is most important for you to make the greatest impact at home and at work?

Step Two: Make a list of all the activities and tasks that are not connected to your highest and best use or drain your energy – this can be related to people too. Now make a second column next to it with two options…stop or outsource/delegate.

The first choice relates to low-leverage tasks and the answer for you may simply be: Stop Doing It. Why are you on that committee that you dread going to?  What other tasks seem to wear you out?

The second option is to outsource/delegate. Which items on your list must get done but frequently seem to get put on the back burner? Which ones can you request others to do to free up the space you need? For example, if you are looking for more time and you find yourself dreading spending your Saturdays mowing the lawn or cleaning your house, get someone to handle those chores for you. It can be conflicting at first to pay someone for tasks that you are used to handling, but if it is not connected to your highest and best use or it drains your energy, it could be a good investment in the log run. It might help in the early days to remember that something that might drain your energy is the very thing someone else loves to do. I highly recommend reviewing Tim Ferriss’ blog and listening to some of his podcast for ideas. Below are a few to get you started:

Outsource/Delegate Ideas:

House Cleaner/Laundry Help

Lawn Care

Scheduling/Logistical Support/Project Support – could someone on your team help? Or try a virtual assistant. I have used Worldwide 101 with much success.

Dog Walker

Meal Service Providers – If you struggle with cooking or fitting them in with your schedule, try ordering meals online or getting them delivered. I have tried or heard good things about Simply Fresh to You, Nourish, Mod Paleo and Blue Apron.  I am not a Paleo diet person, but I am loving the Mod Paleo meals.  They are very healthy, taste amazing and have a great variety of meats and veggies in each meal.  They also source their ingredients from local farms, so I like the idea of supporting farmers close to home.

As you look at options for outsourcing or delegating, at times there will be trade-offs. Maybe you watch less T.V. so you can spend more time on that project that really inspires you, or you give up cable so you can get a house cleaner. As stated in the book, “Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?”

Step Three: Make a list of all the activities and tasks that are connected to your highest and best use and also raise your energy. What are the things that inspire you or get you out of bed in the morning? Make a second column next to this list with ideas for how you will do more of these activities. What new habits will you commit to? How will your schedule reflect this? How will this be reflected in your goals?

Step Four: Share your lists with key people in your life at home and at work. Get their suggestions for what you should do more – or less – of. Remember there aren’t really any rules to this so keep experimenting. If you feel that tug to hang on to something remember that when you say “yes” to something you are saying “no” to something else.

As you plan for 2015, I also recommend a tool one of my colleagues put together on “Creating a Breakthrough 2015.” Enjoy your goal and vision planning. Keep me updated on what is working for you or any other ideas you have for outsourcing or delegating. So as you start the new year, what will you go big on in 2015?







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