The leaves have turned, it's getting darker earlier, and the holidays are right around the corner. Yes, impossible as it may seem, we're nearing the end of another year! So, what does this mean for your business?
The best way that I know how to have a great 2016 is to end 2015 strong. This is a prime opportunity to leverage the remainder of the year to your advantage. To do just that, begin by following the three simple steps I've outlined below.
Choose One End-of-Year Goal
To get the most out of the rest of the year, pick one end-of-year goal to work on. In order to do this, you must first prioritize -- in other words -- get those goals in order!
In an Entrepreneur.com article, author Robert C. Pozen observes that many leaders are always scurrying around, putting out fires and dashing from one initiative to the next. "They spend too little time on activities that support their highest goals and often report a serious mismatch between priorities and time allocations," he explains.
It doesn't matter whether you're heading up a business unit or the leader of your own small business -- you need to analyze your goals to establish which ones are most important to you -- and whether your schedule will be able to support whatever these goals are.
People often overestimate what they can really get done. The result? Crazy long to-do lists, late nights, and worse, the stress of things being incomplete or not even started.
As you're identifying your top goal, it's important for you to anchor to "why" it is important. What is going to be different in your business or your life when you achieve this goal?
I recommend spending 20-30 minutes doing a "brain dump" of everything you want to do (or that you think you "should" do) before year's end. Then you can highlight which of these "to-do's" are related to your most important goal. Pull these out and integrate them into your plan, and put the rest away.
Focus on Your No. 1 Goal
Once you've established the goal you want to work on for the remainder of the year, it's time to focus! For many business owners, this can be the most challenging part.
If establishing and maintaining focus is something that's been difficult for you in the past, here's what I want you to ask yourself:
- What often seems to interfere with you being able to achieve your goals?
- Do you notice any themes here?
- When you met an obstacle in the past, how did you overcome it. What were the most effective strategies for you?
Your answers to these questions will help you determine what you should stop doing, and what strategies will help propel you forward. This will significantly increase your chances of actually achieving your goal.
Implement Proven, Winning Strategies to Support Your Goal
1. Review your plan. When we already feel like we're behind in our work, we often "load up" our plans for the remainder of the year, thinking we'll eventually catch up. That doesn't work -- and you'll probably end up with an even bigger to-do list and a lot more frustration. Instead, be realistic as you review your year-end plan, stay focused on your priorities, and commit to your No. 1 goal.
2. Strategic allocation. That's a fundamental concept from the corporate world -- and you can put it to work in your business to help achieve your goals. Ask: "Is my time and money being allocated in a way that aligns with my "critical musts"? For instance, if you're spending hours slaving over an article you're working on -- is that really the best use of your time? It is -- if this is your top goal. But if your No. 1 goal is instead to add $20K in revenue, then your time is better spent on activities directly tied to revenue.
3. Just say no. This concept is so important to your success, I'll be dedicating an entire article to it. Realize that during the time it takes you to achieve your goal, you will face distraction by many opportunities that come along. Some may be wildly interesting, some may not appeal to you at all -- but you can't keep saying "yes" to everything.
What is your No. 1 strategy for making the most out of the end of the year? Share your comments below!