I've been doing something for the past year that is really working for me. Like you, I run a business. And like you, I often get caught up in the details of that business. So I have to be very intentional about maintaining my focus on the bigger picture.
Of course, I have my big picture established. I have a strategic plan, a clearly defined brand, and the operating plans (marketing strategy, sales & marketing plan, operating plan, budgets & cash flow plans) for each of my business divisions. And I review each of those plans monthly to make sure we are staying on track, achieving our goals.
But still. It's that daily focus that makes or breaks you. Without even noticing it, several days can slip away without any strategic focus at all! I don't know about you, but that makes me crazy. I like ending each day feeling like I did the things that matter. Achieving goals motivates me.
So here’s what I did. During my monthly review of my strategic and operating plans, I started selecting the most important goals to achieve that month from each plan – I usually end up with between four and six significant monthly goals. Just doing this brought my long-term goals into clearer focus. Then, I memorized them. Why? So I could write them down each morning.
That’s right — every day, before I open a single email (but after retrieving my cup of coffee), I write down those goals. I happen to use a business journal for all my notes during the day, but it doesn’t really matter where you write them, as long as you write them. Every single day I take the time to write my business goals for the month, pen to paper, completely focused, fully intentional.
And something interesting has happened. The most important thing is that my achievement of goals has significantly improved. But you mostly see that in retrospect. What I’ve noticed in real time is that when I write my monthly goals each day, my thoughts are more likely to turn to the specific daily activities that I must accomplish to achieve those goals. Before I get sucked into customer questions, writing proposals, helping employees solve problems, or mindless administrative work, before I go off on a tangent doing something that feels rewarding but isn’t in alignment with my goals, before all of that — I visualize my day in terms of important accomplishments. And when I do that, the next 8-12 hours is infused with awareness of the big picture. Sure, I still fight some fires and do some administrative work. But I also get big picture things done. The number of days that slip away without strategic accomplishment has dwindled down to almost none.
I am sure this daily focus is what improved my business goals achievement. And now that I’ve been doing this for a year with good results, I am wholeheartedly recommending this approach to you. Start today! It’s never too soon to start a good thing.