We’ve been talking a lot about time management and goal setting on the podcast lately, and today we’re going to talk about setting bigger goals for the quarter and for your month. I’ll share how you can decide on those goals and then how you can break them down into actionable steps so you can see progress each week to help you achieve the things that you want to achieve with your business.
I know a lot of you have really loved these episodes and I have really loved seeing you guys share them and just share that they are resonating with you. So as always, if you love this episode, I would love for you to give it a share and just to tag me on Instagram.
So if you have missed any of the time management episodes, you can scroll back in your podcast player and just look for the words time management at the beginning of an episode title and that will let you know that this is part of that series. When we are talking about quarterly and monthly goal setting, it might be helpful to go back and listen to Episode 97, which is about weekly goal setting and then Episode 102, which is about setting daily priorities. But after listening to this episode, you may want to go back and check out those full episodes just to get a really full picture of all of these different parts that we have been talking about.
When it comes to quarterly and monthly goal setting, depending on your personality and how you like to work, you might decide to do one or the other, or you might decide to do both. When you’re thinking about quarterly and monthly goal setting, we’re really thinking about those larger goals and the things that you are needing to take many steps to get to. So it’s not something that you’re going to just be able to do in a day or in a week, it’s something that has to kind of compound on itself.
Start with the Bigger Picture
So when we start to think about these larger goals, start thinking about the bigger picture. When we say “bigger picture”, what we’re talking about here is what you want to be doing with your blog right now. There should be some level of a focus that you’re trying to work on for a certain amount of time. So maybe this year, you really want to focus on SEO, or you’re really focusing on growing your social media traffic or you are working on writing a cookbook. It’s kind of like those bigger goals are going to take longer, but you really want to have those in the forefront of your mind before you go and start to set quarterly and monthly goals. The reason for this is because you want to make sure that everything is in alignment.
So, for example, if you decided that this year, you were really going to just double down on SEO and focus a lot on growing your traffic organically. Having a monthly goal to write a cookbook wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, because it takes you away from that bigger picture goal that you already have. Really think about what is your focus for this year and if you don’t know or you haven’t really solidified that choice, this is a really good time to get clear on that vision for your blog. This can change after you go through a few months of this quarterly or monthly process of goal setting, and then decide that your goal has changed or your focus has changed after a few months.
Now, the reason that we don’t stop here, and let annual goal setting be enough is actually something that I’ve been learning in a new book that I’ve been reading called the 12 Week Year. Essentially, the idea is that when we set an annual goal, we are almost setting ourselves up for failure, because we naturally are going to procrastinate, because the deadline doesn’t feel close enough. So alternatively, when you plan goals in smaller chunks, like in a quarter, or 12 weeks, you are able to make more progress because your deadline is tighter. You don’t have as much wiggle room to procrastinate or to get behind, because every moment every day is going to make a difference in achieving that goal.
Decide Your Quarterly Goal
So with that bigger focus in mind for your blog you’re going to be able to choose what your quarterly goals are going to be. So if annual planning works really well for you, this is something you could just easily break down into four manageable steps or 12 manageable steps if you want to do this monthly. But if you’re not somebody who likes annual planning, and you’ve struggled with really implementing these annual goals over the years, then I would encourage you to choose a quarterly goal that’s going to help you move forward with whatever that goal is that you set. So using an SEO example, if your focus is SEO this year, maybe you can set a quarterly goal to complete an SEO course. Maybe it’s to complete a certain amount of the homework that you received from an SEO audit or maybe you decide to revise a specific amount of blog posts within a quarter.
As always, with these goals that we’re setting, you want it to be something that you’re able to track. So with the idea of this bigger picture, if I say that my focus is SEO for the year, that’s not really something that I can measure at the end of the year. But if I set a quarterly goal to revise 15 blog posts per quarter, that’s something that I can easily say, “Yes, I completed that,” or “No, I did not achieve this goal.” So really be mindful of that as you are setting your goals and just keep that bigger focus in mind, so that you’re really helping yourself to reach that goal at the end of the year.
Break it Down into Weekly Tasks
The next step is to break that goal down into weekly tasks to help us achieve that goal that we want to achieve in 12 weeks. So this works exactly the same if you’re doing monthly goal setting, but for this example, we’re going to use quarterly goal setting. So let’s just stick with the SEO example here. If I want to revise a specific number of posts over the quarter, then I’m going to need to figure out how many that breaks down into every week. Do yourself a favor and pick a really easy number to divide by 12. So if you decide you’re going to do 12 SEO updates in the quarter, then you know that you have one blog post per week that you need to do an SEO update on. Then from there, you can break down what the specific tasks are that you have to do in order to achieve that one post being republished or just updated for SEO. Then those become your weekly and daily tasks.
So if you are able to map out every step that you have to take in order to revise a blog post, now you’re going to be able to break that down and see how many of those things you can get done in a day or in a week. This will depend on what your work style is, and how you are already batching tasks. But keep it simple and don’t try to change a bunch of things. Don’t change too much about your process. Stick with your process and make the goal fit around your process and how you already work. If you get halfway through the quarter and you haven’t achieved even close to half of your goal, then maybe you need to rewrite the goal to be able to fit what you can actually achieve. Then the next time that you go and set these goals, you’re going to be able to be more realistic about what you’re able to achieve.
Honestly, I feel like one of the hardest parts of goal setting and why it is so tricky is it is really hard to know what you’re able to get accomplished in a specific amount of time. So this is where some of the other things we’ve talked about with time management really come into play. For example, if you’ve already been doing time tracking for a while, you can go back and look and see how long it took you to do a particular task. Finally, I just want to share a few additional little tips when it comes to goal setting, especially for quarterly and monthly goals, but this can apply to the weekly as well. I recommend creating some sort of system for yourself around when you do this check in and when you actually do goal setting every quarter or every month. This can be something that you put into a project management system like Asana or Trello if you’re using that. This can be something that you just put in your calendar as a reminder, or it could even be just something that you put in your phone as a reminder on the actual Reminders app if you have an iPhone. Figure out if there’s a specific time of the week that makes sense for you to review this.
Whatever is going to work for you, I want you to really set up yourself for success when you are planning this out. Because if you don’t actually set the time to set the goals, or you don’t take the time to review how you’re doing on the goals, it’s kind of pointless to even set them in the first place. So, think about what that goal is, and then make sure it’s something that you can break down and make more manageable for yourself and then set that check in weekly for you to see how you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to just scrap what you have said you’re going to do for the month and re-choose what you’re going to do. It is much better to reset the goal than to just continue to try making progress on something that you know you’re not going to be able to achieve.
Remember that our brains need that quick win of being able to check off the task to make progress on our goals. The more we are able to give our brains that, the more we’re going to be motivated to continue on this process of setting goals and following through on those goals as well. The last step is, if you can, get some accountability in this and find someone that you have on your team who you can just share your goals with and maybe even just ask them to help you to stay on top of these things or to check in and ask you how you’re doing on them. You of course want it to be someone who’s not going to shame you if you don’t get it right and you don’t get it done. But just somebody who can help encourage you to maybe decide again what you’re going to do. This can also maybe even be somebody who can help you with part of the process of achieving that goal.
I hope this episode was helpful to kind of see the full picture of how these daily priorities, weekly goals all fit into a larger picture of setting monthly or quarterly goals. I hope that you will try this process and remember, everybody works differently when it comes to goal setting. It took me a while to get the hang of setting goals this way and to be able to break down my goals into weeks and daily tasks that I wanted to achieve. But it really does make a huge difference at actually making progress on your goals and not just trying to do it all in one day at the very end of the month. So give it a try and then let me know how it goes.