Goal Setting, Tracking & Time Management: Getting Back on Track for Success

Write Down Your Goals!

Having goals and tracking your progress is important to your success in business and in life. If you don't know where you are going, how do you know if you got there? But often people can get frustrated and give up on setting goals because they really don't understand how to set realistic goals and how to plan the steps to achieve their goals.

Goals & Benchmarks: What's the Difference?

Your goal is what you are aiming for and want to achieve. Your benchmark is your minimum acceptable result. Both goals and benchmarks are important in helping you see your progress so you don't "beat your self up" if you fall a little short and give up.

For example, you may set a goal of adding 3 pages a week to your new website and a benchmark of adding 1 page a week. If you add 2 pages, you didn't reach your goal, but you did accomplish more than your minimum acceptable standard. You can then pat yourself on the back for a job well done and work on stretching yourself to 3 pages next week. You need to keep "raising the bar" so you are stretching yourself and experiencing growth.

What is Realistic and How Do You Determine YOUR Benchmarks & Goals?

One of the reasons people give up on goal setting is they do not set realistic or measureable goals. If you have just started your business and not had a sale yet, setting a goal of 10 sales a week is unrealistic. When you start out, you need to set benchmarks and goals that are within your control and something that you have done before or is do-able.

Making 45-60 calls to potential customers a week could be an achievable goal or benchmark. If you devote 4 days a week to your business, you could set a benchmark of 10 calls a day and a goal of 15 calls.

When starting, you need to choose activities that are in your control and track your results. Once you have tracked your results you can base your benchmarks and goals on what you have already done and just "raise the bar" to keep your goals challenging, but do-able.

Goal Writing Poll

Do you already have your goals wrtiten down?

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Questions to Ask When Choosing YOUR Benchmarks and Goals

  • Are they within your control
  • Are they measureable?
  • With the time you have alloted for business are they do-able?
  • Do the activities you have scheduled match with the results you want?

The Importance of Writing your Goals

Writing down your benchmarks and goals is critical for several reasons. The physical act of writing them down and seeing them on paper makes them "real", not just a wish or a dream.

Why You Should Write Down Your Goals:

  • It forces you to clearly define what your goals are to create clarity.
  • It frees up room in your mind to take your thinking to the next level and develop more ideas.
  • It incorporates all three learning modes: visual, audio and kinesthetic, and stimulates creativity.

In Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich he states:

"In the book What They Still Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School, the late Mark McCormack cites a Harvard study conducted between 1979 and 1987. In 1979, Harvard MBA graduates were asked "Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?" 3% of graduates had written goals. 13% had goals but they had not written them down. 84% had no specific goals. In 1987, Harvard followed up. They found that the 13% with unwritten goals were making twice as much as the 84% with no goals and those 3% with clear, written goals were making ten times as much as the other 97% combined!"

Set Short-term and Long-term Goals

Your long-term goals are your vision. They are your guiding force in getting your through your challenges, but you need short-term goals too. They are the stepping stones to lead your toward your long-term vision. Without short-term goals, your vision can seem too far away, but the long-term goals give meaning and the "why" to your strive to success and help you overcome the inevitable challenges.

Review and Adjust your Goals

On a regular basis you need to review your goals so you can celebrate those goals you have accomplished and adjust future goals. Sometimes you may change your long-term goals so your short-term goals need to be adjusted to get you there. Or your long-term goals may be the same, but you come up with better short-term goals to help you reach your objectives.

The Importance of Tracking

Tracking is really just recording the results of your efforts. Tracking is important in determining what activities are getting the results you want so you can adjust your activities and better determine your benchmarks and set realistic goals. When you don't know the results you are achieving through your activities you can become frustrated and discouraged.

Tracking is important for all aspects of your business: online marketing, offline marketing, phone calls, presentations, etc.

This is an example a business tracking sheet that I have made available on to WorksTeam members on our WorksTeam secure website. (There is no cost to access all these resources, you just need to be working directly with me or another WorksTeam member)

Using your Tracking results to create new Benchmarks & Goals

Start with the results you want to achieve and write them down Work backward to determine monthly, then weekly then daily activities to reach those benchmarks & goals. So if your goal is to have 20 new clients by the end of 90 days, your monthly goal would be to obtain 7-8 new clients, and weekly goal would be 2 new clients. Look at your tracking to determine what activities and how much time, marketing expenses you have needed going by your past results to bring in 2 new clients. Ask yourself if this is do-able. If not, you'll need to either adjust your goal or decide what changes you will need to make so it is do-able. Perhaps you'll need to eliminate another activity to free up the time you need, or cut an expense to allow for more funds in your marketing budget.

The great thing about using your own results to determine future goals is that your goals are now very achievable, because you have already done it before and your skill level generally improves, it is very reachable. In fact, you may find you need to increase your goals. This builds your confidence, leading to greater success.

Scheduing Your Time and Prioritizing

When the majority of people start an internet or home business, they are working their business around a job and family. But even if you are not, you want to map out your schedule and block out the time you have decided to devote to your business.

Determine what are the most important activities for growing your business - remember the 80/20 rule:

20% of your activities result in 80% of your results

80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers

and so on... the 80-20 rule applies to a lot of things in life!

You need to focus your time and energy on the things that reap the greatest results, so determine your "20" and put your energies there.

Mapping out your Schedule

Block in time already committed:

  • Job
  • Sleep
  • Family time
  • Other obligations

Do you have at least 10-15 hours a week to devote to your business? If not, look at what other things can be cut to give you at least 10-15 hrs. Building a business takes a commitment and often we need to give up some things, at least temporarily, to achieve what we want in life.

You don't need to follow the times schedule to the minute, but you do need to make sure the amount of time you have allotted to your various activities is followed. I use the principle I call "flexible time". In other words if I have devoted 3 hours on Mondays to my business, but my children need me and cut into my business time, that time is "owed back" to me later in the week. By keeping track as the week progresses you are able to make adjustments and keep on track.

Sample Schedule Sheet

Apply The ABC Principle to your Task List

Keep a running list of activities and projects you need to do. This could be on your computer, spiral notebook or notepad, but you need to have it will you throughout your day. I divide my list in two columns: personal/family and business activities, but you can do what works for you.

Determine which activities are the most important to accomplish and label your list. Work on getting your "A"s done first.

"A's" are your most important things you need to get done today

"B's" would be good to get done if possible

"C" would be a bonus, but can wait

"D's" are the things you Delegate to someone else

"E's" are the things you can Eliminate - stratch them off your list!

Time-Saving Strategies & Tools

Contact Management Tools

There are a lot of different tools that can save time and help you work more efficiently. Automate what you can, so you can spend more time with your "20%" activities However, you need to make sure that the tools you use are actually saving you time.

I used a contact manager, ACT that had a lot of great features and saved me a tremendous amount of time in my business, however, it took time to set up and could be extremely frustating for the novice computer user. Now I recommend Oprius to my associates and the people I am helping build their businesses more effectively, because it is simple to use and even the "technology challenged" can start using it right away. You can read my Hubpage that compares Oprius to other contact managers and autoresponders or subscribe for an Oprius free 30 day trial.

Follow Up and Follow Through with Propects Efficiently

It is important to stay in contact with your clients and potential clients. This is one area that most businesses fall short in. The more you can automate this so people do not fall through the "cracks" and save time, the better.

Creative, Personalized Cards Made Easy for the 21st Century

About a year and a half ago, I came across a system in which you can send a real greeting card,postcard or thank you note through the U.S. or Canadian Postal Service to anywhere in the world with your personal message, even in your own handwriting, in less than 60 seconds - for much less than a card purchased at the store.

Create Email Templates to Save Time

Not only can setting up email campaigns with your autoresponder save you time, but you can create email template for informational emails you send out on a regular basis, but need to send out yourself.

For example, you may send a 'getting started" email to help new clients or associates navigate through training or information. In that initial email you may give them details how to then subscribe to a series of emails that guide them, but the intial email may be one you need to send out. Save your template emails in one location with titles that are easy to recognize. Then all you need to do is copy and paste them into an email to send out, instead of typing them out each time. You don't have to spend time creating a bunch of templates, just save copies of emails as you type them if you think they are an email you will regularly need

Simple Business Recordkeeping Saves Time

I started recording my business income and expenses in an Excel spreadsheet a few years ago, have refined it to to my needs and created a template that I can use each year. Now I enter income and expenses as they come in so my business records are up to date, which make tax season a lot easier and saves a lot of time. The good thing about having everything in an Excel format is that you can sort by date, source, or any of the columns you have set up and also have the totals automatically calculated as you make more entries.

Some people use MLM TaxHelper and have found that a helpful tool to keep tax recordkeeping simple, help make sure they are taking all eligible deductions, and save time

Hopefully this has given you some ideas and strategies to propel you forward in business and your life.

To your success!

If you have questions for Wendy, simply complete the contact form.

Share Your Thoughts & Comments! 25 comments

Fred Villareal 8 years ago

Great article Wendy, too many good things to mention them all. I have heard about benchmarks and goals but never in such a concise manner. The section on tracking was something I have been looking for and the addition of you spreadsheat (Free!) was an added bonus. Hope to see other posts from you.


Wendy Mills profile image

Wendy Mills 8 years ago from Wainfleet, ON, Canada Author

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Fred. I'll look forward to reading your articles as well.


coachcurt profile image

coachcurt 8 years ago from New Zealand

Great article Wendy - and I know that you practice what you preach AND assist others into levels of professionalism that they probably wouldn't achieve without you. Thanks for giving so much into this industry.

Coach Curt


Wendy Mills profile image

Wendy Mills 8 years ago from Wainfleet, ON, Canada Author

Thanks Curt - I learned from the best - you've been a great role model through the years! Thanks for all you have done to point people in the right direction and bring out their best.


Support Your Biz 8 years ago

Wow - there is a lot of good information here. I know that we talk about this on the Works Team calls, it is good to have a consise overview to help me stay on track. Thanks for all you do!

Sue White


Stefanie Blackburn 8 years ago

Wendy - this is a great article. Thank you for sharing this information and your templates.

-Stefanie


Charles W Graham profile image

Charles W Graham 8 years ago

Excellent info here. My favorite part of written goals......crossing them off. This article is a great reminder for me about having small daily goals as well as the larger long term ones. Charles


Pat Fenner 8 years ago

Great info, Wendy! I like how you differentiate between long and shot-term goals and goals and benchmarks. Plus, you offer not only the "why" but the "how" ~ a real solutions-provider!

You know the saying: Those who fail to plan, plan to fail! Thanks for the reminder.


Judy Jackson profile image

Judy Jackson 8 years ago

Hi Wendy, I am saving your article to read over and over. I like how you wrote about goals & benchmarks.--very clear and to the point. You are a good teacher.


Wendy Mills profile image

Wendy Mills 8 years ago from Wainfleet, ON, Canada Author

Thanks for your comments Sue, Stephanie, Charles, Pat and Judy. I'm glad you've found the Hub informative and/or helpful.


HBOBOB profile image

HBOBOB 8 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

Great Hub Wendy!

It's not new but you did a great job putting it all together in one place.This will help a lot of people to stay on track.

Your a great leader,

Bob Andolina


Rick49 7 years ago

Thanks for the help Wendy. Bye!


Wendy Mills profile image

Wendy Mills 7 years ago from Wainfleet, ON, Canada Author

Your welcome Rick, glad the information was helpful and thanks for stopping by!


harry 7 years ago

Thanks Wendy. that's a very nice approach.

You may also check out http://www.GoalsOnTrack.com, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and has time tracking. It's clear, focused, easy to navigate, worth a try.


Shawn M. profile image

Shawn M. 7 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

Great Hub!

Wendy, I have heard allot about goal setting in other areas and one things that i have tried to use in business is creating SMART Goals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. These help provide for a disciplined life in and outside of business.


Roger  6 years ago

Excel can be a great way to record things in the beginning. Just remember that it is not as secure as other programs - you have to have a pretty complex password for it not to be broken by some easily downloadable password cracking software!


Wendy Mills profile image

Wendy Mills 6 years ago from Wainfleet, ON, Canada Author

Hi Roger, thanks for your comment and insight. Of course it depends on what you are recording. Personally I don't think my business tracking and goal setting is that much of a security issue. Even if you use Excel for business recordkeeping, the only thing anyone could access is income and expense totals, they wouldn't have access to account information or anything that could be used. Thanks for the insights though, because for personal and account information, people would want to use something other than Excel.


Bruce Everitt 6 years ago

This is excellent. I have been looking for some resources and advice on how to get back on track with my goals. And being the start of a new year, when better to start (other than right away). Thanks for the hub.


Wendy Mills profile image

Wendy Mills 6 years ago from Wainfleet, ON, Canada Author

Thanks for your comment Bruce and glad you've found the information helpful. I wish you great success in 2010!


treasuresyw profile image

treasuresyw 6 years ago from Savannah, GA

I am extremely impressed with your article. It was easy to follow and it was very thought provoking. It has my wheels turning. Thank you for sharing it. And who knows we may be in communication sometime soon. Peace and much success this year and even more in the time to come.


cell phone tricks 6 years ago

Great info, I have been looking some resource like this, thanks for the article.


MakeMoneyGoal profile image

MakeMoneyGoal 6 years ago from Edinburgh

Great Article Wendy, rated up adn bookmarked. I have been wrting in this area as well as we are launching a new free to use goal planning tool called Goals On Target. It is not quite ready yet (next few weeks). I would value your opinion when it launches.

Regards

James


Wendy Mills profile image

Wendy Mills 6 years ago from Wainfleet, ON, Canada Author

Hi James,

Thanks for your comment and just shoot me an email or complete my Contact Wendy form to let me know when Goals on Target launches. I'd be happy to give you my opinion.

All the best,

Wendy


brian 6 years ago

wow..very long post but extremely useful.I agree that writing down our goals is one of the best things we can do as it shows that we are serious when we write it down.


Wendy Mills profile image

Wendy Mills 6 years ago from Wainfleet, ON, Canada Author

Thanks for your comment Brian. You are right, and especially for visual learners, the act of writing and seeing the goals written helps us remember and keep our subconscious working on them.

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