Fiona Sharratt is passionate about helping busy professionals who are striving to maintain balance in their lives alongside achieving big goals.
Here are some questions that she is frequently asked, with her answers:
1) Should I set my own goals or should someone else set them for me?
I would advocate setting your own goals as this ensures that your goals are aligned to your personal priorities rather than someone else’s. As well as identifying a goal for yourself you should also be clear on your motivation for wanting to achieve that goal. Big goals are more like climbing a mountain than a walk in the park and if you don’t have a deep emotional reason for achieving something, you won’t be able to keep going when the going gets tough.
Of course, there may be times where goals are set for us, particularly in an employer/employee context. In this situation it’s even more important to identify your motivation for wanting to achieve the goal, to give yourself a vested interest. Maybe it’s that the goal will help increase your visibility in the workplace or position you for a promotion down the line.
2) Is it healthy to base my goals on what I’ve seen other people achieve?
Goals should be personal to you. You can strive to achieve what others have achieved but we don’t let that constrain or limit your sights. Don’t be afraid to set big goals and really stretch yourself.
3) Should I have one big goal or lots of smaller more achievable goals?
All goals should be achievable within the resources that you have available to you but don’t afraid to set big goals. Small, easily achievable goals do not provide adrenaline or motivation. You need BIG GOALS to stretch yourself. Give yourself challenging, stretched timelines. Be determined, focused and put a structured routine in place and you’ll be amazed at how your capacity stretches to accommodate your priorities.
4) I’m good at setting goals but never seem to achieve them. How can I change this?
There are 3 pieces of advice I would give:
1) Set SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound.
2) Put a process in place to make sure you commit to and reach your goals. It’s not enough to simply write your goals down, they need to be reviewed regularly. Build into your morning the time to assess your top 3 goals. Identify what steps you are going to take that day to get you closer to your goals. Do this every morning without fail and as it becomes a habit you will find that you do it automatically and each day you will move closer to achieving your goals.
3) Hold yourself accountable and have a regular weekly review where you go through your progress or else have an accountability buddy that you can check in with to see how you are getting on – a family member, friend or colleague.
5) Can you have too many goals?
No, however I would suggest focusing on your top 3 goals at any one time, so you don’t loose sight of your priorities.
6) Are there any good websites/apps for goal settings?
Yes – www.evogoals.com! I’m really passionate about helping other busy professionals to take more control of their lives, make the best use of their time and achieve more. This gave me the idea to create EVO GOALS, an online coaching platform which combines life coaching and productivity coaching in one. Membership starts at £4.99 and provides a structured self-paced learning programme, online tools to help you assess your life, set goals and maintain progress and also a mobile app to help you keep on track and productive on the go.
7) I always feel busy but never manage to get anything done. How do I make myself more productive?
Productivity isn’t about being busy or filling every possible minute. Productivity is about being conscious of how valuable your time is, understanding how you would like to fill it and making the right choices.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed or stressed when you are juggling lots of plates but by taking a step back and really understanding what your priorities are, it ensures you spend your time where it matters most.
A productivity principle you could try is The Rule of 3. You should focus on the 3 most important goals or tasks in your day, week, month or year. Each morning, take a few minutes out to identify your top 3 most important tasks and each evening, take the time to review your day and your progress against those top 3 tasks.
So, every time you find yourself super busy or feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and ask yourself are you focusing on the right 3 things.
8) I have no spare time. How do I fit in mapping and achieving my goals?
There are 168hours in a week and we need to make a conscious decision as to how we would like to spend this time.
It can be difficult to find time for yourself when you have a demanding job/business/young family. Mornings are a good option for a lot of people, when you can take advantage of the quiet time before the madness starts. Most people tend to be at their freshest at this point. I personally try to get up at least 30mins before my children during the week so I have time to think, time to do a quick burst of exercise and time to plan my day.
9) What counts as a realistic work life balance?
Everyone has a different view of what a healthy work life balance looks like. The key things are being aware of how you are spending your time, making conscious choices and doing regular reviews. In EVO GOALS we have a Full Circle Review tool which helps you to do a holistic assessment of your life across 7 different areas – Physical Wellbeing, Emotional Wellbeing, Spiritual Wellbeing, Relationships, Social, Work and Finances. Assessing your life at regular intervals helps you to identify when an area is out of kilter and gives you the opportunity to course correct.
If you have a question about goals and productivity in your personal and business life, ask Fiona on our Crisis Clinic.