Can you believe we’re in the final month of 2014? For many businesses that means it’s time to reflect on all of those marketing goals we set for this year and start planning for 2015.
When you tally up your yearly goals and accomplishments, how’d you do? Did you get everything done this year that you planned out so meticulously last year?
If you’re like me, then I’m sure you have a few lingering projects on your list. You know, that stubborn project that keeps getting pushed aside for more pressing issues? Maybe it’s redesigning your website, launching a new product or service, or starting email marketing. Whatever it is, it’s still on that “To Do” list you made last year.
One or two is OK, but if you’re staring down at the same incomplete goals year after year, then that’s a clear sign something is wrong. You’re most likely missing one of the 4 key ingredients that transform “wish list” plans into firm commitments. Let’s talk about those 4 ingredients in this article so you can finally cross off those projects in the next 12 months.
1. Tell Everyone
This is by far the easiest step, but it can have a huge impact on hitting your goals in 2015. Make your goals public. If it’s a strategic goal you don’t want to share publicly, then at least make it known within your company and possibly even among close friends and family.
The more people you tell the better. Why? Because you instantly create a greater sense of urgency and accountability.
It’s easy to push off a project deadline when the only person who’s going to notice is you. You’ll feel bad, but you won’t feel that bad. Not as bad you’ll feel explaining to your employees, friends and family that you missed your goal when they inevitably ask about it next year.
Not sure if this will really work? Post a goal in the comments below and I promise you’ll feel differently after you click submit. Go ahead, post that goal below. :)
2. Chop It Up
I’ll start by saying this is the most difficult planning ingredient to master. Primarily because it goes against our human nature. Psychological studies have shown that everyone suffers from the planning fallacy, which means we underestimate the complexity of projects, and the amount of time required to complete them.
So don’t beat yourself up over this. It’s just the way our brains are programmed.
That also means it’s a futile battle to try to improve on your estimates to complete projects. Your brain won’t let you be accurate! The better approach is to chop up your projects into small, bite-sized mini-projects.
So rather than stare at the daunting goal to “launch an AdWords campaign” you break it up into all the little steps you need to take. For example, if you’re going to do it yourself, then the first step, or mini-project, is to create an AdWords account. Or, if you’re going to outsource this, then the first step is to find some companies that provide this service.
In both of those examples, the mini-project could be done in a day and crossed off your list. But if you’re only looking at the big project, or end goal, then you can get easily discouraged when things start to take longer then you originally thought.
3. Change Your Schedule
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but it bears repeating. The most productive and successful people in the world have the exact same amount of time in every day, week, month and year as you do. So how do they get more accomplished than most other people?
The difference is how they schedule their days.
Like nearly everything in life, time management and productivity are learned skills that require persistent practice. If you’re not already, then I highly recommend using a calendar to plan out every hour of every day. I know it sounds crazy, and trust me, I tried to fight this for many years, but it’s the only way to be as productive as possible with your time.
Start slow and block out one or two hours per day for certain projects. Then once you see it’s working (just keep track of all the projects you complete and it’ll be obvious), then gradually add more and more to your calendar. Eventually you’ll start to plan out time blocks for your personal life as well. :)
4. Get Help
The final step is an extension of ingredient #1. Telling the world about your goals works well, but getting 1-on-1 help from an accountability partner, or coach/consultant, is even better.
This should be fairly obvious. When you have someone checking in on you each week or month, then you’ll have an even greater sense of urgency to complete your projects. Plus, you’ll benefit from additional ideas and an outside perspective to find creative solutions to any roadblocks.
For this reason, I’m setting aside time to provide 1-on-1 planning sessions (at no charge) to help you achieve your sales and marketing goals in 2015. To claim your planning session, click here to fill out this brief application and we’ll be in touch.