On this week's show, we talk about how to prioritize your goals. Not only which goals are you going to want to get done, but how are you going to get them all finished? All that and more here on Women Conquer Business.
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Presented by Jen McFarland
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Jen McFarland ditched her comfy C-suite tech project management job in pursuit of freedom. Jen’s goal is to help business leaders like you vet ideas, take ownership of their projects, and incorporate digital marketing from day one.
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Transcript: How to Prioritize Your Business Goals
[00:00:00]Jen: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Women Conquer Business. I'm your host, Jen McFarland. On this week's show, we talk about how to prioritize your goals. Not only which goals are you going to want to get done, but how are you going to get them all finished? All that are more here on Women Conquer Business.
Welcome to Women Conquer Business. My name is Jen McFarland. This podcast is for smart, serious business owners. Tired of the senseless chatter about growing a business. If you don't want to hear anymore, get rich quick, too good to be true. Nonsense. You've come to the right place. You'll learn why mindset is everything, as well as strategies for sustainable business growth and how to implement it.
Along with the secrets I learned leading large scale business projects that also apply to five and six figure businesses. Are you ready? Let's go forth and conquer. [00:01:00]
Welcome back to the show. Before we begin, I wanted to give a shout out to Laura Pennington. Laura left the following review for women conquer business. I love that this show is all about lifting other women up. Thank you so much, Laura. I couldn't agree more and I'm so happy that you left this review and that you agree with me and I just wanted to thank you and all of you who are listening to the show.
I hope that we can continue to lift other women up together. Let's get started. So when we talk about prioritizing goals, cause this is something that a lot of people search for on the web. Everybody has a question about how to prioritize the goals. The most interesting thing that I found when I was doing all of this research around that is that people are actually talking more about getting it done than they are talking about which goals you need to pick to make a priority. So given that these are the two [00:02:00] things that need to be talked about, we're going to talk about both a little bit. We're going to talk about which goals to pick, not so much because every article talks about it, because I think that's actually the most important thing.
That's the core thing that we've been talking about all this time around the different episodes that we've had leading up to this show. We've gone from all of your vague ideas to selecting the most important goals for your business. We've gone through and tried to prioritize all of the tasks so that they make sense.
We've talked about why business goals are important and how you need to make that a priority. And so then today it's about zeroing in on which goals are the most important and the biggest focus for your business moving forward. And then we're going to talk about getting it done, which is equally important.
Like what are these goals if you're not actually going to follow through on them. Although honestly, that's what happens a lot. People either set goals and don't complete them, or they set goals and they [00:03:00] don't update their goals. So after it's achieved, instead of saying, now what? I'm going to set new goals, they just keep working on the same goals and then they find slowly over time.
They're just not as jazzed about those goals or they've achieved it and they just didn't think to go back and revisit and update those goals. So the first thing I wanted to talk about is careful goal selection. So the reason why you don't want to keep going after so many goals at the same time is it prevents you from being laser focused on the most important thing and being able to clear out everything else.
We like to overwhelm ourselves a lot as business owners, but in this case, if you want to prioritize the goals that you have to make for your business, prioritize them so that you can achieve them and make some conscious improvements to the way that you get business done. You have to be willing to make the tough decisions about [00:04:00] what is in and what is out.
Because you can't do all of the things because it's kind of like marketing. If you market to everyone, then you're marketing to no one. If you do all of the goals, you're not going to get any goals done where you're going to get little bits of goals done and then you're going to get bored because you're not going to feel like you've achieved anything.
So you have to make some tough decisions about what is in and what is out. And it has to be done very carefully. One of the first things that I suggest is checking your alignment. This is something that we talk about again and again on this podcast, which is making decisions that are in alignment with your core values, with your priorities as a business, with your mission and your vision, so that your goals are then translated out and your products and services are a reflection of.
Your values, your vision, and your mission so that at the end of the day, as you achieve these goals, you're going to be like, Holy cow, I actually did it. This is it. This is exactly what I [00:05:00] thought would happen. This is exactly what I want to happen. Too often we don't think about our own alignment about what we're excited about, what we're actually going to follow through on.
We do what we think we should get done as opposed to what's most important. Or most pressing or what really fires us up inside as we go along, we plot along and we do everything and we feel like we've done everything right and we get to the end and we're like, how did I get here? This isn't where I wanted to be.
And that's the danger of being out of alignment. If you're able to remain in alignment with your bigger goals, then you're not surprised after you've achieved them, you're happy. It's like. Christmas or whatever that major holiday is in your life. That just brings you so much joy because you've, you've gone, you've climbed the mountain.
It was the right mountain. That's why it's so important [00:06:00] to be careful about selecting the goals because it's something you're going to be laser focused on and you're going to be doing that thing for a long time, so you want to make sure that it's going to pay off. I'm going to tell you one of the goals that absolutely has to be in.
Okay. I'm not going to get super specific because I don't really know your business, your industry, what did, what exactly it is that you need to do, but I will tell you that one priority that absolutely needs to be addressed is whatever that top challenge is in your business right now, what is the one thing that you look at and you think that really needs to get done.
I need to improve in this area. My business is lagging in in this area. I think that I could really make a difference for my customers in this area. What is your top challenge? What is the top thing that you're facing and you have to be honest with yourself. I'll give you an example. If you've listened to this podcast for a long time, then you know that I'm not a numbers gal.
[00:07:00] It doesn't light me up. It's not interesting to me. It has long been a sore spot with my accountant father. I don't enjoy math. I don't enjoy QuickBooks. I don't get it. I'm too much like my mother in this regard probably. But I acknowledge that numbers and money and QuickBooks and the Lake are what helps move a business forward or what helps a business achieve its goals.
Right. But I had to be honest with myself. I have no interest in becoming a QuickBooks expert. Sorry, dad. I know it probably hurts a little on the inside, but it's never going to happen. And yet every year I have been managing my own bookkeeping and suffering and doing my taxes and wondering if I did it right.
And this year I decided no more. I am making. I am making finance a priority in my business. And the best way to make finance a top priority in my [00:08:00] business is to be honest with myself and say, you know what? It's time to hire somebody. And so that's what I did. So one of my top goals, one of my top priorities is to really stay on top of my finance and my business.
And it means that I need to hire somebody to do that. And so that's what I did. So when we talk about what needs to happen, what has to happen, it may not even be that you are doing it. As in the case of mine, I'm having somebody do the finance and then I'm reviewing it and looking at it and making sure that everything is correct.
And then based on what I see in all of the reporting, I'm better able to navigate and make decisions about the other priorities that are related to money, which is. By the way, pretty much everything. So be honest with yourself about the top challenge that you want to address in your business and then find the best way to resolve it.
The best way, not just, I'm going to take this on because I quote should do it. Don't should [00:09:00] all over yourself. Find the best way to solve it that is within the parameters of what your goals are and what your business looks like. Look at the data. Look at your bank account. Address that one top priority.
So then the next thing is it's all about getting it done. You have a couple of goals, like I would say no more than three goals that you want to work on. And again, that's so that you can be motivated by your goals. You want to be specific, you want it to be meaningful and measurable and have a deadline.
So I have like three big goals for the next quarter. Now, that doesn't mean like redoing your entire business is one goal. They have to be manageable and attainable if you need some help with that. I suggest listening to last week's podcast, which talks about the importance of goal setting in business and how there's a difference between my parents saying that they want to move.
And my parents getting really specific and finding out how much money they could make if they [00:10:00] decided to move on a certain day and then buy another house. It's interesting, it's not a business example, but it does give a clear reference point for the difference between a laser focused time oriented goal and a fuzzy goal that will not keep you motivated and will not keep you focused.
So we're going to have a laser focus goal and now we have to get it done. How do we do that? Well, it's interesting because a lot of CEOs have this exact same problem. So the woman who is running YouTube, um, wants to be home everyday by six so that she can have dinner with her five kids. That's a goal that she made such a big priority that she now turns our phone doesn't check email from six o'clock to nine o'clock because she knew she needed to make space to spend time with her family.
So sometimes being laser focused on a goal that is super important at a top challenge can be something as simple as, I want to have dinner with my family. And how many of you out there, [00:11:00] I've had meal after meal where you're not able to focus on dinner with your family because something has happened with your business.
So I feel like if the CEO of YouTube is able to like spend time with her family every night and make that a priority for her, it makes space for achievement. It's something that she feels really good about. And if she can do it, I feel like all of us can do it too, right? We can make space to do the tasks that it will take to achieve your goals.
Whether that goal is hiring somebody to help you with finance or taking three hours off a night away from your phone, away from your email to spend time with your family. Either way, this is about carefully selecting a goal and then making space for it to happen. Um, Jack Dorsey, who runs Twitter, what he does is he does it a little bit differently.
He'll have entire days that are a theme. So it could be that, you know, maybe one day you say. I'm going to [00:12:00] work on marketing another day. You say, Oh, I'm going to do today is work on, um, consults with prospective clients or product development or whatever that thing is. And you make each day a theme for your business and that's how you prioritize what you're working on.
I'll tell you what worked for me and still works for me today actually is. This man named Ivy Lee came in to Charles Schwab. This was like a hundred years ago, and he made him a deal and he said, look, give me 15 minutes with each of your executives and I will help them be more productive every single day.
I at Charles Schwab at this time was already super wealthy. Obviously a hundred years ago. It was before we had all of these advertisements, the Charles Schwab, um, for us to invest with him. Um, but he already had a large practice and he was like 15 minutes each of my executives. What's this going to cost me?
The man said, it [00:13:00] won't cost you anything. You pay me what you think it's worth. After three months. And he was like, okay, whatever, 15 minutes, knock yourself out. It could not cost me anything except for the 15 minutes of time. What Ivy Lee did with every single one of these executives is he sat down with him and he said, at the end of the day, I want you to write down the six most important things that you need to get done the next day.
And then when you come into work the next day, I want you to focus on the first one. Because you've not only written down the six things that are most important to you, but you've also laid them out in priority order, in the true priority. So again, it's not what you think should happen. It's what actually needs to happen.
So you have these six things that are written down in priority order, and you just start working. You focus on the first one, and when you get that done, then you move onto the second one and so forth. And then at the end of the day, um. You see how far you got and you start over with six more things for the next day [00:14:00] and that's it.
That's all that he taught them to do. 15 minutes, make a list of your top six, put them in priority order, cross them off throughout the day as you get them done. Make a new list, top six things, and get on with your day.
So in three months when Ivy league came back to talk to Charles Schwab, Charles Schwab wrote him a check for the equivalent of like $250,000 on the spot because it was so valuable to him how much more productive his executives were. Now, you know, I'll put a link to this. Basically, I think it was like a clickbait headline a hundred year old productivity hack still works today, but I will tell you that it's something that I still use today when I feel very overwhelmed.
I just have to clear the decks and I make a list. I don't actually do six because six, believe it or not, can be kind of overwhelming. Most of the time I can't get six things done, but what I can do is I can get four things done. And I did [00:15:00] this when I worked on large scale projects at the city of Portland with 20 people working for me and lots of moving parts, and we had to get so many things done on tight deadlines.
Four things a day. I could commit to four things a day. And I still gave me time for things like email and all these distractions that Charles Schwab didn't have to deal with a hundred years ago. And then I maybe could get through to, and then I'd sit down and I'd make a list of four more. Day after day.
Now this kept me laser focused on my carefully selected goals day by day. Each of these carefully selected goals that I was working on every single day were like maybe tasks that led to achieving my high priority goals that were going to take me to the completion of my project. If that makes sense to you.
You might think about doing that. Like what are the small things that you can be doing every single day that will, in some lead you to your goals, your ultimate goals. The most important [00:16:00] thing you can do though is make space. Quit walking around and running around with your hair on fire all the time, which will lead you to watching cat videos and spend more and more of your time working on those high priority goals.
Make space, make space for family, make space for goals, and you will thank me for it in the end. Have a great day. Talk to you next week. .
Thank you for listening to the women conquer business podcast. If you're wondering what's next, here are a few suggestions. If you love the show, be sure to subscribe. If you want to follow me on social media, you can find women conquer business on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. And finally, if episode today brought something up for you and you need to talk, email me at email@example.com.
The Women Conquer Business Podcast is written and produced by Jen McFarland and Foster Growth LLC in beautiful [00:17:00] Southeast Portland, Oregon. Thanks again for listening.
Hi! I’m Jen! I have over 25 years of training, teaching, and executive experience in leadership, strategic project planning, and digital marketing. Today, I am the founder of Women Conquer Business, a boutique consulting firm dedicated to helping women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community build sustainable businesses. I’m a frequent guest speaker and trainer. Get access to my free business growth accelerator and hang out with me on my weekly women in business podcast, Women Conquer Business.