The Search For The Perfect Planner
Measure What Matters
I admit it. I am a planner; always have been (or so I thought).
I love making “to-do” lists mainly because of the joy associated with the act of crossing off completed tasks. In fact, there was a time when I would go back and add things I had already done - just so I could cross them off my list! That’s when I realized I wasn’t planning to achieve my goals, I was simply “planning” to control the daily whirlwind. I was certainly staying busy and not dropping the ball on the day-to-day things, but was not accomplishing the important goals I had set for myself.
I was playing defense against time.
To achieve my goals, I needed to go on the offense.
So, I set out to find the perfect planner and the perfect planning process. (Because of my nature, that journey in and of itself was fun for me.) Regrettably, there is no perfect planner or perfect planning process, but there is good news! There are commonalities in every successful person’s goal achievement process and every great planner.
If you want to achieve big things in business and life, here are the two things I want you to start doing that will make a world of difference in getting there.
1. Keep Track
When it comes to setting and following through on your goals, begin by writing them down and do not be vague. Be specific. If you want to win, the first key action is that you must keep track of your progress. Keep track in whatever form is most convenient for you: use paper, use an app, use your planner, use hash marks, but keep track.
Every single planning process starts with identifying specific goals and making progress toward them. The journey is what gets you to the goal. It’s one foot in front of the other.
Without tracking progress, you will not be working with the truth.
Most people overestimate the number of hard things they do and underestimate the amount of easy.
a person who doesn’t track their progress, and I’ll show you someone whose goals remain just out of reach.
a team or a company that doesn’t track KPIs, and they are likely struggling to grow.
a person who wants to lose weight and doesn’t weigh themselves daily, track their food intake nor their exercise;
a runner who wants to run a marathon yet doesn’t want to track mileage or speed
You get the point. Goal achievement does not come from having a goal alone or from hope or good intentions. It comes from keeping track.
What gets measured, is what gets done
When you keep track, you can observe and reflect on the progress. You see what is working and what isn’t. You can course correct. It’s fact-based and data-driven insight. Reflection requires vulnerability, too. You have undeniable evidence of whether you are sticking to your planned goals and it gives you the opportunity to learn from the mistakes you are making. It’s your time to figure out the potential obstacles so you can maneuver past them. Reflection also gives you reason to celebrate real accomplishments (as opposed to celebrating the act of crossing things off the list).
Tracking and Reflecting is much more satisfying than list-making. It might sound like too much structure, but the person that benefits the most is you. You will win if you know where you are going, and you take clear, measured steps to get there.
Start now. Take a few minutes to write down your specific goals and determine how you will keep track of the actions needed to get there. It