In Junior High, I started carrying a paper calendar in my purse. Even then, I pined over the DayTimer components. Later, in the 90s, I was an early adopter of the Palm Pilot. After that, my calendar was completely digital for decades. While still valuing my journaling, I didn’t resume with a paper calendar until about 2014.
When my life and leadership started to get more complex, I started to need to keep more lists and track more details. And that combined with a need to process my time in a paper space. With trial-and-error along with iteration, a hybrid time management and goal achievement system emerged. Now, I love my writing, my note-taking, and my goal documentation system! Plus, there are research-based benefits for writing it down.
Now, I’m a Full Focus Planner devotee. Since Q4 of 2017, I have diligently worked this goal achievement system. Recently, I paged through my very first Full Focus Planner to discover what I’ve learned in the past 5 years, over 18 planners.
Here are three ideas.
The Rule of 3
While I still struggle with this idea, often, focusing on my most important dreams helps. That’s difficult when your career (and family) are as varied and diverse as mine, but worth the struggle.
As a humble example, basically of what not to do, this is my goal summary for Q4 of 2017. Now, I only put my top 3 (sometimes 4) goals on this page for the quarter. I leave my annual goals in my Best Year Ever template. I use highlighters and modify them as I go. They are working, living goals.
Celebrate Progress and Process
As you can see in Goal #8, in Q4 of 2017 I decided I was NOT going to get my doctorate. I believed there was a different path for me, so I “X’d” it out. Additionally, I also marked goals I hadn’t achieved but made progress on with an ⤴. There were all kinds of shifts and modifications in just 90 days!
Now, I’m “smarter” and I set goals that are more specific, measurable, and time-keyed. So, I can often quantify how much of a goal is accomplished.
Persisting in goal-setting is all about progress and process.
So, as I look back, I’m glad I give myself partial credit. The mindset of an “⤴” serves me. I just need more time. Furthermore, it helps me that no one is evaluating my work. That’s how I stay open, learning, and growing.
Every week, I reread my goals. I do it as part of Weekly Preview practice. Do you know what happens each week when I come across a goal like this one?
“Advance team’s teacher-leadership and self-perceptions as scholar-practitioners.”Q4, 2017 Full Focus Planner
I get an idea of how to move it forward. I write down a task in my Weekly Big 3 or Daily Big 3 to help me achieve this goal.
Again, not a very well-written goal (S-M-A-R-T-E-R).
But, definitely focused on mattered most for me as a Chief Learning Officer (aka Principal): advancing teacher-leadership!
On a side note, I write about how I blended school objectives and my individual professional goals in the post, “Hit Your Targets This Year.”
In conclusion, your journey is what teaches you. Everyone can learn to set and achieve goals. I did.
PS Don’t wait, for deeper collaboration on the Goal Achievement system from the lens of school leadership, check out my masterclass series at www.learnforward.ca.