When it comes to work, I’m an extremely organized person.
But perhaps the area where my organizational skills have the most profound effect is in the area of metrics.
Speaking to a good friend, I realized that while many people may plan out their goals, less people take the time to measure what they actually accomplished and that sharing my process may help some get more done this year.
So in this post I’m going to discuss setting goals and measuring progress towards a more productive 2018.
When I started my copywriting business in 2013, I started with a plan. I opened an Excel spreadsheet and listed 1200 companies that I wanted to work with. I knew that during the coming year, I would try to get through as many companies as I could, building relationships through cold calling. But I had no idea how long it would take. I had no idea how many phone calls I would be able to make and I had no idea how many companies I would actually begin working with.
Almost five years later, writing my game plan for 2018, was a completely different story. Not only did I have clear goals and an action plan, I had what to measure them against, and my progress could easily be measured.
2017 was pretty good. No, I didn’t meet all my goals, but I met a good few and I certainly saw some progress.
My big goals for 2017 were:
- Copywriting business – 100% growth in revenue and 8 new clients
- Blog – 100% growth in traffic and 1000 subscribers
- Finishing my children’s novel
My 2017 action plan (simplified):
- Copywriting business – 1800 phone calls
- Blog – No definitive action plan, except producing content consistently
- Children’s novel – 10 hours of work each week
All these goals (and a few more), as well as my action plan were entered into a Google Doc.
Metrics and Measuring
At the beginning of each month, I’d make my plan and at the beginning of each week, I would work through implementing my monthly and annual plan.
At the end of each week I’d revisit my monthly plan with my entries for what I had already accomplished (or not) and plan the next week accordingly.
At the end of the month, I’d have an entire overview of what I had accomplished and plan next month based on my accomplishments or lack thereof.
With books I took it a step further. My goal for 2017 was to read 24 books. Here I didn’t just list the number of books in my annual plan and monthly plan. I also created a list in Trello of every book I read. In fact, I’ve been creating lists of the books I’ve read every year since 2014.
Now you may wonder, what’s the point of writing down every single book you’ve read?
Apart from it being fun to track what you’ve read, it’s also useful.
Last year for instance, I kept hearing (on different podcasts) about a book called “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.” The book sounded really familiar but I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t find it in my book list of unread books (yes, I have a Trello board for those too). I then checked my list of books that I read, and sure enough it was in there – I had read it in 2015. And I totally forgot! That of course prompted me to read it again.
After listing your progress throughout the year, you get a pretty good idea about what you’ve accomplished and what you didn’t.
So for instance, you may have already guessed that by the end of 2017 I did not reach my goal of 1800 phone calls. Not by a long shot. In 2017 I only made 561 phone calls.
But in 2017 I also worked with 17 new clients. Remember my goal had been 8.
Further diving into the numbers, I found the source for each of my clients:
- 9 – cold calling
- 6 – referral
- 1 – social media
- 1 – other
Meaning that 561 phone calls produced 9 new clients. Success!!
Another thing I learned is that sometimes, without writing down a plan you come up with a plan.
When 2017 began, I didn’t really have a defined plan for how I was going to double my traffic.
But because growing my blog was (and is) really important to me I developed an unwritten plan.
For one thing, I changed the name of my blog from The Behr Truth to Successful Women of Israel. And for another, my content naturally changed to suit my new name.
So InspHERation and list posts were created and traffic started picking up in a big way.
What this taught me is that you don’t always have to know the direction or even write things down. But you do need to set goals and constantly think about and work towards achieving them.
And though I didn’t have a defined plan, I did have massive action. And that action helped me increase blog traffic by 300%.
Subscribers on the other hand was a different story. I wasn’t moved to massive action and while I gained many wonderful subscribers in 2017, I didn’t manage to reach 1000 subscribers.
My Children’s Novel
My goal in 2017 was to finish my novel. It didn’t happen. And the reason it didn’t happen was because I couldn’t find 10 hours in my week to work on my novel. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t work on my novel, but it means I didn’t work on my novel enough. Also, because my goal was so lofty, if my week was busy I didn’t even try to make time for my book because I knew I’d never be able to reach 10 hours.
So this is what I learned from that. Start small and be nice to yourself. This year my lofty goal is not to finish my novel. It’s simply to dedicate 100 hours to it. 100 hours is a significant amount of time. It might not be enough to complete my novel in 2018, but at the end of 2018 I should be much closer to finishing my novel; much closer than I came in 2017.
Writing down your goals helps you focus on what’s important to you and what you want to achieve.
Measuring what you do is vastly important to understanding how effective your actions are in achieving your goals.
It may seem like a lot of work, and in fact it may be. But it’s important work that will help keep you on the right road and can even help get you to where you want to go, faster.