In less than 3 months, 2019 is going to end and another year begins. You are either pumped for the year to end because you’re nearing your goals or you are feeling demotivated because you are nowhere near your goals. In case you belong to the latter group, don’t fret. We are going to share with you a three-step framework that will help get you back on your feet and finish the year strong. We don’t want you to feel bad for yourself during the holiday season because you were not able to reach your goals.
This framework that we are about to share is the same framework that we teach more than 13000 our customers. This is our tried and tested method that we not only use for Asian Efficiency but also for our personal goals. Even if you had poor previous quarters and have set annual goals, this framework can work for you. Some people make the mistake of giving up too soon. Here’s a pro-tip. Don’t. Don’t give up. BUT, you can always take a different course of action. No one said that you cannot restart or change where you are sailing within the year. No rule states that you can only start at the beginning of the new year or the beginning of a quarter. Heck. You can start any day of the year!
So put your thinking cap on and let’s go through the 3-step framework.
1. Review you past quarter
You hear ‘do a review’ from Asian Efficiency all the time. We champion for this because it’s a very important step and not everyone does it or most of the time, they do it incorrectly.
We do this regularly since it’s part of the Scrum framework that we use. We do our review and retrospective every two weeks. On top of this, we also do a review every after we release a new product and every end of the year—just to look back at the year that just ended.
Take a look back at the quarter that just ended and ask yourself these three questions:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- What can I do better?
The questions are very straightforward and it forces you to think about what happened before. If you keep a journal, now’s the best time to open it up and read through it so that your memory will be refreshed. If you don’t keep a journal, now’s the best time to start keeping one (again, no need to wait for January 1st).
You cannot rely on your memory alone (unless you have Hyperthymesia) and journaling helps you remember. We talked about journaling, and how it can help you stay on track, in the podcast and you can listen to it here.
When you answer those three questions, make sure that you write it all down. Again, don’t commit everything to memory because your memory will fail you.
Here’s an example:
What went well?
I was able to get 10,000 new email subscribers
What didn’t go well?
I wasn’t able to finish setting up my email marketing materials. I wasn’t able to send even one email to my new subscribers. I might have lost a lot of business opportunities because of this.
What can I do better?
Put time into strategic planning and execute on it.
It doesn’t have to be one item only. You can have 10 things that went well, 20 things that didn’t, and 50 thins that you could have done better. The sky is the limit. Just make sure you capture those answers for you to use.
2. Look into the opportunities that you have
In the review step, you might have already noticed some Kaizen opportunities (means continuous improvement) that you can work on. You have also identified what went wrong. When you know what’s wrong, you get the opportunity to make it better, fix it, and not commit the same mistake again (or maybe just one more time before you are finally able to correct it—just being realistic here :)). Kidding aside, when something doesn’t go according to your plan, take it as an opportunity to apply Kaizen.
This might also be the best time to check if it would be better if you change your goal. Before you say that it’s not possible since it’s nearly the end of the year, let me remind you of what I mentioned before—“No one said that you cannot restart or change where you are sailing within the year. No rule states that you can only start at the beginning of the new year or the beginning of a quarter. Heck. You can start any day of the year!”
If your current goal is no longer relevant and it no longer excites you, then change it. There is no use continuing when it will not bring value to your life. Maybe you’re just pushing yourself to finish it just because you thought (a few months ago) that it was what you wanted.
Steps 1 and 2 take a lot of back and forth. Check your review, look for opportunities. Let’s take a look back at our example about the email subscribers. You got new email subscribers because you were consistent in sharing information through your blog and also your social network. This is something that is working well for you but can you see an opportunity to improve on it? Perhaps you spend so much time sharing in social media and one way you can streamline the process is to get social management software so that you can cross-post on different social media platforms. That’s one opportunity.
Another one could come from the 2nd question ‘what didn’t go so well’. You realize that the reason you were not able to put any time on the email marketing was that you were so busy curating content for your social media account. You can hire someone to do this for you. You can use Upwork or Freelancer.
Those are just some simple opportunities that you can derive from the review process.
3. Execute what you need to do
You did your review and you uncovered your opportunities. It’s now time to execute and do the work that needs to be done. This is the step that will move the needle and make this last quarter a successful one.
No matter how good everything looks on paper, if it stays on the paper, it will not take you anyway. Do the work. Don’t procrastinate. Time is of the essence.
If you decided to keep your goals and just work on the opportunities that you got from your review, then start. If you decided to change your goal and follow a different course of action, then start. You just need to start.
Hire that freelancer. Get that software. Book that trip. Do it.
Your greatest roadblock is yourself and the great thing about that is it is something you have control over.
The 3-step framework is something you can do today. Get your journal and start your review, think of your opportunities, and execute.
Here are some other recommendations we have to help you make the last quarter of the year a successful one:
- Read The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran. We also have a course for this within the Dojo, Asian Efficiency’s online productivity community.
- Read Scaling Up By Verne Harnish
- Get an accountability partner
- Make sure you have the energy to do the work and stay on track. Go through our podcast episodes about energy starting with this episode.