T-minus ….6 days until the start of Q4 2017. 97 days until the end of 2017.
Seriously, that can’t be right.
That means you and I only have 3 months to accomplish all of those goals that were identified both professionally and personally in Q1 2017. Here are 3 steps that will help ensure we conquer Q4!
Just because I had a goal in January, does not mean that goal should still be living. In other words, before I move forward with my 4th quarter planning, I should validate if each goal is still relevant to my business or personal life at the start of Q4. A lot can change in 9 months. Let me say that again…. a lot can change in 9 months. Goals need to be revisited and scrubbed daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly.
This process is not easy for me. I love accomplishing goals – laying down that glorious check mark next to a goal and the sense of crossing the finish line. Deleting a goal feels more like a failure than a smart, strategic decision. I have to hold myself accountable that my desire to achieve does not prevent me working on the right things.
2. Block Time …NOW!
I just finished adding more blocked chunks of time on my calendar from now through December 31st. These chunks are dedicated goal time. They cannot get cancelled. They can be moved, but not cancelled. Some are blocked with a simple header (“goal time”) and some are very descriptive (“work on new keynote”).
Without blocked time, my goals do not get accomplished. Something else can always be more urgent.
2. End FOMO
“Ding!” My Outlook reminder goes off as a critical trigger to prepare me for my upcoming, highly protected, “blocked time.” But wait, work is a little crazy this week – we are in the middle of launching 3 new client projects – what if I miss a critical client email or my team has a question in the next few hours?
Enter FOMO. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a blocked time killer. Therefore FOMO is a goal killer. Therefore FOMO is a Q4 killer. You must kill FOMO before FOMO kills your goals.
If I am worried that a key email come through, or that I may be a bottleneck to someone, then my blocked time is not nearly as productive as is needed. My brain is on shared time – half present and half on what I might be missing.
A solution? Engage boundaries and proactive communication.
For example, if I’m planning on a full morning block the next day, I let my team know ahead of time that I won’t be on email until midday. Of course, they also know that if there is an emergency, they can find me (and they know what qualifies as an emergency).
I also put an out-of-office reply on my email – a fully transparent one. Knowing that Outlook is communicating for me keeps me focused and maybe even inspires others to do the same.
“I’m heads down working on ‘big rocks’ this morning. I will not be on email until noon. If it is time sensitive and cannot wait, feel free to email ‘x person.’ Thank you for your patience! Maybe you need some “big rocks’ time too this week?”
For the record, 99% of the time, when I set that boundary, my phone never rings and I stay completely in my goal-thriving, blocked-time zone. My productivity is off the charts and goals are moved forward or get accomplished (I get to check a box!).
Everything else can and should wait. FOMO has been handled.