Let’s face it, as a home or online business owner it can be very difficult to figure out how to prioritize and balance your goals for your business and life. I believe that we have to first start with defining what success means to us personally. We shouldn’t base our idea of success on what anyone else is doing or what anyone else tells us that we should be doing. I also don’t think success necessary means making or having a lot of money. Success for you is going to be different than it is for someone else and that is perfectly fine. When you know what success means to you, then you can start to work on prioritizing your goals and activities which will then give you the ability to better balance your business and personal lives.
There are five main areas we typically make goals in:
1. Family – Spending quality time with your kids or partner,
2. Financial – Saving toward your six-month emergency cash or paying off debt
3. Physical – Being healthy and more active, losing weight
4. Personal – Taking better care of yourself, learning a new hobby or trade, traveling more
5. Business – Increasing your income by a certain % over the next year, launching a new product, building a team
In order to determine what should be a priority and where to focus your time, you can consider the following questions with each key goal or area.
* Which goals take up the most space in your thoughts? – What keeps you up at night that worries you (or excites you)? What do you find yourself daydreaming about? What really makes you feel alive and that you could see yourself doing for the rest of your life happily?
* Does it reflect who or where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years? – How will this goal impact you in the future? Will it get you closer to your big picture vision or help you make the improvements you are dreaming about?
* Does the goal align with your core values in life? – This is a really important one. When we make decisions that do not align with our core value and mission, it not only keeps us from truly being happy but causes a lot of internal struggle. When we know we are not living our best life or being true to what our priorities are, it makes it 10 times harder to make progress.
* Is the goal for you or are you doing it for others? – There are things we have to do for others especially if we are married or have children. Be careful to make sure your goals are still YOUR goals too and don’t work on something just because you feel like you have to do it to please someone else or achieve someone else’s definition of success for you. If you are doing it just for the sake of others and not because you have a passion, drive and desire to also reach those goals for yourself, you will often fall short of reaching that goal.
* How long will it take you to reach the goal? Do you have the time available or are you willing to make the time available to do the work to achieve this goal right now? Maybe you should break the goal down into smaller milestones or steps in order to achieve it? Maybe there are other goals that you can reach in a shorter amount of time or that will make a bigger difference that you should focus on first? These are things to consider to help you determine which goals to say yes to now or to work towards in the future.
* Does the goal make you feel fear? Why? – Sometimes the very thing you fear most is what’s best for you to do. Look clearly at your goal and figure out why it frightens you. Sometimes it’s the unknown, and like ripping off a Band-Aid, just doing it might be the best cure.
* Which goals make you most excited? – Some goals immediately send tingles down your body and into your mind, pushing you forward to doing it. These are goals that are easy to do and probably impact your life a lot. However, do make sure you consider if the goal aligns with your values and long term goals. Sometimes we can get excited about sparkly things (shiny object syndrome) and say yes to a goal or activity that might distract us from reaching our real goals.
* Is this goal going to move me forward?– This question has been the biggest “aha” one for me in determining what to focus on. Before I make any decisions I ask myself if completing/achieving this goal, project, task or idea is going to actually move me forward in my life and business and get me closer to my bigger goals.
Consider those questions as you work to determine where to prioritize your time and energy. Once you can narrow down your goals, you’ll see how the goals begin to organize themselves.
If you keep the big picture and your overall values, mission and lifelong goals in perspective in everything you do, it will help you prioritize your goals and get your life & business in balance.