How to Prepare for a New Work Quarter: Tips, Tricks and Resources for Goal-Setting and Productivity in 2021
The new year is here and with it comes a new work quarter. How are you feeling about that? Excited? Stressed? Unsure? At Choice, our team tends to love the beginning of a new working quarter. It’s a fresh start and allows us to create new goals and strategies. However, if you’re not preparing for the new quarter, you’re doing it wrong! Make the most out of the new quarter by re-organizing yourself and your work. Not sure how to do that? Take a peek at how our team members are doing it!
For the last three years, I’ve applied the same practice to planning for a new year. Because I’ve seen such tremendous growth and results both personally and professionally, I’ve continued this specific discipline. And, just because it’s the middle of January already, doesn’t mean you are behind. There’s still plenty of time to walk through this for yourself and develop plans for a strong 2021. Here’s what I do:
- I write down goals in three different categories:
- Relational Health
- Business Growth
- Personal Development + Faith
- I narrow, edit and filter til I have exactly the right priorities for this specific year that are pushing me toward fulfilling my life’s mission
- I make sure that I have no more than 10-12 goals total, across all categories
- I review the goals together and find consistent themes across them
- I develop an annual theme based on my findings
- I outline each of these goals in my Full Focus Planner and then I determine the best next steps for each
- I evaluate specifically my top 3 goals that need to move forward in Q1
Kerry: I thrive on goals and deadlines, and I like to apply actionable to-dos to these goals. This is something I brainstorm and plan for at the end of every year. This year, I planned a bit differently. Instead of dreaming up aspirational goals that just add, add, add to my already full plate, I worked with a counselor to identify the biggest pain points in my life and work. Then we brainstormed actionable steps to relieve those pain points. So for 2021, I have six achievable goals and a whole list of Q1 tasks and steps to work toward reaching those goals. I revisit these steps on Monday morning and Thursday afternoon, and I am already making progress and seeing a big payoff.
Kristina: Organization and planning are some of my strengths. While many individuals start the year with goals of being more organized and managing their time correctly, I want to focus on learning the best ways to research and stay on top of trends. These are things that consistently fall to the bottom of my to-do list. I do not enjoy it per se, but I know after a few hours of research, I always feel like my knowledge of a particular topic grows immensely. I love managing the Choice podcast, it has allowed me to showcase so many of my strengths, but I have realized that I need to be continuously learning. I have dedicated specific time each week to immerse myself in podcast trends, statistics, popular issues, and other knowledge. The more I can grow the more we will grow!
Sarah: Planning for a year is one of my favorite things to do. I am visionary at my core and love to inspire people into mission. I LOVE to see a company and team function like a well-oiled machine and the only way of making this happen is if everyone knows their role and works hard to be the best at it within the team.
Here are some practical tips I use to develop goals for my department (business development).
- I start with company-wide goals (what are the projected revenue goals for each quarter? What is the ideal client or industry we would like to pursue this year?) and then I create department goals. I reverse engineer how many _____ I need to get to hit the company-wide goal and disperse that number throughout the team.
- Secondly, I think through all the roadblocks that may inhibit my team from hitting those numbers or goals and jot them down.
- Thirdly, I come up with solutions to how to attack those challenges should they arise throughout the year and then I create department goals, these goals are
- 1) Team Goals – we collectively come up with as a team to build comradery, develop better more effective systems, etc.
- 2) Personal goals – each person on the team must come up with personal goals to ensure they are becoming a better version of themself. I hope that if we do all of these steps well by the end of 2021, our company will hit all of its goals, our department will be stronger than ever and we will be wiser and more efficient leaders in the role we each play on this Choice team.
Manning: As I prepare for Q1, I like to see the big picture. In order to take the entire quarter and break it down into achievable tasks, I set my goals into a week-to-week layout so that it is not overwhelming. My mind is more productive when I know the big picture in the back of my head but have a physical and sustainable checklist daily. With that being said, I am utilizing the last 30-45 minutes of my workday to prepare and set up for the next day. During that time, I look over the next day’s schedule, check-in with my weekly goal, and organize my sticky notes that accumulate throughout the day. There is no better feeling than sitting down at my computer prepared and ready to start the day.
Hannah: As a social media manager, you become accustomed to a life of on-the-fly, and quick changes, as trends in the industry are constantly changing. However, to create purpose behind the content, it’s important to start by planning out in advance your message for the day, weeks, and months ahead. Q1 is no different than others in the year for us. We are constantly looking for new ideas and ways to create engaging content, staying on top of what trends are popping up on each social media platform, and learning the best ways to cultivate the community of our client’s dreams. One practical tool that has helped me in staying organized is a content calendar. There are many different ways to set this up, but some of my favorites are Planoly, Later, and Facebook Creator Studio. These apps allow you the ability to strategize your content, save drafts as you work through the month, and get a preview of what your feed will look like with the photos you’ve chosen.
This year, I wanted to start the year off strong by getting organized. I am implementing a new morning routine with a planner and calendar. I plan on using my mornings to make an overview of my day and make a to-do list. While I don’t love structure, I find that it helps me make the most out of my day and accomplish my goals. My daily tasks tend to change day by day, but I’ve found that adding a few constants into my work schedule helps create more routine and rhythm in my day.
Olivia: This year, I started using Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner to help avoid the overwhelming feeling of “I have so much to do – where do I start?” It helps you see your long term goals for the quarter, but also allows you to break it down day by day. I started Q1 by writing down my top goals and most important projects. I then break it down week by week into action items to make sure I’m achieving said goals in the established timeframe. I begin my days by pulling out my top 3 priorities for the day and then adding them to my to-do list. Having top priorities ensures that I’m focusing on the most important tasks that will help keep me on track.
Brittany: After the unprecedented year that 2020 turned out to be, I found myself challenged and oftentimes defeated when it came to organization as we navigated uncertainty with every day. While planning for Q1, I’m determined to bring a sense of organization back into my everyday life despite the unpredictability of the world. Something that has helped me this year is going back to the basics of writing things down. When I was in college, I used to write all my notes by hand and then go home and type them which became a tremendously beneficial system to fully comprehend what I was learning. Now, in my professional life, I’m revisiting this tactic. Whether I’m in a meeting, reading emails, or instant messaging with my team, I always have a notebook with me to write down pertinent information. This helps me funnel all methods of communication into one place throughout the day. I’ve found that writing things down in two places helps me process and remember the information discussed throughout the day with more certainty which is why at the end of each workday, I’m setting aside time to cross-reference my notes with a digital project management system to make note of every idea, task, goal, and update that’s been shared.
Tiffany: My husband would say I’m an organized mess, but organized nonetheless right? I thrive off meeting deadlines and staying on top of tasks. I love starting each new year with a clear vision of not what I want to accomplish, but who I want to be. We often wonder why we aren’t meeting the goals we set each year, and I’ve found that it’s simply because we lack the overall direction of our ultimate purpose. With that, once I figure that out, I’m able to set up tangible and realistic goals that I break up into smaller bite-sized action items one day at a time. I typically write to-do lists in my phone or planner and I always give myself extra time to complete each task to avoid coming up short. For this year, I’m implementing a trusted accountability partner to keep me on track and help me stay focused on my mission.
Brooke: As we jump into the new year and a new quarter, we all have organizational goals that we may or may not stick to (just like going to the gym or spending less time on our phone, right?). So, to combat my organizational scaries, here are my tips and tricks: I keep both a calendar with important tasks, meetings, deadlines, AND a running notebook with all of the smaller details and tasks that may not be as pressing. My calendar is a lot more organized while my notebook acts more like a brain-dump I can cross-reference. When it comes to staying on top of trends, I am ALWAYS checking in on prominent news outlets or pop culture outlets’ Instagram pages or websites. Instagram may not be the “scholarly source” our English teachers would want us to use, but when it comes to media trends and doing research, Insta is a publicist’s best friend.