It was my first meeting with a new client.
She hung her head a bit, just enough to hide her eyes. “Jill, I haven’t even looked at my goals for this year in months.”
After digging a little deeper we uncovered the truth, she’s scared to look.
This year has taken a completely different turn and she knows many of those yearly goals have gone untouched.
Those goals are no longer a hopeful guidepost. Those goals are now a sign of failure.
Or at least that’s how she felt before the meeting.
This year has taken a completely different turn, those yearly goals that went untouched were replaced by goals she could not possibly have planned for.
This is 2020 after all.
That’s a funny way of saying this year has taken a completely different turn for ALL of us. The truth is, though, this will happen in some form or another every year. We can’t foresee the future. We don’t know what opportunities or obstacles will present themselves.
Planning goals for the year is still important. It helps prioritize and plan. But these goals might change along the way. Creating and using a monthly check-in allows you to keep your year goals top of mind and adjust where needed.
How to create a custom monthly checklist for your small business
Start with the basics. Celebrate, evaluate and plan. These are important parts of any monthly check-in, no matter what your business is.
Celebrate. Look over everything you’ve accomplished for the month. This is the time to “feel the wins”. The following questions will help guide you through this step.
- Did I get closer to my big goals?
- Was there something I did this month that was hard, time-consuming or challenged me?
- Did I move through something easier than I expected?
Evaluate. What did you miss or not accomplish this month? Look at these items with curiosity. (No guilt here… just examination).
- Why didn’t the task get completed? Did I plan for too many tasks, did I underestimate the amount of time I would have, did I intentionally prioritize something else?
- Can I adjust something to set myself up to complete this task next month?
- Does this task move to next month or do I delete it?
Set-up. Closing up the month with a plan for what’s next ensures that you stay on track to reach your quarter goals (and ultimately your year goals).
- How much actual work time do I have next month?
- How am I progressing on my goals for the quarter?
- What can I accomplish next month to get me closer to my quarterly goal?
Now it’s time to add in monthly tasks that are specific to your business and your needs.
Customize. Which of your monthly processes could live on this list? Income/expense reporting, data tracking, client evaluations? I like to read over my mission statement while doing my monthly check-in.
Remember this monthly checklist is an experiment, you can always add or remove checklist items once you’re practicing the habit of checking in.
Notice I said habit in the sentence above? The most important part of this process is that it actually happens. Build a habit by planning ahead.
Add Monthly Check-in to your calendar in a way that makes sense for you. That might be with a digital calendar reminder or an email to yourself that is scheduled for the end of next month or writing it in your paper planner.
Head over to the Away from Overwhelm Facebook Group and share how you set up a reminder for yourself. Then print out the checklist below!