The Shop

How To Outline Goals + Be More Actionable

Goals. Let’s talk about goals. 2017 is approaching SO fast and I for one am in OMG OMG OMG panic mode about getting everything done. I wanted to give you my 6 steps for outlining goals and keeping track of everything I WANT to do. If you’re interested in a more step-by-step process check out the #GoalGetter Kit.


BRAINSTORMING GOALS

First things first, goals come in many shapes and forms. I have a goal to drink more water and a goal to run 5 miles and a goal to grow my email list and a goal to do a kajillion other things.

What I like to do is give myself a goal brainstorm session, which is very similar to a daydream to be honest. Some people use this as a manifestation technique, too. Basically I like to sit and review every facet of my life and think of what I want it to look like. This can be in many categories, like:

  • Business
  • Relationships
  • Health + Fitness
  • Mental Wellness
  • Personal Skills/Interests
  • Financial

And so on. For me, when I start down one of these paths I place a timer on for about 20 minutes and I just write out what an ideal situation would be and it starts to cover all of these categories (and more). I don’t limit myself by anything (like negative thoughts) and let myself truly explore what I want in my life. This might sound a little bit too “woo woo” for some people, but it’s fun to let your brain explore all your hopes and dreams for your future. Plus, it’s just 20 minutes. You can do it in the shower (though I would prefer you actually wrote things down). Maybe make a voice recording while you’re driving or cooking dinner. Whatever works for you to let loose and brainstorm.

Don't limit your #goal setting session with negative thoughts! [tweet that!]


DIVIDING INTO CATEGORIES

Once I’ve made this list of just how awesome things could be, I start to divvy things up into main categories. Mine are usually business, personal, and wellness. I start to sort goals/ramblings into these different categories just to get better organized.

You can make as many categories as you like, it really doesn’t matter.  I just like to vision a few main categories I am focusing on in my life and I tend to notice categories start to appear unintentionally. In the #GoalGetter Kit there are 6 slots, but you could print that off multiple times if you have more! My wellness goals might look like this:

  • I want to practice yoga 3x a week
  • I want to run 5 miles
  • I want to drink half a gallon of water a day
  • I want to spend 30 minutes daily doing affirmations and manifestations

I also take this time to write the goals more specifically (initially in the brainstorm those probably read more like: practice yoga, run, drink more water, try manifestation). The more specific you get the better – so throughout this process I keep refining and making goals more and more specific. 


SUB GOALS VS MAIN GOALS

Next I take time to delineate what is a MAIN goal versus a sub goal. This might look a few different ways, depending how your brain likes to organize things.

I like to make mini-goals, so I would take “I want to run 5 miles” and turn that into a few sub goals:

  • Run 1 mile
  • Run 3 miles
  • Run 5 miles

But someone else might make the big goal “I want to be a healthier, more fit person” and make the sub goals:

  • Run 3x a week until I can run 5 miles
  • Do yoga 3x a week
  • Drink a half-gallon of water

It just depends on you, honestly, and how you like to get organized. I like to get extremely specific because I’m a TO DO list maniac apparently (haha, seriously though.


INCENTIVES + REWARDS

Within those sub goals and main goals I then give myself rewards. Maybe you are more disciplined than I am, but I need to incentives to get things done. Even when I was younger in school I would have to break down large reading passages with post it notes and a reward for getting to each section (silly things like I can eat a Hershey kiss or I can have some water).

I try to make the incentives little things that I want but won’t “die” without (i.e. I no longer withhold water from myself… oops) and that help me along my goal/keep my motivated.  For my running example, running a mile might merit me 30 minutes to focus on creating an awesome new running playlist. When I get to 5 miles I might reward myself with new running shorts or something that isn’t too expensive/outlandish, but will excite me.

Having little incentives is a way to keep me motivated, but other ideas might be things like allowing yourself to post to social media and get validation from friends and family. Or maybe you join some app that rewards you with cheers and applause (doesn’t the Nike app do that?). I just recommend finding some way to keep yourself excited along the way.

Reward yourself for accomplishing goals + staying focused! [tweet that!]


DAILY TO DO LIST

Next, once I have my goals and incentives in place I focus on fitting in time to work on these goals in my daily to do list. If it’s not written down there is a very good chance it won’t get done – so write it down!

The thing about most of your goals is that they require you creating a habit, so having something become a part of your daily (or weekly) routine is necessary to see progress. So if you’re goal is to drink more water then make it a real task on your daily list to stop what you are doing ever hour and drink a glass of water (or whatever schedule works for you). Set a timer or a reminder. Don’t just think, “Oh I’ll do it” but instead force yourself to do it by treating it the same as you would a meeting or an important phone call.


KEEPING TRACK OF PROGRESS

Lastly keeping track of your progress is essential. If you’re a little more introspective take the time to reflect on what accomplishing your task for the day made you feel like and how you feel glad that you are one step closer to accomplishing your goal. I do this with running too – the walk home after I’ve run is filled with thoughts about how glad I am that I did it, even if it hurt during the process, and that today marks one step closer to my goal. Taking time to allow yourself to feel good about doing something and checking it off of a ‘to do list’ or whatever you are using starts to build positive reinforcement and make your mind crave those good feelings.

If you’re ready to start setting goals then grab the #GoalGetter Kit and don’t miss out the reminder freebie you can get straight to your inbox! What goals are you setting? I’d love to know – let me know in the comments and let’s keep each other motivated!



Goal Setting and Productivity

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


5 Steps To Managing Idea Overwhelm In Your Business

I have this running monologue in my head that one day I’m uber successful and being interviewed by someone like Pat Flynn or Oprah (okay, let’s not judge) and they ask the question, “when did you know you were going to be successful?” and I answer, “well I had enough ideas, I knew one of them would stick.”

So, yeah. I have a lot of ideas. I’m “an idea person” through and through. When I started working at a mega advertising company I became so incredibly discouraged because I was forced to be a Photoshop mule and all I wanted to do was talk about “THE BIG PICTURE” and how that should look.

In my own business this personal quality is both a blessing and a curse. On one end it’s nice to have a constant flow of inspiration, but on the other hand it’s incredibly distracting to constantly be thinking about what I could work on next.

If you’ve got a lot of ideas it can be overwhelming, I totally get that. Here’s how I handle the near-constant idea production going on in the back of my mind and use it to benefit and grow my business.


ALLOW TIME FOR BRAINSTORMS

To start off: don’t stop yourself from having ideas. Ideas are WONDERFUL and helpful and productive and awesome. When I first started TheCrownFox my thought process was “this is my business and this is exactly what I do, period.” These sorts of thoughts actually cause MORE stress to someone because you’re stopping a naturally occurring process. It’s like trying to stop your feelings – eventually it bubbles over and you freak out over the smallest thing and your significant other is like, “whoa, what? I thought you didn’t have to put open spaghetti sauce in the fridge” and you’re like “ARE YOU FOR REAL?!” … Anyway, don’t limit yourself.

Instead, devote time in your schedule for these brainstorms. Get a journal or Evernote or Trello and go crazy writing out your ideas. My Evernote has a notebook called “ideas” and there are literally 50+ notes with random ramblings. Some of them have one or two sentences and some of them are nearly complete course outlines. Get it out of your head! Free up some space in your noggin and get it onto paper…digital…note…thing.

"Devote time each week to business brainstorms" [Tweet That!]

This is actually a great way to eliminate some of your ideas. Chances are when you start to dig a little bit deeper into your ideas, a few will not pan out further than a one sentence description and you can probably go ahead and nix it (or at least store it away for a much later date).

I always schedule time for brainstorms because then when I’m knee deep in something that I actually have to do (like client work) I can tell myself, “Okay, cool idea. Let’s explore that tomorrow during our brainstorm.” And remove it from the forefront of my brain.


GO BACK TO YOUR BRAND VISION

When I am shuffling through ideas and considering taking one beyond the idea-phase I always, always, always go back to my brand vision. I’ve said this example before, but to me, a brand vision is quite literally “The Emerald City” and everything I do in my business is a potential brick in the yellow brick road and I have to make sure it fits in the path and doesn’t veer off course. Like I actually picture that. (I was Dorothy in my first dance recital as a child; this might be some weird psychological affect).

Anyway, do that. If you’re still lost on your brand vision then it might be time to talk with a coach or strategist, but I’ll give you a hint: your brand vision isn’t “to be a designer” or “to be a coach” – it should feel bigger than that.

This is also a way to start eliminating ideas (or passing them along to others or storing them away for later) that don’t quite fit in to your business. If you have ideas that are completely separate from your business and worth pursuing, then recognize that and move that idea into another “notebook” (or whatever you’re using). This definitely happens to me. I currently have TheCrownFox as my main business, but a separate more local-based idea that I thought could fit into TheCrownFox at first and has since pulled away into its own business that I devote some time to each week (not a ton at this point, but it’s definitely “on the schedule”) because it didn’t quite fit into the brand vision of TheCrownFox.


FIND CONNECTIONS

Some ideas might stick around and really stand out to you despite you fully being able to understand or recognize how it can serve your business at first. When this happens I start to look for connections between ideas that can ultimately impact my business (and fulfill my brand vision).

This happened to me recently actually. To be honest this is how MOST of my ideas pan out and my favorite part of the step. Maybe it’s the Sudoku-loving, Tetris-fan in me but finding patterns or lines of thought within things is soooo in my wheelhouse.

I’ll tell you this just so you see the process and can apply it to your own ideation time: When I planned out 2016 I had something I wanted to launch that would be basically a resource library of videos for different platforms, softwares, etc. It’s still going to happen eventually, but it’s since been broken down into smaller tasks because it was a hugely overwhelming project to manage while still focusing on growing my client-facing income.

So one of the sub-ideas under that was Squarespace tutorials, because I was recording individual tutorials for client’s to use to get comfortable with posting blogs and minor updates after we were done working together. This then developed into an idea for a mini-course about Squarespace so that anyone could feel comfortable using Squarespace.

I struggled with that idea because I was worried it fell outside of my brand vision. Was building a Squarespace site necessarily qualifying as being a ‘branding resource’ (part of my brand vision)? Would I lose clients if I taught them how to DIY? I couldn’t nail down how to approach this idea, but I also couldn’t shake it.

A few months later I was talking with a potential client who was desperate to work with me but couldn’t make the financial investment. It dawned on me that I wasn’t fulfilling my brand vision of being a ‘branding resource’ if I could only help people in a certain financial range. Thus the idea for TheShop was born – a way to provide templates and other visual elements more affordably.

If you’re lost in this story, here we are: an idea for Squarespace tutorials and an idea for affordable template design pieces and elements. Do you see where this is going? Suddenly these two ideas formed into one idea – create the mini course for people to get comfortable with Squarespace and pair it template designs (though it's also available separately). Let someone purchase a significantly less expensive template website and use the affordable course so they can make customizations and tweaks on their own. Even better? This is a HUGE resource for business owners of every income and experience level. I swear my brain literally exploded when I put this together.

Okay, a very long story – but the point is this: if you have an idea you can’t shake, try fitting it together with other ideas that you might be having. If you’re stuck on a course idea or an eBook idea or a new service, see how it can work in conjunction with something you already do or want to do.

How does this help with idea overwhelm? Well instead of having five little random ideas you might now have one awesome idea that is robust and expansive and super beneficial to your audience.


VISUALIZE AN END RESULT + CREATE A SCHEDULE

At this point everything is still totally liquid and in the idea phase. But at some point you’ve got to bite the bullet and start progressing on an idea. Here is something that I’ve learned the hard way (and still mess up from time to time): ONE AT A TIME.

I know you’re totally excited and want to do all the things, but like… you’re going to overwhelm yourself and burn out if you try to do it all at once.

Here’s what I did: I had three or four ideas I was really excited about and knew I wanted to implement into my business over time. I visualized the end result of all of those ideas. I thought about what that would look like for an audience member (or new subscriber or client, etc.). This visualization actually took me back a step and I formed more connections between my ideas (which was awesome validation). I realized, conveniently enough, all my ideas were connected in that they would help someone launch their business.

Then I paired down the order in which someone in my audience would benefit from these ideas and spread out fulfilling them accordingly. I created my schedule based on that.

So for example, first someone in my audience would need a stronger understanding of branding and to develop a foundation for their business. Once that was done I figured the logical next step for an audience member would be moving into using some template designs and creating their Squarespace website. This made my next steps developing TheShop and a Squarespace course (eventually).

Down the road? Next people would want to grow their email list (coming soon), create systems for productivity (coming later), etc. My schedule is based on the order that my audience will need my ideas.

If you feel that your ideas don’t work in succession like this, that’s fine. You can decide on your schedule however you please. Maybe it’s what you’re most excited about first, or maybe you take time to survey your audience and see what they’re most excited about. Whatever you choose – I strongly urge you to limit yourself to one idea at a time.


Okay – I fear that the title of this post might be inaccurate. You might’ve assumed that by “managing idea overwhelm” I meant I was going to tell you to throw away all your ideas and stay hyper-focused. I don’t want you to turn your brain off! It’s a powerful tool and being an “idea person” is wonderful – just ask someone who isn’t an “idea person”. So instead of ‘managing’ it by avoiding it, I want you to embrace it, make time for it, and discover how you can grow your business.



Business and Branding Strategy

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!