MOTIVATION FACTOR #5: The Monthly Goal List

Previous Motivation Factors:

MOTIVATION FACTOR #1: Buy A Notebook, Not A Planner.

MOTIVATION FACTOR #2: Set Yearly SMART Goals

MOTIVATION FACTOR #3: Divide Your Major Goals Into Mini-Goals

MOTIVATION FACTOR #4: Create a Master List

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In the previous factors, we’ve covered two of the five elements of the “Base 5 System”.  As a reminder, the first element was setting ten goals for the year and then setting mini-goals for the first goal you were going to work on.  The second element was the master list.  This is where you write down every single item to work on including your mini-goals.  Now that you’ve got that done, it’s time to use both of them to assess your monthly goals.

Your monthly goals or monthly list works a little different than the yearly goals you set.  (I may be using monthly goals and monthly list interchangeably here, so feel free to call it whatever works best for you.)  If you’re using a college-ruled notebook (which I’ve recommended), I usually keep my monthly list to always 30 items.  So as you look over your previous two subjects in the notebook, you want to list the 30 most important things you’ve got to do for the next 30 days (or 31 or 28…depending on what month you’re in obviously).  You don’t have to list them in any certain order right now, you’re just making a list of those 30 items you want to work on through the month.

Finished?  Ok, now that you’ve got that list down, next to those 30 items, draw a vertical line down the page.  Next to those 30 items, put a date down when you’d like to complete them.  You don’t have to have a date for every item.  For example, if an item carries over to another month or it’s not high on the priority list, you may not want to set a date yet and that’s ok.  But if there’s something that must be completed by a certain deadline, by all means, put that date down.  I usually have dates with about half of the items on the list.

Got that done?  Great…draw another vertical line next to that.  Now comes the prioritization part.  Decide what your top 6 items on the list are and mark them with the letter “A”.  Once you’re done with that, take the next six items, and mark them with a “B”.  Keep doing that until you have A through E marked six times each.  Now that you’ve finished that, go back to your “A” items and number those in order of importance with a “1”, “2”, etc.  Then, do the same with the other lettered items.  So you should now have a list that ranges from “A-1” to “E-6”.  Your month has now begun.

I will come back in a few blogs to this list, but for next time, I will go over the Weekly List.

 

If you do use this system and would like to leave a comment on how it goes for you, please feel free.  Thank you for reading another “Motivation Factor”.

MOTIVATION FACTOR #3: Divide Your Major Goals Into Mini-Goals

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So now that you have a list of goals, written in the SMART format, what do you do?  It’s actually really simple as you take the first goal and work on that one.  For myself, I still use the first subject of a five-subject notebook and I skip a space in between the 10 yearly goals and the first goal I want to work on.

So after a skipped space, rewrite the first goal (either the first one in sequence or the first one in priority) and make sure you include the deadline.  Now you’re going to break that goal into mini-goals by brainstorming EVERYTHING you need to do to get the goal accomplished.  Don’t worry about what you have and don’t have, just write down all the things you need to do to get your goal moving to the end.  There’s really no set number, I just write until I can’t think of anything else.

Once you’re finished with that, you now have a major yearly goal written down with a list of mini-goals.  With that list of mini-goals, you’re going to do the same thing you did before and that’s put two numbers down afterwards, a sequence number and a priority number.  While this process may take a while (depending on how large of a goal you’ve set), I’ve also found it to be organized and motivational.

Now that you have that list finished, it’s time to get started on that first mini-goal.  Just like your major goals, this one should also be written with a deadline in mind.  And just like your major goals, it should be realistic.  Give yourself a few days to finish it if you have to…the idea is to make sure you don’t set an unrealistic time and then finding yourself overwhelmed when other goals begin crossing over at the same time.  It’s many cases it’s not life-ending if you don’t meet your deadline right away.  Just extend it and keep working at it.

Once you’ve finished that part, you can move on to the next mini-goal and work on that.  The idea is to just keep taking baby steps towards finishing the goal.  There will be barriers along the way, obstacles that you didn’t foresee and that’s OK because we can’t predict every fathom of life.  For myself, I take a deep breath and just move forward.  You can’t change anything in your past, so don’t dwell on a mistake or something that happened that stopped you in your tracks, just think of how you can get back to the task at hand.

As you start finishing your first major goal, you can then repeat the process with your second goal.  If able, you can start your second major goal while working on your first or you can wait and start and finish your first one.  If it starts to get overwhelming, go back to your earlier goal and complete that first because the last thing you want to do is start on something, put it aside and then forget about it.

Continue on until you finish all your goals that you’ve set.  Some of them may be pushed further down the road, some of them may be surprisingly started earlier.  No matter what, you’re now on your way to working on things that will help you feel happier and more accomplished in life.  Good luck as you move towards a more successful life!

Next week, I will go over the fourth motivation factor.

MOTIVATION FACTOR #1: Buy A Notebook, Not A Planner.

When I was in Middle School, I used to grab just regular notebook paper, write down a list of things to do, grab a can of Coke and start working my way down this list.  It was an idea I had borrowed from my 8th grade Algebra teacher who always used to be prepared and organized each and every day.  Test papers would be graded immediately the day after we took it.  Notes would already be written on the board as we walked into class.  Plans would already be made for the week.  I don’t ever remember a time when he forgot something or when he was behind on anything.  And I always thought that magic lied in the fact that he had a drink sitting on his desk.

I started doing the same thing.  I started finishing all my homework immediately after I got home.  I made sure everything was prepared the day before.  I started drinking soda every day (and a couple years’ addiction to carbonated beverages began).  It all went great…until I stopped.

It wasn’t for several years in which I started planning again.  I would do what many people did…buy a planner.  I set out to use a simple planner and began to fill up boxes and trying to literally write 30 things into one tiny box.  Soon, I stopped using it and went the rest of the year without any system at all.

The following year, I decided “bigger was better”…I bought a planner that had about three pages of fill-ups per day.  I was filling out an exercise diary, a journal, a people list and so much more each night for almost an hour daily.  For about 50 dollars, this enormous planner was worth the price, but it wasn’t helping me accomplish much of anything.  So what did I do?

I needed to take a hard, long look and figure out how I was going to do this right.  How was I going to get organized, work on my goals and following it passionately.  I went back to my 8th grade system and decided to simply buy a 5 Subject Notebook.  That was about two years ago and I have not failed to go without it each day.  I’ve taken 30 minutes each day to fill out a day’s worth of goals and accomplished more than ever before.  Here is the system I used:

The 5 Subject notebook allows you to separate one set of goals from another:

Section 1:  Yearly Goals

Section 2:  The Master List

Section 3:  Monthly Goals

Section 4:  Weekly Goals

Section 5:  Daily Goals

I won’t lie.  The notebook is a lot of writing, but I love to write and it has definitely allowed me to work on more things during a day.  I carry the notebook almost everywhere – to work, to appointments, to home, etc.  I’ve found a system that worked for me and it all goes back to the system that I started when I was young.  Who knew?

Planners are great, for people that enjoy to use them, but for people that are on a budget, spending five dollars on a notebook will give you everything you need.

So there you have it.  Motivation Factor #1 is buying a notebook.  Next week, I will talk about how to start using that notebook to plan a great year.