This is not another one of those “make next year your best year ever” articles.
You know the kind where they talk about setting goals for the coming year, and being grateful for everything that you have achieved this year.
Ok, so maybe it’s kind of like that.
But that title is so overused, so we had to be different, right?
Well now we’ve got you hooked, let’s tell you what this article IS about.
This article is less about making next year your best year ever and more about making stuff happen. Period.
As 2019 draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what you achieved this year, and what you want to get done next year. Spending time doing this now, can pay dividends (oops accounting pun) in the long run.
So, here’s our 4-step process for making sure that 2020 is the year you officially make stuff happen.
1. Think loooooooooong term (and then short term)
Although you’re focused on what you want to achieve in the next 12 months, you need to be thinking about how it fits into the bigger picture. Long term, what do you want your practice you look like? Do you want to keep it lean and mean? Or do you want to build an empire?
It’s also worth thinking about what you want to achieve personally. This could be more time off. Retirement in the next few years. All these things will impact (or should impact) the things that you focus on over the next 12 months.
We recommend writing down some things you’d like to achieve both personally and in business for the next 3-5 years. Once you have these, you can work backwards to the next 12 months.
Which brings us nicely into the next step…
2. Set some SMART goals
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals, but I bet you’ve never heard of PPEFT?
No seriously, you won’t have. Because we just made it up. Here’s how it works:
Precise - your goals need to be ultra Specific. “I want to grow my revenue” is not specific. “I want to grow my revenue by 30%” is specific.
Practical - there’s no point in setting completely unrealistic goals. Make sure that they’re realistic considering where you are right now. You want to have that “ooo I’m unsure” feeling but not that “this is a stupid idea” feeling.
End-point - your goals need to have a specific end-point. In this case it’s likely the end-point will be the end of 2020. Or the end of whatever year you’re reading this - greetings accountants of the future!
Feasible - similar to practical. We never understood why they had both Achievable and Realistic in SMART, it’s the same thing? So to reiterate, your goals need to be not impossible to achieve. Being the first cloud accountant on the moon is not going to happen.
Trackable - in order to know whether you’re on track, your goals need to be trackable. This means having a measurable element to them. Try to identify some criteria you can measure your progress towards.
Ok, as you probably gathered, that was exactly the same as SMART, but different. It was PPEFT. I wonder if this will stick?
Want to find out more about setting effective goals in your accounting firm? Check out our guide to effective goal setting. In there you’ll discover how to define goals and create plans that get your team excited. We also share some examples and worksheets to help get you started.
3. Create a plan
Once you’ve figured out what your goals are, you need to turn them into something you can work with all year round. This means breaking the goal down into bite-sized steps and turning it into a plan.
At a high-level, your plan should identify:
All the steps you need to take (and in what order) to achieve your goal
Who is responsible for each of the steps - it doesn’t have to be all you
When each step is expected to happen by
How you will track your overall progress towards achieving the goal
In order to map out your plan, we recommend keeping it simple and using sticky notes on a wall where everyone can see it.
4. Block out time for implementation
Setting some goals for 2020 is great.
Turning these goals into a shiny new plan is even better.
But without the time to actually implement and execute your plan, it’s all a little bit...pointless.
Before the year starts, block out time in your diary to focus on this stuff now. It could be 2 hours every Friday morning. Or it could be a couple of hours on a Tuesday evening. It doesn’t matter when, what matters is that it’s blocked out in your diary in advance for the year ahead.
If you were to wait you're part way through a busy working week, do you think you’d find the time to focus on these goals? Chances are you won’t. But blocking it out in advance dramatically increases the chances of you spending time on them.
If time is a challenge for you and you’re looking for new ways to free up time to focus on the things that matter, then why not try out Pixie.
Our effortless Practice Management software can be set up in hours (not weeks or months) and starts to save you time and organise your day for you from the moment you sign up.
You can start a 30-day free trial below. Don’t worry, we won’t ask for your card details. You can have a fully no-strings-attached fling with us and we don’t mind. Honestly.