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map-making

244: Beyond goal-setting: Daily and weekly plans

Getting what you want to do done in your business involves more than just having a vision or checking things off your to-do list. Learn move about the three things that need to work together to get what you want done at TaraSwiger.com/podcast244

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What do you after you set your goal? What if you know what to do but you aren't getting anything done? Today I'm going to answer those questions and talk about how I use a planner.

I know it's February, and most people think about planning and planners and overhauling their habits at the first of the year, but I'll be honest with you: this year I didn't start even THINKING about my new year until January 20th. Between the logistics of a new 2 year old foster placement in my life and the learning curve of toddler parenting, I had no brainspace to spend thinking or planning. And once I started talking about my planning on Instagram (@taraswiger), I started getting questions that I wanted to answer here on the podcast. And hey, these are the questions I'm dealing with right now, as my whole work life is different now that I’m a new mom.

So the real question, for most of us when it comes to productivity is “how do I get done what I want to get done?”

In my experience getting things done comes down to three different parts of the process. At least one part of the process probably comes to you very naturally, and you don't have to even think of it. But another part of the process may not feel natural. You may get frustrated because you have such a clear vision about where you want to go, but your days seem to slip past you. Or you may be a pro at checking things of your list, but you feel fuzzy about where it's all going.

What you need is to identify how you do all three parts and then focus in on where your system is breaking down.

The Three Parts of Getting What You Want Done

First, identify the destination.

Where do you want to go?

If you just start planning your day or setting goals without a vision for the destination, it will be hard and you'll probably change course often and not make a lot of progress.

The clearer you are, the easier this will be, but I don't want you to fret too much over this. The longer you work on your business, the clearer you'll get about your Ideal Destination, and the more you'll know about the business you want. Your vision can evolve as you move along your path.

But you do need to spend time thinking about the aspects of where you want your year or your life or the next 3 months to go. What do you want to have more of? How do you want to spend your time? How do you want to feel? The first section of Map Your Business walks you through this.

Second, map out the steps to get closer to the destination.

Break your destination down into a smaller goal (for the next 3-6 months) and map out the steps you'll need to get there. This is the heart of my book Map Your Business, it has worksheets that guide you through this process 4x a year.

I hear from women every day who are using Map Your Business to get clear about where they are in their business and where they want it to go. (I LOVE hearing from Mappers and seeing your posts on Instagram, so if you are using Map Your Business, please tag me!) But it's not just about SETTING the goal, Map Your Business walks you through identifying what you'll need to do to reach your goal – the mini-goals you'll hit on the way there, and the actual tasks you'll need to complete. When you're done mapping, you'll have a big to do list that will move you where you want to go.

You can't make progress unless you know SPECIFICALLY what to work on.

Third, give the tasks a time and space.

This can be as free or as structured as you like. There are any number of ways to do this, but for many of the makers I talk with, this is the step they're skipping. They may have done Map Your Business and now they don't actually get the tasks done because they haven't set aside the time and space.

The big thing to remember is: this aspect will probably have to change as you grow.

For years, I would have the same set workday, and then just take my map to do list and work through it during the workday. Over time I learned I work best when days have a specific focus, like writing on Monday and recording on Tuesday. Within those boundaries, I'd work on my to do list. Now my whole schedule has been blown up by a 2 year old, so I'm rethinking how I do this.

Here are some ways that work for the women I know:

  • Have set work hours and just work down your list during those hours.
  • Theme days: writing days, shipping days, sewing days
  • Time Block your schedule: look at the blocks of time you have and assign the blocks kinds of tasks (the main thing is to STOP doing that task when the block is over). You may get your family out the door from 6-8, workout from 8-9, work on marketing and photography  9-12, then work on production from 1-3. Then family time from 3-8. Your blocks can be tiny (1 hour) or bigger (3 hrs is probably the max for your focus and attention).
  • Plan when you'll do what task at the beginning of the week (useful if your schedule changes a lot).

I want you to remember: it doesn't matter HOW you organize time or even how much time you have, what matters is “are you working on what matters to you and to your goals during that time?”

It's possible you have one of the above systems in place (or you intend to) and yet you still aren't working on what matters? Why? I've found that most of us are dealing with one of the following reasons:

  1. We aren't actually working on what we planned to.
    Instead of taking photos for Instagram, we're scrolling instagram. Instead of writing the email newsletter, we're looking at our email stats. That's ok! Don't beat yourself up! Just recognize it, identify where you do it, and move on.
  2. We haven't written it down.
    I don't know how you'll keep track of what to work on if it's not written down somewhere visible. You can make a pretty planner, you can use Asana, you can just write a list on a post-it, but I've never met anyone who didn't need SOME way of keeping track of what to do next. If you find yourself NOT working during your work time, stop and write down what you'll do next. It may see silly or unnecessary if you've already written it all down, but this is my quickest productivity hack: I just write down the next 2 things I'll do starting…now.
  3. You're not keeping track of all you DO do.
    Many times I've talked to a business owner who is complaining she never gets anything done and then she tells me about her day and OMG she is DOING SO MUCH. But she's not “counting it”. So start writing down and planning ALL that you do, not just your business or not just the newest goal. Having it all written down in front of you can make you more realistic about the time you have to spend on this new goal and help you celebrate all that you get done!

If you liked today's episode but you wanna go WAY deeper into productivity and how to plan a workday that works for you, check out my creativeLIVE class, How to Get More Done. It's 6 hours long with awesome bonuses and worksheets and you can find it at taraswiger.com/time.

And if you want to see my own planner system, check out my YouTube channel, my Monday videos have recently been about the systems I have used and how I plan now!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

The importance of planning for the New Year (and how I do it)

Did your 2016 go as planned? Are you feeling discouraged or sidetracked or thrilled? No matter how your 2016 has gone, you can create a better 2017. Today we’ll hear from a non-planner about how planning projects has made his life better, and I’ll share what I do in my own New Year planning session. Listen in at TaraSwiger.com/podcast136/

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Did your 2016 go as planned? Are you feeling discouraged or sidetracked or thrilled? No matter how your 2016 has gone, you can create a better 2017. Today we’ll hear from a non-planner about how planning projects has made his life better, and I’ll share what I do in my own New Year planning session.

Links Mentioned:

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Feeling unmotivated? Here’s how to Get More Done

I hear from SO many people that they just don't feel motivated to work on their To Do list - from the daily small tasks to the bigger goal-oriented projects. That's why it's so important to have a system of identifying your goal, breaking it down, and checking off your To Dos. This week we're revisiting a popular podcast from the past, with an all-new transcript and a FREE guide to go with it! In this episode we’ll discuss The principles for Getting More Done How to stay motivated when you don't feel like working The process I use to make progress on my quarterly goals Want to get more done? Get my FREE distraction-free guide to getting more done.Grab it here: TaraSwiger.com/podcast119/

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Get more goodness and support the podcast: http://patreon.com/taraswiger

I hear from SO many people that they just don't feel motivated to work on their To Do list – from the daily small tasks to the bigger goal-oriented projects.

That's why it's so important to have a system of identifying your goal, breaking it down, and checking off your To Dos. This week we're revisiting a popular podcast from the past, with an all-new transcript and a FREE guide to go with it!

In this episode we’ll discuss

  • The principles for Getting More Done
  • How to stay motivated when you don't feel like working
  • The process I use to make progress on my quarterly goals

 

Want to get more done? Get my FREE distraction-free guide to getting more done.Grab it here.

Check out the other posts + podcasts in this series:

Links Mentioned

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

Just picked up @bluebirdlegacy's yarn from the fiber mill...and sold every last skein to Purl'sYarn Emporium. Stop in to squeeze it! It is SO GOOD.

Good morning! Will there be coffee? Or pastries?  In line @jcStarbucks.

Yay! Done with the body of #bluesandcardigan! Picking up for the front. #knitting #pluckyknitter #knitstagram

Raylan apologizes for getting up at 5:30 & wants to know if we can go back to bed. #raylanpup #taralovesmornings #butnotthatearly

So much progress on #brandiedcherries! #taralovesmornings

I am so grateful for…

  • Warm weather!
  • I saw the first of the Spring daffodils and it's really the best news all week.
  • Total writing flow. I wrote over 3.5K words on Monday and 5.5k on Wednesday and whoa, does it feel good.

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m knitting: 

In case you missed it: 

  • I'm teaching at Craftcation in just two weeks! YAY! If you're in SoCal, please join me! (Or at the very least, let's have a coffee! Drop me a note here.)
  • Think you need to worry about “managing your time”? You don't.
  • Not sure where to start with keeping track of your business numbers? Start here.
  • The Starship will open for only 5 days this quarter. Sign up here to be the first to find out.

What adventures have you had?

Motivation: How to keep yours

Motivation How to Keep Yours

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Now that we know how to get stuff done and how to work towards your big projects, how do you keep doing it, day after day? How do you keep doing the work even when it's not fun?

 

Motivation. 
 

In this episode I'll discuss:

  • The needs that are distracting you (and permission to get them sorted first)
  • The three things your work must have to keep you motivated
  • How to be sure that you don't undermine your motivation

Links mentioned:

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

How to get stuff done, Part 1

How to Get Stuff Done 1

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UPDATE: In this episode I mention Wrangle Your Time, which is now available as Get More Done. 

Once you've made your New Year plans and you've boiled your goal down into an actionable plan with the Map Making Guide … how do you actually get your list of things done?  It's a balance of knowing what to do and finding the time to do it. In this mini-series, we'll discuss the principles of being productive (in this episode), followed by a post (about my own systems and routines, and ending with a podcast episode on how to find and implement a system and routine that will work for you.

If you need to make your own system, join us for Get More Done, where you'll learn how to put together a system that works for you. 

In this episode: 

  • How to do  what you want to do and reach your goals.
  • How to stay motivated
  • Choosing the most impactful actions to take

Links mentioned: 

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Don't miss the 2nd part of this series – How to Get More Done, part 2!

 

 

Make 2015 Awesome.

Make 2015 Awesome

I am getting super excited about the end of the year. I love using the next few weeks as an opportunity to hit pause on everything for a minute (remember, you have permission to take time off) and look at what happened in this last year, and what I want to happen in 2015. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing the biggest lessons of 2014 via email, so (in the last blog post of the year!) I want to talk about how to make 2015 awesome – how to be sure that next year at this time, you're going to feel great about what unfolded.

 

 

As I'm always reminding you, you can build your business to be whatever you want – you get to define your own success.
But that's not where it ends. After you define success for yourself, you have to boil it down to what that will look like – the specifics of it – and start taking action to actually getting it. Action that is directly going to impact your goal.

As you're planning your New Year, keep these things in mind:

Review the last year first.

List what worked and what didn't. Celebrate your successes and ask yourself: What actions made that happen? Let go of what didn't work. (In Chart Your Stars, which you'll get in both Lift Off + the Starship, the most popular activity we do is releasing the regrets of last year- forgiving yourself and choosing to move on is powerful.) Enumerate the lessons you've learned (I'm sharing my lessons next week, via email). Make a list of what lessons you want to bring with you into the New Year.

Be specific.

Everyone wants more sales or more money or “growth.” What does that look like in your specific business? This is where you're going to take what you learned while reviewing your year, and build on it. If you made 50 sales last year and you want to grow – how many sales do you want to make this year? If you want to write a book, how you will you do it (self-publish? book proposal to traditional publisher? something else)?

Find your reason.

Why do you want this? For things you truly want, you can usually answer this question swiftly, with multiple answers. Knowing your why will keep you motivated, even when things get hard. It will inspire in you another way of fulfilling that deeper desire, when a goal doesn't work out. For example, you want to make more money because you want your business to be profitable, because you want it to….pay some bills? Allow you to go to a movie? Contribute to your dream house? How else could you get that?

Pick a focus.

If you listed 500 things you wanted to do in 2015 – that's fine! But in order to make progress on any of them, you're going to need to pick one or two to really focus on in the next three months. You can start anywhere – I always tell explorers to pick the thing they are most enthusiastic about, no matter how crazy it might seem. After you choose a destination for your next quarter, you'll break it down into individual steps, so that you can take an action every day to get closer to your goal. (We do this step by step in the Map Making Guide – which is free in Lift Off and the Starship).

You may find, as you go through this process, that what you thought you wanted actually…isn't. Maybe you'll come up with an easier or more obvious way of reaching your definition of success. Maybe you'll realize that you don't have any reasons, and you're only doing this because you think you “should.” No matter what the results are, be encouraged and keep going until you have some goals and ideas you are truly enthusiastic about!

If you'd like to do all of the above in a guided workshop, surrounded by a community of encouragers – beam aboard the Starship! It is now open to new members!

4 steps to make your dream more do-able

(If you're reading via email, click through to watch the video)

Whenever I talk to makers about their goals, I hear the same frustration over and over:

I'm great at setting goals…but never seem to succeed with STICKING with them.”

In my CreativeLIVE class, we spent the whole third day translating your marketing and your dreams into a do-able plan, that will take you towards your true goals (and not just what you think you should do.

In the above video snippet, I share 4 actionable tips for making your goals more do-able. 
1. Get Super Specific
2. Recognize the support you have + the support you need
3. Keep it in line with your North Star
4. Be Flexible


If you want to get clear on your marketing and how they shape your dreams, you can buy the entire class (and watch a few more sneak peeks), right here: http://cr8.lv/taraswigerclyt

How to pick your goal

Set your goals for the rest of 2014 with the Explore Your Enthusiasm podcast, on TaraSwiger.com

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Happy Middle of the Year!

How's your 2014 going? Have you come closer to your goals for the year? Or have you forgotten all about them?
Either way, this is a great time to reset your intentions for the rest of the year and make a new map.

But where are you going?

In this episode you'll hear my favorite ways to set a good, clear goal that will bring you to a business you really want. I also share an embarrassing story about getting lost, and the importance of not just setting your destination, but paying attention the entire way there (with regular review!)

Links mentioned:

 

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

 

 

Dedicate + Release: the balance of map-making

dedicate

This week we're map-making – breaking down a destination (place we want to get to) into doable to-dos, and I'm sensing the tension between single-minded focus and going-with-the-flow. So let's talk about how to hold the tension, without falling into the what-about-this? swirl.

Once you have a destination + a map:

Commit yourself.
Be dedicated.
Go all in.
Do everything it takes to figure out how, specifically, you could get there.
Be willing to do whatever it takes (with integrity) to get there.

If you can't imagine giving it your all, take a break, step back. Locate your enthusiasm. And create a destination around THAT.

(If you can't find any enthusiasm, honey, you need to take a break. Rest, read, sip tea, snuggle…and then when you feel energized come back to this.)

 

From your whole-hearted dedicated space, remember:

The destination does not define you.
It doesn't indicate your worth.
Reaching it will not (necessarily) make you better, smarter, richer.
Reaching it or not reaching it doesn't matter nearly as much as dedicating yourself to a direction and then moving with intentional action to it, day after day.

It's not about the destination, it's about identifying what you want and how you could get there.*

*Tweet this 

 

As Danielle LaPorte puts it, “Want it with all your heart, but don't be attached to getting it.”

So why bother?
Because you'll never get anywhere without a dedicated, doable plan. It's not that you have to complete the map, exactly as you imagine it. It's that you learn as you go…and a map tells you how to start going.

 

The power of your own map is twofold:

1. It forces you to prioritize. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest? No,that's no longer the question. The question is: what actions will get you closer to your destination?
2. You learn by doing. Your map provides a list of things for you to try and experiment with.

And that's where all the learning, growing (even making money) happens:

Do something towards the destination.
Pay attention to what works.
Adjust.
Note what doesn't work (or feels bad/exhausting/overwhelming).
Adjust.

Without the destination in mind, you wouldn't know what to try. But if you stay too attached to getting it, you don't learn the lessons that come with adjusting.*

It's true! All that adjusting might result in:

Not reaching your destination.
Deciding you don't want to go to that destination.
Bypassing that destination in pursuit of a new, better-suited-to-you destination.

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
-Bruce Lee

 

 

What's your destination for this quarter? What has it taught you about getting there?

 

*It can be hard to take a break to reassess and adjust. That's why I built it into the Solo Mission – so you don't have to remember it on your own. 

 

 

 

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