The power of setting short term goals

“Get shit done” has become a bit of a mantra in our office as we continue to build (and learn how to build) our new foodtech and food innovation magazine business.

My partner has recently written about the pitfalls of losing momentum and one of the ways we’re (slowly) overcoming our initial launch and crash is through goal setting. I’m not talking about big lofty goals here (although we have those too), I’m talking about weekly or even daily goals. We’ve found this practice keeps the feedback loop tight and allows us to see where we’ve come from and where we’re going to with much more clarity.

Keep on track…

The Weekly Strategy Meeting

Each week — usually on Sunday because I’m currently teaching a web development course Saturdays — we sit down to reflect on the past week.

We celebrate the small wins and make note of the things that didn’t go so well. We remind ourselves of the big picture and look to the week ahead. This might sound like work (it is) but we try and make it as enjoyable as possible, chatting over a lot of these topics whilst taking a walk through Wimbledon common or over a coffee or two.

In each strategy meeting, we determine the list of things to be done over the next week. We set a goal for what we want to achieve and create a list of tasks in Trello for each of us to tackle.

Without this weekly focus, it’s easy to get distracted and lose sight of what needs to be done; it’s easy to think you’re making progress towards the distant goal even if you’re just treading water.

Daily Standups & Daily Goals

Taking the benefits of weekly meetings and setting weekly goals even further, we do a smaller version of process each day at 7am.

My partner and I both come from development backgrounds so are familiar with the concept of a daily checkin — often referred to as a standup — to discuss yesterday’s progress, the plan for the day and any blockers getting in the way.

Having an accountability partner (be they one you live with or just work closely with) is incredibly valuable for this kind of daily activity. I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to take on this project or many of the other things I turn my hand to without the support of a very strong relationship. I can’t imagine what it’s like for so many hustlers who are flying solo.

Our standup will be finished by 7:10am and we’ll head off to our day-jobs. Crazy? Perhaps.

Regardless of our collective madness, we’ve seen some very positive progress since we started working this way. It’s quite a similar approach to a lot of web development projects but in this case we’re applying it to tasks like social media scheduling, research, applying for funding applications, networking and writing content.

The only way to succeed is to keep moving in the right direction.

The only way you know you’re going in the right direction is to look at the landmarks and signs around you.

The more markers, signs or checkpoints you have, the easier it is to know that you’re on the right track.