There's a difference between being busy and being productive. Being busy means working a lot whereas being productive means accomplishing a lot. It's easy to get busy but it's a lot harder to achieve your objectives consistently.
In this post, I'll show you how to set "smart" objectives to get shit done like a serial achiever.
What exactly are objectives?
Objectives are specific, measurable results to be achieved by a certain date. Objectives shouldn't be confused with goals which are much broader, less defined results you want to achieve medium to long term.
How to properly set objectives
Setting objectives isn't difficult by any means but if you want to get shit done and grow your adventure business, you need to do it properly. To set your objectives properly, you need to make sure they exhibit the 5 following key characteristics.
Your objectives should be:
1. Specific :: Vague objectives are overwhelming so they get put off indefinitely. "Figure out how to optimize our website" is a lousy objective because what needs to be done is unclear . The more specific you can get, the more achievable the objective will seem to be. "Contact 3 SEO experts by May 16th to get quotes on website optimization services" for example, is far more specific and much more likely to get done.
2. Measurable :: You need to be able to measure your progress. If your objective is not measurable, how will you know when or if it's completed? If your objective is to "tweak the website", how will you know when the job is done? It could go on forever! When you measure your progress, you can stay on track and get the job done on time. To figure out if your objective is measurable, ask yourself; "How much? How many? How will I know when it's accomplished?"
3. Attainable :: I'm certainly not advocating that you should set overly modest objectives but they must be realistic. The intent is to get shit done. If you set objectives that you know you won't be able to reach, it'll only discourage you and defeat the purpose altogether. So make sure your objectives are ambitious yet attainable.
4. Relevant :: Don't waste time working on mindless minutiae. "Sort the 35 sea kayaks by colors by July 5th" may be a specific, measurable objective, but it's also pointless and doesn't get you any closer to reaching your goals. Set objectives that are relevant and that actually contribute to the goals you have set for your adventure business.
5. Time-bound :: Set yourself precise deadlines. Objectives with loose deadlines such as "To have the promotional video ready before winter" are weak and easy to put off. Assign a specific date by which you intend to have that objective crossed off your list. Keep in mind that the more time you allocate for a task, the longer it will take to get it done. Set extremely aggressive deadlines and you'll get stuff done like a serial achiever, simply out of necessity.
1. Finish updating the website's product page by October 9th 2012
2. Shoot all of the raw footage for the promotional video by March 28th 2012
3. Launch our summer Facebook ad campaign by June 19th 2012
4. Bring our Twitter follower count to 500 by June 27th 2012
5. Hire 2 additional lead guides by June 8th 2012
6. Replace the old passenger van by August 4th 2012
7. Send out the new brochure to our local partners by April 21st 2012
In the end though, if the only place your objectives "live" is in a fancy document you only review once a year, you simply aren't going to get anything done! You must continuously remind yourself what you're trying to achieve (it's easy to forget!). The best way to do this is to schedule all of your objectives in your calendar, just like you would schedule important appointments. Write them down in iCal, Microsoft Outlook, your daily planner, your to do lists, or whatever but they must keep pupping up in your face on a day to day basis. Just do it! You'll be amazed how far you'll have come in a year. You'll have become a serial achiever!
If you don't mind, I would like to ask a small favour. I'd like you to write down in the comments section the 3 most immediate objectives that you're currently trying to achieve because I want to know what's on your plate. If I know what you're working on and what your challenges are, I can create and provide resources that will be the most useful to you.
If you have been completing all of the assignments from the beginning, you're finally ready to put it all together and take your adventure business to the next level.
Adventure Business Development 101 Series