The Best Questions to Ask to Quickly Realign With Your TOP Priorities
If you’re anything like most of the leaders I work with, you’ve got a BIG vision and goals.
But how do you make sure you’re prioritizing those goals on a daily basis?
It’s easy to spend your days getting caught up in busywork, putting out fires, or simply being reactive to what everyone around you needs from you.
Remember: as a leader, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure you’re carrying out your company’s big vision.
By the end of this post, you’ll have specific strategies to help you break down and carry out your big goals, as well as questions to ask yourself so that you’re always on track.
Let’s get focused 👇🏾
Setting S.M.A.R.T Goals
While you may know your big goals for the year, or for the quarter, are they actually tangible?
A great way to determine this is using the acronym SMART for setting goals.
The best goals are:
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Attainable
- R: Relevant
- T: Time-based
In my opinion, having goals that are time-based is perhaps the MOST important of the SMART criteria.
Make sure you have a deadline for when you’ll achieve certain goals. Is this a goal for the end of the month? The end of the quarter? Six months from now?
By having time-bound goals, you’re easily able to check in on your progress to make sure you’re on track to meet your goal by your specified deadline.
This also allows you to take your BIG goal (say your quarterly goal) and create a breakdown of what you need to be doing each month, each week, and each day in order to get there.
Projects vs. Tasks
In the process of breaking down these bigger goals into smaller steps, one thing you want to be mindful of is the difference between projects versus tasks.
Say, for example, your big goal for the quarter is to increase your email subscriber list by 20%.
In order to make this happen, you’ve decided that you need to:
- Create a new company e-book as a lead magnet
- Develop a marketing plan to launch your ebook
- Create new evergreen assets to promote your ebook so you can continuously get new downloads
These are all PROJECTS.
If you’re categorizing one of these as a task and putting it in your project management system, you will quickly look at it and get overwhelmed.
This often happens to me. If I find I’m procrastinating or not making progress on a task, I review it and see if it’s too big - and actually more of a project.
But even once you’ve broken your project down into small, actionable steps, you will still have your days where your focus strays, where you get pulled away.
So let’s get into some key questions you can ask yourself to make sure you’re continuously coming back to your priorities 👇🏾
Questions To Ask Yourself to Quickly Realign
As a leader, it is SO important to remember the quote: what you focus on grows.
Your focus is DIRECTLY tied to your results.
This is why auditing where your time, mental energy, and overall focus are going in your business is so key.
Ask yourself these questions as a simple exercise to start feeling more in control of your workdays and to make sure you’re focusing on the things that matter most.
Questions to ask to better understand where you’re spending your time
Use these questions to check in with yourself on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and gain awareness of where you’re spending your time.
- What do I need to be doing less of?
- What do I need to be doing more of?
We all have those tasks we get sucked into, but most likely *aren’t* the best use of our time. On the flip side, we all have tasks that aren’t getting the attention they deserve but could actually be big needle-movers in our work or business.
- How would you like to be spending more of your time?
- What is missing from where you’re spending your time?
Allow yourself to brainstorm so you can think of possibilities you perhaps hadn’t considered before.
Taking perspectives of others into account
While self-awareness around our time is key, we’re often not the only ones with a stake in how we spend our time. Ask yourself the following questions to take the perspective of others into account.
Based on the answers to your questions above, ask yourself:
- Would my co-workers agree?
- Would my co-founder/partner agree?
These will help you make sure your team is on board with how you’re spending your time. But a lot of the time, our goals are not ONLY related to work. Perhaps we have personal goals we’re focusing on for the month.
Maybe we have a goal to spend more time with our kids or make a more concerted effort to see friends.
You can also ask yourself questions like:
- Would my friends agree?
- Would my family agree?
- Would my significant other agree?
These questions will help you make sure your time and focus is not devoted SOLELY to work, and that you’re not neglecting those personal goals you set out for yourself - which are equally important.
Questions to ask to re-prioritize
We want to make sure that we’re continuously coming back to our BIG goals and vision.
Ask yourself the following questions to reprioritize:
- What is most important to you right now?
This is a question I come back to again and again in my own work. I know there are certain things I need to do in the short-term that might get me results, things to focus on medium-term, and then long-term priorities.
- What is going to move the needle?
What is going to impact your bottom line? You can use this question to help you shift your focus to the one or two needle-moving activities in your business (or move the needle in your department or company you work for).
- If you could do anything, what would it be?
Again, this question helps open up our mind to the possibilities. So often, it can be easy to get caught up in tasks simply because they’re routine. But maybe there’s a task you’d LOVE to focus on, that gets you excited, that you’re simply neglecting.
Making Sure Need-Moving Tasks Get Done
Once you’ve determined your needle-moving tasks, you need to find strategies to ensure you’re ACTUALLY getting them done.
Here are a few that help my clients and I:
Setting ONE big intention for the day.
It’s easy to pack a million items on your to-do list, but that usually just leaves you feeling frustrated and unaccomplished at the end of the day. Ask yourself: if I got one thing done and one thing only today, what would it be? What would leave me feeling satisfied and proud? Focus on that.
Put it in the calendar.
If it doesn’t get scheduled, it often doesn’t get done. You’ll increase your likelihood of accomplishing tasks when you decide what time you’ll do them and how long they will take.
This is an unconventional strategy that works for me. While many gravitate towards digital software for planning, sometimes just having a sticky note beside me with my top priorities can help me realign with my goals whenever I find myself getting distracted.
At the end of the day, it’s figuring out the prioritization strategies that work for YOU!
Want to dive deeper into developing a unique blueprint for knowing what to focus on as a visionary leader?
Learn more about how to work with me 1-1 and get your focus back on track here.
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