A couple of days ago, people all over the world rejoiced as 2018 came into full action. The mood was light, the environment was filled with euphoria and everyone was thrilled to have started the New Year. A new year signifies a lot of things to different people. To some, it’s a time for rejoicing and merriment. To others, a period of strategizing and planning. Regardless of what category we may fall into, one thing is that the 1st of January signifies something to all of us. Of all the many things that day may signify, entrepreneurs and businessmen, freelancers alike must understand that it is a time to set goals for the year and plan ahead.
Unlike companies which have staff that analyze and strategize for them, freelancers find it harder to plan because they have to do it by themselves. This post seeks to help ease this hardship by providing tips and insights that would be of help to every freelancer who reads it. Let’s start with the basics.
Why setting goals is important to you as a freelancer
Goals help us grow:
One of the easiest ways to grow as a freelancer is by setting goals and working towards achieving them. Having a set of defined goals as a freelancer allows you to have a clear idea of where you want to go and keeps you from digressing from this destination. Goals act as compasses and maps that we check from time to time.
Setting goals makes accountability easier:
As a freelancer, you are accountable to yourself for every step you take unlike most people in 9-5 jobs who have only the execution of their duties to be concerned about. The affairs of the company they work for are managed by a different set of people. However, in freelancing, carrying out projects and managing the business at the same time is usually a sole duty of the freelancer. This level of multitasking requires a lot of accountability. A freelancer with goals would find it much easier to track activities and measure progress.
Tips on how to set goals and maintain them
1. Write your goals on paper
The first step to setting a goal is ensuring that it is written down. Although a lot of people see no need to do this, they feel that it is okay to just envisage goals and register them in their minds. A lot of people are wrong. Writing your goals down would allow you to visualize, plan, and strategize better. A written goal serves as a physical reminder of what needs to be done. It also allows you to define what your goal is and put it in the best form. So, what are you waiting for? Bring out your pen and paper and start writing those ideas down.
2. Follow the SMART rule
The SMART rule is a popular acronym which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. A goal should be able to meet up with these five criteria. It should be specific in the sense that it must not be vague and ambiguous, it must be measurable in a way that progress can be traced, Achievable means that it must not be beyond your capacity, and it must be realistic meaning it must be based on real and possible things.
3. Set daily goals
Breaking long-term goals into small daily goals is another strategy that would make you achieve your goals easily. For example, if your goal is to “Design 30 posters,” this broad goal can be broken into “Design one poster every day.” This allows you to track your progress and celebrate your achievements which will serve as a motivation to do more. Having daily goals means that you have something new to do each day. It’s also a good solution to lethargy. “Enjoy the process winning small battles each day and don’t forget to reward yourself.”- Stefan Trajkovski
Now that I have given tips on how to set goals and achieve them, here are a couple of things you SHOULDN’T do.
1. Do not set goals and leave them: In simple terms, do not be lazy. Goals are set so that we can defeat them, not so that we can stare at them. So, get to work!
2. Thinking big without planning the small stuff: It’s good to have grand ideas but having ideas that can be executed is what is important. An idea has to be strong from bottom to the top. Apart from having a grand idea, the little details also need to be settled.
3. Creating a goal without a deadline: Having a goal that is not time bound is counter-productive. Your goals should be divided into long term and short-term ones. Set a time frame or target for when you intend to execute your plans and try to meet up with the deadlines.
Were these tips helpful? Share your insights and experience in the comments section.