90 days. Three months. An annual quarter. It’s the sweet spot of goal-planning because it gives you just enough time to take some action + get results, but yet not so much time that you can afford to procrastinate.

What’s more is that – hey, you have SO! MANY! THINGS! you want to accomplish over the span of a year. It’s hard to focus on what you need to do to make all of those things happen, all at once. My favorite part of goal-setting in 90 day chunks is that it gives you the opportunity to laser-focus on plotting, planning + seeing through one or two very specific, fireworks-worthy end results.

So how do you get started? How do you decide which areas you’ll need to focus on + what actions you need to take to get there?
First, you need to start at the beginning + just like MLK, you will declare that you have a dream.

ACT AS IF :: CLAIRVOYANT EDITION

In 3 months from now, you want to be further along in your business than you are today. <- said Captain Obvious.
What isn’t so obvious, though, is what that looks like for you.

You may know you want to make progress, you may even have targets you want to hit like “make 1K” or “grow by 1K”, but you need to put pen to paper as to what that actually looks like.

ACTION ITEM :: Start with what today looks like + map out what your average week currently looks like. Got it? Good.
Now you’re going to schedule what you want your average week to look like… in 3 months from now.

What do your day-to-day operations look like? What kind of work do you spend your time doing? Where do your clients fit in + how many hours of the week do you want to have dedicated to client work? What about developing new products? Or working on collaborations?
Design what your perfect world looks like 3 months now – BOOM!
CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD TO HELP YOU GET SHIT DONE!

YO’SELF VERSUS YO’SELF

You can compare yourself against other people. Meh.
Or you can compare yo’self against yo’self. Yesssss!

So pick up the sheet you just filled out with your current week versus next quarter’s week :: what’s the difference here? What “disconnect” or what is missing here that you have to account for?

By placing your reality + your expectations side-by-side this way, you are in a position to easily identify what exactly you need to focus on to get to where you want to go.
Maybe you’re looking to score 2 new design client.
Perhaps you’re happy with how many clients you currently have but you’d like to switch up your packages + eliminate that one thing you hate doing from your offers.
Maybe you’re planning on diversifying + increasing your income streams.

Each of these expectations need to be acknowledged as being the priorities of your next quarter in order to make them happen over the next 90 days.

ACTION ITEM :: Make a list of the 3-5 things you want to see changes over the next 3 months.

FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS

Now that you know what your priorities are, you’ll need to reign in which areas of your business you need to focus on in order to make those happen.
Why bother? Because it becomes waaaaaay easier to establish an action plan for your next 90 days if have a frame of reference to work within.

As a freelancer, you’ll find yourself working within the following 4 major areas of focus ::
1) Your OFFERS;
2) Your MARKETING + PROMOTIONS;
3) Your GROWTH + BOTTOM LINE; and
4) Your BRANDING + ONLINE PRESENCE
The more focus you dedicate to one area, the more concentrated you can generally expect your results to be. The more areas you expand your focus to, the more divided your attention will be.
Regardless of how wide you decide to cast your net, these are the 4 key areas you’ll find your time, energy + focus dedicated to.
{Need more guidance about what these areas are about? Check out this blog post where I go in more detail about them.}

ACTION ITEM :: Based on the 3-5 things you decided you wanted to have happen over the next quarter, figure out where this means your focus will be directed to + assess how you’re willing to divide your attention to each area.

For instance, those two new design clients you were looking for? That means you’ll be spending some time PROMOTING yourself but you could potential be making changes to your OFFERS or perhaps amplifying your ONLINE PRESENCE.
Wanted to spend less time doing on specific task? Seems to me you’ll be spending some time + energy on re-BRANDING + re-packaging your OFFERS.
What about the boss who was looking to increase those income streams? Looks like you’ll be expanding your reach for GROWTH + YOUR BOTTOM LINE but how you do that… well, you could be creating a new OFFER, maybe you’ll increase the number of affiliates you’re MARKETING or perhaps you’ll be building up a whole new hustle that is separate from your existing thing.

Think of your 3-5 things as the destination + these 4 key areas as the mode of transportation you’ll use to get there.
It may not detail the exact path you’ll need to take but by knowing the method by which you’ll get there, it becomes much easier for you to figure your way out.

SCHEDULE IT

You know what you’re headed towards.
You see where you’re going + you know what direction will take you there.
So we’re done here, right? Wrong! Because this part right here? THIS is the most important part.

ACTION ITEM :: Brainstorm a list of all the things you COULD do that fall within your area of focus that would help you achieve your goal. Jot down everything that comes to mind, big or small.

Now is not the time to think about how realistic or likeable a specific approach is. Just list everything that comes to mind because creative thinking begets creative thinking + the best ideas often come from the most “out there” starting points.
Brainstorm. Write. And list til you can’t list, no mo’!
Done? Kay! Because this is a two-part task.

ACTION ITEM :: Review your list + highlight or circle the tasks you want to take on over the next 90 days. Once you’ve narrowed down the action items you want to take on, schedule them into your next quarter by giving them timelines + due dates.

Now, before you start filling your schedule with enough To Do items to make yourself cry yourself to sleep in 2 weeks from now, realize that not all action items are created equally.
Some tasks will be quick to do, some will take longer, others will actually have a learning curve or require the cooperation of others. Likewise, some tasks will pay-off better than others. Be sure to take the scope of the task in consideration before you commit to doing it in the next 90 days.

The point here is not to overwhelm yourself with things to do but rather, to create a checklist of things that will barrel you towards your desired end result.
The goal with this is to make sure you always have something you can be working on + towards, something you’ve accomplished + act in a way that is consistently aligned with where you want to see yourself in 90 days.
CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD TO HELP YOU GET SHIT DONE!

…OOH! SQUIRREL

Shiny Object Syndrome is a legit thing. All the planning in the world can’t save you from the distractions that will – I assure you! – will happen.
Plus, there’s that whole saying “no” thing. To stuff you actually reeeally wanna do.
New things come to light. Can’t-pass-up opportunities show up. Urgencies are brought to your attention that make you completely forget WTF you were doing before the proverbial shit hit the fan. So what’s a boss to do?

For starters, you can be proactive + set a date to check yourself (before you wreck yourself).
Personally? I have a standing appointment with myself – I call it my Taster’s Choice moment because I don’t get coffee til I do this (+ I ALWAYS get my coffee!). As a result, I spend about 5-10 minutes every morning going over what I did yesterday, what I will be doing today + how that impacts my larger picture for the entire week as well as my overall quarterly goals.
I answer the following questions ::

  • Yesterday, I ____
  • Here are 3 things I did yesterday to get me closer to my goals
  • Yesterday, I struggled with
  • Today, I will ____
  • I am looking forward to ____
  • The word that will guide my actions today is ____

This is my way of keeping myself on track + accountable and it definitely works for me… until it doesn’t. Sometimes, I need outside. (Yups. Even me!)
You’ll probably need help at some point, too. Whether it is figuring out what exactly your strategy should be or you need someone to keep you accountable or perhaps you just need someone to unclusterf*ck this whole biz shiz thing for you… I have a 1:1 for that + you can check out UNCLUSTERFUCKED by clicking here.

ACTION ITEM :: Foresee that you will veer off track (because you will!) + establish a plan to make yourself accountable to what you said you would do over the next quarter.

But the caveat is that you need to put a plan in to reach those goals first.
And next 90 days are going to pass you by whether you make one or not! Why not spend them getting shit done?

Author: Lanie

Lanie Lamarre is the headmistress at Miss #GSD, where feisty biz ladies like you come to flip their To Do lists into DONE! Overwhelmed much? Drop her a line — all you have to lose is your gigantor workload!