As 2019 began, I decided to set some goals for the new year. Everyone does this at the beginning of the year, but how many people actually follow through with hitting those goals? It’s usually not too many, including myself!
I then realized that in my work life, as a Project Manager, I am responsible for keeping budgets and hitting goals. But, why am I not doing that as effectively in my own personal life?
I decided to take some of the tools and strategies that I use for work and apply them to my personal life. This year is going to be the year that we accomplish our goals. Are you ready to join me?
Project Management Tools to Organize Your Life
First, start off by picking a good project management tool. There are so many tools out there, so try different ones to see what works for you and your household. Make sure it’s easy enough for other members of your household to use. You can use these systems by yourself, but it’s also great to get your significant other and kids on a system so that your whole household stays organized.
Here are some ways you can use these systems to manage your everyday life:
- Home Buying
- Vacation Planning
- Wedding Planning
- Birthdays or Other Events
- Shopping Lists or Chores
- Financial Planning and Budgeting
- Freelance Projects
- Extra Curricular Schedules
These are just a few ideas. This system can work for any goal you may have. Here are a few project management tools that work for my household.
Project Management Systems
I love Trello because it’s free and you can see your tasks displayed on a Kanban style board. You can create multiple lists within each Kanban board and color label each task. I love creating checklists within each task just so I can check the items off when they are complete. It is very satisfying, especially when the progress bar turns green after you complete all of the items (be sure to read to the end to find out why!).
This tool is also free and displays tasks as a list or on a Kanban board. I love that this system has a section for discussions, which is useful for hashing out topics with your other family members. You can store important files that your family members can access as needed. FreedCamp also stores passwords, which is definitely handy if you are always trying to remind your significant other what their password is to their computer, email or Netflix. My mom isn’t tech savvy and she loves using this tool. Yes, even my mom has to adhere to my systems in 2019.
This isn’t a Project Management tool that we use at work, but it is a cool management app that I implemented with my extended family. With this app, we have a wall to post updates, a gallery for pictures, a family calendar for events, contact book, and the ability to create shopping lists and to-dos. It is a great tool to keep your household or extended family connected and organized.
There are so many free and paid project management tools to choose from, like Basecamp, Asana, Jira, Avaza, etc. The key to accomplishing your goals is to pick a system that allows you to create milestone goals and tasks so that you can track your progress. Try them out and see what works best for you.
Set Your Milestone Goals & Tasks
Your milestone goal is a big goal you want to accomplish like buying a home, paying down debt, taking a vacation, building a savings account, or planning a wedding. Pick a few milestone goals that you want to tackle this year and enter these into your project management system of choice.
Once you have a milestone goal, you are going to want to break that milestone goal into smaller tasks. If your milestone is to plan a wedding, some smaller individual tasks could be:
- Pick a Venue
- Find a Destination for the Bachelor/Bachelorette Party
- Buy a Wedding Dress or Tuxedo
- Find a Caterer
Next, assign due dates to each task so that you can hold yourself accountable to complete that task on time.
Tip: Connect your project management system with your calendar app so that your due dates and tasks appear on your calendar. Check your tasks and calendar regularly so that you know what due dates are approaching.
Be sure to update your tasks with any notes on your progress and files that may be relevant to that task. Mark the task as complete when you have accomplished it.
As you get in the habit of checking off each task, you will notice that you are making progress towards your overall milestone goals! This is the most rewarding feeling.
The key to achieving our 2019 goals is to create a system where we can break our large goals into smaller achievable tasks. If the task is too large, it may take a while to accomplish and you will probably give up midway. Be sure to break your tasks into small short-term goals that you can achieve relatively quickly.
There is a certain high you get when you achieve something. According to this article at the Trello blog, Dopamine is released when we accomplish things or experience success. Checking things off a list releases small amounts of Dopamine. That pleasurable sensation helps to fuel us to want to check off more things. Pretty soon you will realize that you’ve accomplished the larger milestone goal!
I read a book years ago that had a huge impact on the way I accomplish my goals. It is called the The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. Here is an excerpt that has really stuck with me.
“The difference between success and failure is not dramatic. In fact, the difference between success and failure is so subtle, so mundane, that most people miss it. They may not realize they have a philosophy, but they do, and it goes like this: What I do right now doesn’t really matter. It’s not hard to see how people come to this understanding of life. I don’t blame them. It’s completely understandable. It’s just not the truth. The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters.
Successful people are those who understand that the little choices they make matter, and because of that they choose to do things that seem to make no difference at all in the act of doing them, and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in. Those little things that will make you successful in life, that will secure your health, your happiness, your fulfillment, your dreams, are simple, subtle, mundane things that nobody will see, nobody will applaud, nobody will even notice.
They are those things that, at the time you do them, often feel like they make absolutely no difference. Things that are ridiculously easy to do—but just as easy not to do. Things that don’t seem to bring you any visible results—at first. Things that seem so insignificant, they couldn’t possibly matter. But they do. Things that, when you look at them as single occurrences, don’t seem like they’d have any impact at all—yet when compounded over time they add up to outrageous success.”
Cheers to accomplishing your personal goals in 2019!