Balancing Business and Family – It All Starts With Goals

Goal setting - why the old model no longer works

Balancing Business and FamilyToday I continue a series of posts that is designed to help you with the process of balancing business and family in a way that enables you to feel fulfilled and guilt free. To be clear we are still talking about the the process of identifying your goals and objectives so that you’re always taking action for the right reasons.

Yesterday we talked about trying to identify the big rocks in our life and how to make sure we put them in the jug first. This allows us to start to put in place a solid foundations on which to build our time management house. I also promised you that I would share with you a tool to help you really bottom out your time management goals.

How Do You Set Goals?

Have you ever considered how you set goals? I mean how you really set goals? You probably do them once a year and they are usually achievement orientated. You consider all the things that you want to achieve, as a small business owner you will have set goals about some or all of the following:

  • Turnover
  • Profit
  • Sales
  • Marketing

You may also consider that you would like a new car, a bigger house, the yacht on the drive. All these goals are achievable if you put your mind to it and are prepared to work hard. You can have them all, but at what cost?

Many successful people are great at achieving their goals, but often it comes at great cost to their families, friendships and other areas of their life, and that is why I believe that this model of goal setting doesn’t work. It only deals with one part of goal setting, the part that concentrates on setting achievement orientated goals, but these type of goals only account for a quarter of the goals we should be setting.

What about the things that you have in our life that you want to keep? As a small business owner you may want to have a successful business, but you also want to keep the loving relationship that you have with your family. Are they not worthy of having goals set around them?

If you are like most people you will have things in your life that you don’t want. Do you think it would be worth making goals to ensure we get rid of them? Perhaps in our drive to build our business we have run up significant amounts of debt; how about a goal to reduce it?

How about we set some goals to ensure that the things we don’t have in our life, and don’t want in our life, never enter our lives in the first place? Do you have a severe amount of stress in your life? No? Good. Do you want stress in your life? No? Good. So what goals do we need to set to ensure it stays that way?

When we start to set goals for ourselves we need to consider setting goals from a holistic perspective. You may think this is new age pink and fluffy stuff, but identifying holistic goals is the first step to ensuring that we can start to prioritize our activities in order to free up time to spend with our families.

What are holistic goals and why must you set them?

If you are serious about balancing business and family, it is imperative that you look at your life as a whole, and set holistic goals. Then and only then will you be in a position to start thinking about work/life balance. If you only set goals based around your business that is where your focus will always be drawn to.

In addition to your business goals, here are some other areas of life that you may wish to consider setting goals in:

  • Family relationships
  • Health and wealth
  • Personal development
  • Spirituality

The two questions of holistic goals

We have discussed what holistic goals are and why we need them; so how do we go about setting them?

Before we can write our goals down we need a way of identifying what we want and this can sometimes be a stumbling block, which is where a Goals Grid comes in.

Balancing Business and FamilyThe Goals Grid in it’s original format was introduced by Fred Nickols and is a useful tool for achieving goal clarity. It prompts us to think about our goals and objectives in an organized fashion and from four different perspectives. This kind of structured, organized thinking about the aims and effects of our decisions and actions, is particularly helpful when setting goals in multiple areas of our life as it becomes very apparent very quickly that, “Everything affects everything else.”

If our goals and objectives are multi-dimensional, our actions are doubly so. Intervention in one area will typically have a ‘ripple’ effect on another area. It is beneficial to consciously think through our objectives not just in terms of what we wish to achieve but also in terms of what we wish to preserve, what we wish to avoid and what we wish to eliminate.

In order to start setting holistic goals we need to keep in mind two very distinct questions, and to keep it simple there are only two possible answers to each question.

The two questions and two answers

  • Do you have it? Yes, or No
  • Do you want it? Yes, or No

The following combinations lead us to specific goal areas

  • Do you have it – No?
  • Do you want it – Yes?

This leads us to the identification of our Achievement Goals

  • Do you have it – Yes?
  • Do you want it – No?

This leads us to the identification of our Elimination Goals

  • Do you have it – Yes?
  • Do you want it – Yes?

This leads us to the identification of our Preservation Goals

  • Do you have it – No?
  • Do you want it – No?

This leads us to the identification of our Avoidance Goals

The Goals Grid is a simple, easy to use tool for developing goal clarity; it provides a structure for examining the multi-dimensional nature of our decisions and actions. The Grid also provides a structure for analysing patterns in goals and objectives and for detecting potential conflict with both our own goals and the goals of others.

But the real benefit of setting goals is that we can now start to prioritize the goals that are really important to us, whether those goals are long term (2 years +), medium term (6 months – 2 years) or short term (now – 6 months).

Any of the four types of goals can become our big rocks at any moment in time, but now we can see how concentrating on those big goals will impact on the other areas of our life and so help us when balancing business and family commitments.

The other blogs in this series are:

  1. The Answer to the question What is Time Management?
  2. How to Build Your Time Management House
  3. Big Rocks and Time Management

Would love to hear if you feel you could use the Goals Grid You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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6 thoughts on “Balancing Business and Family – It All Starts With Goals

  1. What an interesting idea Mike. I am not sure if I would use it just at this point in time sometimes though when I have reflected on a new idea I start to see a way to incorporate it.