Personal OKR: A Bulletproof Way to Plan Your Year
This is a new year.
New year = new big plans.
Do you want to write a book? Learn to code? Launch that business you were always dreaming about?
No matter what you want to achieve, this post is for you if you have big plans for this year.
The thing is, we all have great plans, but somehow, execution slips away and we realize in the middle of the year that we haven’t made any progress towards our goal.
And man, that hurts.
But obviously, you’re here because you want to do better and luckily, this post will help you plan, take action and measure your progress towards your desired goals.
It all comes down to DOING things consistently that matter. In this post, we are going to do exactly that. Yes, I am going to do this as well, so that makes at least 2 of us going through an insane year to achieve what we want.
This year, I'm planning to build 10 producst, read more about my challenge here.
So, what’s this post all about?
- Define your purpose 🌟
- Define the how💡
- Create OKR for the various fields of your life 🔢
- Break them down to daily or weekly actions 🗓️
- Track the progress ✅
You can apply this method to every field of your life: work, family, health, leisure.
Let me show you how I planned my year, so you can do exactly the same.
1.Define your purpose by finding your why
I borrowed this method from Simon Sinek. In his book, Start with Why, he uncovers the key elements that make a company great. Great companies start with why.
But this method can be applied to your personal life. In fact, he also published a book (Find Your Why) that helps you discover your mission in life and figure out how you can live it.
How to find your why?
The method is pretty simple but it takes some time—probably days of thinking to figure this out. I recommend you dedicate at least a few hours for this.
Think about things in your past that had a big impact on you. By searching in childhood memories, you can find lots of buried passions. Find and write them down.
Craft your why statement
I like the way Dean Bokhari broke it down from Simon Sinek’s book. He wrote that your why statement should be:
- simple and clear
- focused on how you’ll contribute to others
- expressed in affirmative language that resonates with you
The book also provides a simple template to craft your why statement:
TO ____ SO THAT ____.
The first blank should be your contribution you make to others’ lives; the second one is the impact of your contribution.
Take your time and write it down. The good thing is that that you can modify it anytime.
Example: my why
“Create and build things for others so their lives will be better or funnier.”
I guess this goes back to my childhood. I loved building small buildings in our garden and playing with Legos (Legos are awesome). This “creating and building” thing was always present but I kinda forgot about it for 5-6 years, but I have uncovered it again in the past 2-3 years.
Once your why statement is defined, you need to go to the next step since you want to live your WHY, not just know it.
Most people drop here, so don’t be like them.
2. Define the how
Your HOWs are the collection of attitudes and behaviors that enable you to be your best to fulfill your why statement. These show how you will actually achieve your why. You can include every specific habit as well as general points of view.
Here is how I did it:
I identified my two main HOWs:
- Build and launch products
- Improve my personal brand
But still, they were too vague, missing the actions I needed to take. So let’s move on to the next part and break them down a little bit.
Define your whats
The WHAT is the tangible proof of what you produce and what people see. Based on my HOWs, here are my WHATs:
- HOW - Build and launch products, based on this my WHATs are:
- Learn to code
- Build products
- Ship them
- HOW - Improve my personal brand, based on this my WHATs are:
- Publish actionable content regularly
- Promote my content
As you can see, these are great objectives but they are missing one thing: KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure my progress.
Here comes the personal OKR part.
3. Create Personal OKRs
What is OKR?
It stands for objectives and key results. It’s a goal system used by Google and other big tech companies.
Objectives are memorable qualitative descriptions of what you want to achieve.
Key Results are a set of metrics that measure your progress towards the objective .
The exciting thing about OKR is that it targets bold, ambitious goals. If you reached your goal, then it was too easy. Your goal must be stretchy; it should be a goal that makes you rethink the way you work to reach peak performance.
Let’s set up your OKR!
Your why is your objective, and we already know the HOWs and WHATs.
As a reminder, here is my objective: “Create things I enjoy for other people so their lives will be better or funnier.”
Let’s add some metrics!
- Build and launch products:
- Learn to code -> Key result: spend min 4 hours/week learning to code
- Build and ship products -> Ship 10 products in 2019
- Make money from it -> 1000 USD/ month revenue (strong validation of doing what people need)
- Improve my personal brand
- Publish actionable content regularly on my blog -> Publish 2, in-depth posts every month (I also have a guideline I have to follow)
- Promote my content -> Fully execute my promotional checklist for every content I write (2/month)
We have the WHY defined, we know our HOWs and we know exactly WHAT we need to do with KPIs, so our progress is measured.
The next step is to get sh*t done. For real.
4. Break them down to daily or weekly actions
You need to take action—every day, every week.
Use Trello, your calendar or any kind of to-do or productivity app to transform these actions into daily or weekly activities.
Small things will add up and lead you to reach your desired goals (or at least to get you much closer and to make insane progress).
I like to use a to-do app called Todoist to set up different projects for different parts of my life such as work, exercise, health, leisure, travel, etc.
I especially like that I can set up recurring tasks so I don’t have to add them every single week or every day. It comes with a simple, clean design on mobile and desktop. The basic version is free, which is more than enough for my projects.
Here are the tasks I added to my “work” project in my to-do app:
- Build a product – monthly (I create a new project for every new product and set a timeline to finish everything within less than a month). It is really important to break down the project into smaller chunks to get things done every single day.
- Write blog post – bi-weekly
- Publish and promote my post – bi-weekly
5. Track your progress
Tracking is great since it shows you how you progress with your goals, keeping you on check and giving you regular feedback on your progress.
I created an Excel sheet to track my progress. I encourage you to do the same and dedicate 10 minutes every week to update it. You can copy mine here.
The metrics are going to be pretty disappointing at the beginning and probably the hardest part will be the 1000 USD/monthly revenue target.
Even if I won’t hit that goal, I’m sure I will ship many more products this year than I did in the previous years combined, and that’s what really matters! Make insane progress towards your stretchy goals!
Why not join me? Let’s do this together! Feel free to share your goals with me. I’m excited to see them!