Have you looked at the calendar recently? As crazy as it sounds to say out loud, we’re almost through the first quarter of the year! So, how are you doing with the business goals you set?

You know what I mean. It seems like just yesterday you were declaring how this year would be your year to “blow it out.”

  • I’m going to write $XXX,XXX of new business.
  • I’m going to keep my pipeline filled with the right opportunities.
  • I’m going to learn value-based insurance design.
  • I’m going to write at least one blog a month.
  • I’m going to engage on LinkedIn every day.
  • I'm going to develop and leverage my centers of influence, finally.

Sound familiar? You know what else may sound familiar?

“Well, I know I’m not EXACTLY on track for those goals, but I’m still committed to getting them done, (hold on) as soon as I can MAKE the time.”

Reality check

Friends, I have bad news: time is finite. You can't make more time; you won't find more time. You have the same amount of time in your day as everyone else. Instead of trying to alter the time-space continuum, face another universal truth:

You do have the time you need to hit your goals; you’re just choosing to spend that time doing other things.

How meaningful are your goals?

Assuming you are serious about those goals, here’s an exercise to provide you some perspective.

Step one

When you've set aggressive goals but are falling short, you need to do one of two things: decide to keep doing what you’re doing or make a change. Both options start by making a list of how you’re currently spending your time. I'm not joking, for at least the next week, record your activities and the time you spend on each.

Next, compare this list of what you’re actually doing to the list of activities you would need to do to hit your goals. If everything on the list of actual/current activities is more important than the list of goal activities, then forget about your goals and stop beating yourself up.

It’s also possible that some of your current activities could, and should, be passed off to someone else on your team, freeing you up to focus on your goals.

Start or stop, what’s the difference? (Um, EVERYTHING.)

BUT, if there are items on your current activity list that are less important, identify which to replace with activities that will lead to accomplishing your goals. Because time is finite and because you are already crazy busy, the question to ask when setting aggressive new goals shouldn't be "What do I need to start doing?"

Instead, you should be asking yourself, "What am I doing that I need to stop/reduce to make room for new, more productive activities?"

Step two

Now that you have opened up time, here's the second half of the exercise. To ensure you fill your newly available time with more productive tasks, look at your list of goals, and identify the buckets of weekly activities that will lead to success. You have to commit to these activities being a priority.

As a producer, you likely need to be making progress each week in four areas. Start each week by asking yourself the following question in each priority area.

What will I do this week to move forward in terms of my:

  1. Prospecting?
  2. Clients?
  3. Centers of influence?
  4. Personal development?

Because it’s a week at a time, these aren’t going to be crazy big activities. It may be making enough calls to put a new opportunity in your pipeline. It could be writing a blog that speaks to your target clients. It may be finding the discipline to practice your sales presentation or study a new industry trend.

Kick ass - or get yours kicked

Now, the hardest part of all. Block out time on your calendar for each priority activity and execute with discipline when the time arrives. If you're really serious about blowing out your year, share your weekly commitments with an accountability partner and give them permission – and expectation actually – to kick you in the ass when they see you getting distracted.

You can’t make more time, but you can make priorities. If you don’t prioritize the right way, you’re only left to make excuses. Excuses suck!

Photo by vitalli42.