By Amanda Kane
Here’s what I don’t understand: When it comes to business, I’m on my A-game. I know exactly how much money I have coming in, what needs to go out, when things are due, what I’m projecting, and—for the most part—I could probably tell you down to the number which invoices are outstanding.
But when it comes to getting things in order for my myself, personally, that’s where I can struggle. I don’t get it. The typical conundrum of being an entrepreneur: the shoemaker’s children have no shoes.
A few weeks ago, one of my best friends gave me a great idea. He suggested I start using some of the standard tools I use to organize my business to organize my life, starting with the “balanced scorecard.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar, a balanced scorecard is a document that aligns multiple goals and creates a snapshot of performance in several different areas. Everything is in one place, and with one quick glance, you know exactly how you’re doing, and where you need to improve.
Do you think you’d benefit from your own balanced scorecard? Here’s how you can create one:
Write a Mission Statement
In the corporate world, a balanced scorecard is created to support an organization’s mission statement and the same goes for you. Start by writing a short statement outlining an overall strategy for you, and the person you want to become. You don’t have to think about your five year plan per se, but think about who you want to be six months or a year from now. Write that down.
Determine Your Goals
Once you have the big picture with your mission statement, you can start thinking about all of the smaller, short-term goals you need to set. What do you have to do today to get to where you need to be in a year? What do you want to accomplish? Start a list, and start grouping similar goals in categories. This may seem redundant, but you’ll see that certain things contribute to other things. For example, all of the goals on my scorecard fall into one of these categories: financial, health and fitness, writing and career.
Set Measureable Objectives
The cool thing about a balanced scorecard is it forces you to have measurable goals. In order to track progress, you have to have something to track. Take a look at your goals, and turn them into measurable objectives. For example, you can’t just say you want to run a marathon. That alone isn’t going to cut it. You need to be more specific. Try “Run 10 miles a week,” or “improve mile pace to 10 minutes.” Instead of “lose weight,” try “lose 2 pounds a week.” “Save money” could be rewritten as “save $2,000 by October 1.” You get the idea.
Create The Chart
Now comes the fun part, creating the scorecard! I recommend using an Excel spreadsheet (because what problem can’t be solved with a good spreadsheet?), but feel free to use Word or another program if that’s what you’re comfortable with. Take all of your measurable objectives, and put them into rows. Then create columns to track progress along time. You can break this up by weeks, or months, depending on what you’re measuring. Now, you can get to work on becoming even more fabulous than you already are.
Evaluate yourself periodically based on the columns on your scorecard. Say you’re evaluating yourself every month—sit down, and go down the rows. Did you accomplish what you set out to? If the answer is yes, color the cell green. If you’re working on it, and you’re kind of close, color the cell yellow. If you’re coming up short, color the cell red. Now you can see exactly how you’re doing, and where you need to change your strategy.
Now, just repeat the process continuously, and not only will you always have a realistic picture of where you stand with your major life goals, but you’ll have a track record of how you’ve grown over time.
And that’s probably the best part.