How to use “By when?” to hit your goals.


If you’ve been in business or in a role where you have to set goals, you’ve probably come across SMART goals. This will be focusing on the “T” part of the SMART goals= timebound!

“By when?” is probably the most important question in business and you should use it for every task you have. This will then keep you as efficient as possible as well as keeping your clients efficient.

When you start a business, you usually know where you want to go. Whether it’s to only work 3 days a week or to be able to have flexible working, you need to then ask by when?

Just have a conversation with yourself:

logo “I’d love to work less hours…”

Q: “By when?”

A: By October 2021

From then, you can work backwards to make them more specific e.g. how many hours do you want to work a week? And then work out how you make this happen?

You want financial security? By when?

New car? By when?

New house? By when?

You can also use this in client meetings and it’s great for managing their expectations. If you agree on a task that needs doing, that task needs completing by when? It’ll allow you to plan your time more effectively and everyone will be on the same page when it comes to timescales. You can then accurately track your service levels towards that client. You can use it as part of your credit control process:

logo “Thanks for that invoice, I’ll get it paid.”

Q: “By when?”

It works when you’re the client as well. When they are telling you something will be done, ask by when?

logo “We would look to install a new phone system.”

Q: “By when?”

Within SMART goals and planning, the most difficult part is putting in deadlines and sticking to it.

By making this question a habit, you’ll soon notice how much of a difference it makes to you and how efficient your business is.

After all, no-one likes over promising and under-delivering, do they? It’s key in business to manage expectation in all areas, even with yourself!

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