The most productive way to reach our goals is to develop a plan. A plan gives you a much better chance of accomplishing goals by helping us to stay on task. A system that I use when creating a plan is S.T.A.R. (Strategy, Tasks, Assign, Review). This planning system can actually be implemented in any part of your life. I use it a lot when I am working on researching my ancestors. The process can be used to planning various goals such as what you would like to learn about, planning your next exploration trip, researching a family history story, or decluttering your closet.
Here is how the S.T.A.R. works.
Strategy: Think about what you are wanting your end goal to look like. When a goal is written out it helps you to visualize what you want to accomplish.
I want to learn the names of my 2nd great grandfather, Geo Steinbrecher's parents.
Tasks: The best way to really understand how you can reach your goal is by breaking it down into multiple small actions. The small actions will give you clarity of what you need to do in order to stay on task to accomplish your goal. All of your action steps should start with an action verb, such as call, email, review, search, locate, investigate, or submit.
Call cousins from Steinbrecher's line to see if they know who Geo's parents are.
Review information I already have to make sure I don't have his parents' names.
Submit the order form to obtain naturalization papers for Geo.
Assign: Look at your calendar to see when you can work on each task. You can block out specific times or days to work on completing tasks. My favorite way to add tasks to my calendar is through theme days. To create theme days you organize your day around a theme, category, or type of work. Assign a theme to a day of the week. Here is what mine looks like.
Sundays & Mondays are normally my Free Time days.
Tuesday - Communication (Emails, letter writing, phone calls, filling out order forms, etc)
Wednesday - Creativity (Class development, blogs writing, vblog filming, etc)
Thursday - Research (Genealogy, client work, content planning, etc)
Friday - Errands (Anything that involves me leaving the apartment)
Saturday - Admin Day (Anything that doesn't fall into the other days)
Review: Once you have completed all the tasks for that goal it is time to review. Were you able to achieve the goal? If not it is back to start the process again. Is there something else to try that could help you reach the goal? Sometimes you might end up repeating the process a few times. I have some brick walls in my genealogy that I am constantly having to repeat the S.T.A.R process. I will be repeating the process until I get them figured out.
Whenever you accomplish a goal be sure to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments and successes. This can include sharing your accomplishment with family and friends or sharing it with your social media community.
S.T.A.R. is definitely worth trying if you do not have a planning system in place. It might not be for everyone, but for me, I have found that it is the best system for me.