Set yourself up to win

How to set focus areas for next quarter

Deciding what to work on (set priority areas for next quarter) and why is the most important factor for your success in an upcoming quarter.

Paul Alvares

Founder, CEO of Friyay

Before we get into the nuts and bolts, let’s cover 4 key allowances we must make before we set priority areas for next quarter.

  1. Allocate sufficient time to quarterly planning & strategy execution


    Upfront: Allocate at least a few uninterrupted hours to get started. Each quarter, you’ll become more and more efficient and proficient at planning the next quarter.

    On going: Dedicate 15mins per day to check on & journal progress against your goals & initiatives

  2. Get into the right mindset

    Start your Quarterly planning with a strategic view, and prepare to get into the details. Start first thing in the morning – before getting heads down in the nitty-gritty, technical aspects of your role.

  3. Take it one step at a time, remember this process is fluid

    There are layers to planning quarterly, we start with high-level goals, then how we want to measure those goals, then how we want to achieve those goals.

    You may have the ability to set the tone across each layer, you may have key stakeholders – even customers – to liaise with or seek endorsement from. There might be one or two things which just need to happen regardless.

  4. Prepare to adapt

    Recent years have been living, breathing examples of expecting the unexpected.

    Internal and external factors will likely arise when they do – you may have to adjust some or all of your quarterly plan.

    Being prepared for this means coming in with the right mindset, but also, setting the right expectations for your stakeholders e.g. customers, people you report too and managing those expectations should things need to change.

Enough groundwork - let’s plan your quarter.

Take stock of what you were working on/towards in this past quarter

This is the easiest way to get started – for most businesses and products – there are certain goals that are important every quarter e.g. revenue growth, and customer satisfaction-related goals. Let’s first extend/re-plan these before we go blue-sky on new priority areas.

1. Create a new google sheet or excel doc

name your sheet “Quarterly planning” and make a heading “Q1 2023” for one of the columns. In this column, list the goals you worked towards last quarter. Your sheet may look like this:

Start with a list of goals from your current or previous quarter

2. Add a new column with the heading ‘status’

Which of these goals and milestones did you achieve fully, partially or make no progress on?

what is the status of last quarters goals

3. Add a new column with the heading ‘next step’

Decide here which goals to re-plan, which to leave alone and which to extend.

Re-plan your current or past quarter Goals

3. Add a new column with the heading goals for "Q2 2023"

Pick the top three goals from this list, write a quick sentence for ‘why’ these goals are important. The ‘why’ sentence should be short but well thought out. If you cannot pick the top 3, write a ‘why’ sentence for each – the most important one should become apparent.

The focus here is to get started and run the process end to end, that’s why we’re picking the top three, we’ll come back for the rest and new goals in a future step.

The best goals are ‘directionally’ important. Achieving them means we move in the right direction to continue the mission of this company or product.

Why are these top 3 goals important

Get collaborative

Goal planning is not be a solo endeavour.

Get your supervisor involved early in the process to ensure you’re aligned. Send them an email with a basic template like this:

Subject: Q4 2020 Goal Planning


Hi {NAME],

Wondering if you’d have 30mins this week or next to go through my draft goals for the coming quarter? I’ve reflected on where we’re at with this current quarter’s goals, looked at our annual goals and commitments in this next quarter and drafted my goals accordingly.

Thirty minutes this week or next to review this list and suggest any new goals or milestones I should have on my radar for next quarter would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much


Get your team involved it’s likely a whole host of folks around you are helping you deliver on your quarterly commitments.

If you haven’t been bringing them along on the journey (hint: you should) it’s worth scheduling time now. Catch your team up on

  • where we’re at currently with this quarters goals
  • where you think we’ll land at the end of the current quarter
  • what’s gone to plan, what’s not gone to plan (hint: this is not a blame game or inquisition)
  •  what’re the proposed goals for next quarter, why and how you think we’ll achieve those
Seeking feedback from your team may reveal context or opportunities you were unaware of. 

Time to articulate how & set up for success

If you followed the above steps, you’ve started to define your goals. Soon you’ll have conversations with your supervisor and team to clarify and make adjustments. 

Setting lofty goals is a good start, articulating how you’ll achieve those goals is going to drive (or not!) confidence in your strategy by your supervisor and team. 

How you’ll cover off your priority areas speaks to your planned execution. What’re the initiatives that’ll get you to where you need to be?

Executing on your priority areas is key to having a successful quarter. 

Six steps to set priority areas for next quarter

  1. Create your account
  2. Enter your goals
  3. Create & Link initiatives with the goal they make progress towards
  4. Track progress & status of each initiative regularly
  5. Drop initiatives not contributing towards your goal
  6. Double down on initiatives that do contribute towards your goal
  7. Regularly take your supervisor, team & peers through a top-to-tail of what we’re doing, why and how it is all going

At this point you know what you’re about to work on, why. It’s time to focus your attention on defining how. Let’s briefly talk about tooling. The tool you choose can either help or hinder your efforts. Choose wisely. is a lightweight framework that’ll underpin setting your priority areas, also to define and track progress and status of the goals and initiatives to make progress.

  • The product team needs to prioritize a large volume of feedback.
  • The customer success team needs to continue the feedback loop. Interacting with users creates a sense of collaboration.
  • Their users need a simple, effortless way to voice their feedback.

Benefits of using

  • Oversight of all your goals in one place
Get a single view of all your quarterly objectives, key results (or goals, milestones)
  • A single source of truth for all your Initiatives
initiatives-nested-by-goals-to-drive-alignment-transparency is a lightweight framework to connect your day to day activities with your goals.

If you use as intended, you’ll increase your clarity of thought & quality of execution.

This is because underpins key activities required to achieve goals. 

GEt started

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Sydney, AU



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