The Future Looks Bright

The Future Looks Bright

It’s time to get the sunglasses out because the future looks bright and life is about to go full speed. Or, has it already? If you’re like me, this year has kicked off with a bang and my schedule is as busy as ever. However, my schedule can easily get out of control and, ultimately, so does my never-ending to-do list.

When this happens, it’s more important than ever to focus. Focus on what’s important in your life, personally and professionally. And one way to do this is to set goals—both short and long term.

Short-term goals are probably the easiest. They’re usually items already on your to-do list. Perhaps it’s to go to the grocery store, buy a gift for a loved one, or perhaps it’s to register for your SMPS chapter’s next program. Whatever it is, my approach includes getting out my calendar and breaking the steps to achieve these goals into very small details. Then I set realistic milestone dates for these details and write these on my calendar as an all-day appointment.

The key is to be realistic about the dates to accomplish these smaller tasks. If you have a couple other meetings that day, don’t load up your list with too many items or items you know will take a long time to accomplish. As I move through my calendar, I can move items I didn’t get done onto the next day and so on. I typically prioritize my day based on what items have a deadline. The items with an earlier deadline get done first. And here’s a tip: If you have others working with you to achieve your goals, perhaps on a team, this same technique can work as you send calendar invites for the milestone details. These dates will then go into everyone’s calendar on the team to remind them of the task.

Now for long-term goals, this one usually takes more thought. Maybe you’re wanting to work toward a promotion in your firm, take on a volunteer role, or study for the CPSM exam. Break these long-term goals down into smaller milestones and then plug those milestones in your calendar. For instance, to study for the CPSM exam it’s easy to break the studying into the six different domains and set a timeline for each. Take time to think about what’s reasonable to accomplish these milestones and make steps to get the goals accomplished. Perhaps it’s something that takes a year or maybe two years. But the key is that you take baby steps to reach the outcome.

Now, if you’re like me, you’ll also need to add to your calendar a shopping reminder to buy a new pair of shades—not only to stay fashionable in 2020 but to shield our eyes from the Texas sun this August at Build Business in Austin. I hope to see you there and hear all about the goals you’ve accomplished by then!

Article written by Catherine McCullough, CPSM, who’s president/CEO/CMO of McCullough Landscape Architecture. Catherine sits on the Society’s board as at-large director and can be reached at

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