What are OKRs? It’s a tool companies use for tracking and boosting team and company productivity.
I came across Sophie Lee’s Personal OKRs on Github the other day. She shared her personal OKRs spreadsheet. I loved it, so I made one for myself.
Setting OKRs is very different than vague goals like “I will learn X”. It’s a lot more methodical:
- First, you define the overarching objectives.
- Then, you define the key results for the objectives.
It’s the measurableness of the key results that makes it useful.
OKRs crystalizes your focus for the coming months. You define your objectives you wanna achieve for the next few months, and take note of “key results” you want to see. The key to this is that the key results must be measurable. Also it’s advised that the numbers you want to reach should be outside of your comfort zone.
I’m learning German. I’m focusing on the speaking part at the moment, because that’s what I’d use the most.
So let’s create OKRs for this objective:
- Objective: Improve my German speaking skill.
- Key result 1: Speak only in German when going out.
- Key result 2: Write down 5 phrases each week.
- Key result 3: Listen to 1 German podcast each week.
It’s usable, but it could be better. The key result #1 needs some work.
It’s not measurable, and too broad. It’s not straightforward to quantify “speaking only in German when going out”. Either you spoke in German, or didn’t.
We can introduce a quantity, and make it more explicit:
“Speak to 10 people in German in a week."
Now that’s way easier to track. I can increment the number of people I spoke to at the end of the day.
I found that OKRs give you structure, and focus. You do need to think about what are your objectives are, and how you can measure them. Without good key results, it’s as good as the often forgotten new year’s resolutions.