September 25, 2022

Personal OKR Google Sheets Template (Updated Sep, 2022)

    What's an OKR?

    OKR stands for Objective and Key Results. It is a widely used goal-setting system. It is often used by companies and large teams to set measurable goals and consistently achieve them. Google has a success story with OKR. You can also have a personal OKR to set your personal objectives and key results to achieve goals like becoming healthier, richer, happier, etc.

    The book Measure What Matters is the bible of OKR. I highly recommend you to buy one and read frequently.

    This Google Sheets template enables you to track you quantitive key results nicely. Take a look at the beautiful dashboard.

    OKR Progress Tracker


    Overview of the Personal OKR Template

    Here is the link to the personal OKR Google Sheets template. 

    You can take a quick look.

    Personal OKR Template




    You can also perform weekly check-in.

    Personal OKR Template Check-in



    Design Principles Behind the Template


    I want to walk you through the design principles behind this personal OKR template.

    What makes an OKR succeed?


    The success of a personal OKR system depends on several key factors. This is a lesson I learned from my own day job, working on company OKRs.

    • Focus on priorities. Life has a lot of objectives. You can only pick a few of them. Trying to make everything work will end up with nothing working. The ideal quarterly plan should have about 2-3 objectives.
    • Find the sweet spots of stretching. Objectives need to be aggressive but realistic. They should be theoretically possible. 
    • Key results must be time-bounded, measurable and verifiable. It is often a technical issue, rather than a will power issue to hold yourself accountable. 
    • Frequent self-retro are important. You need to keep on track with constant self-reflection. Of course you can ask someone to watch over you.

    Let's use become healthier as a goal to explain this.

    It is easy to set goals like to eat more healthy food or do more exercise. Most people set goals like this after eating too much unhealthy food or getting bad news from physicians. However, those goals are very unreliable and unverifiable. 

    1. How much healthy food is more healthy food? Can we quantify it?
    2. What's the time interval? Eat 300 grams of green vegetables per day, per week or per month?
    3. How to keep your eating habit on track? Should you log it?

    Instead, using OKR, we can decompose the ambiguous, unmeasurable and flexible goal into three concrete key results.

    Objective: Become Healthier 
    Time interval: Q3, 2022
    Key Result 1: Run 5 miles a week on average.
    Key Result 2: Go to gym 30 times
    Key Result 3: Eat out less than 10 times
    Check-in frequency: Weekly.

    You can then use the template to trace the progress and hold yourself accountable.

    Hands-on Usage of the Template


    To use the template, you need to follow three steps. 

    First, write down your objectives


    Your objective must be non-measurable. An objective is supposed to be the opposite of a key result. In this template, the objectives are in light green color. The template has two pre-filled objectives: become healthier and build better relationships.

    I don't recommend more than 2 objectives.

    Second, determine your KR and identify the measurability


    Your KR should be quantified. It can be either positive like going to gym 10 times or negative like eat out less than 5 times. The key point is that you need to be able to track down the progress in a consistent manner. 

    In this template, the positive KRs are in light purple color and the negative KRs are in light red color.

    Third, perform check-in weekly


    A template, the best one, is not a magic wand that suddenly things work. You need to hold yourself accountable by consistently checking the progress. I used weekly checking to log the numerically measured KR progress. The cumulative measure and the dashboards will be updated automatically.

    It's is great if you can discuss your OKR openly with your family member like your husband or wife. Don't feel shy, it is great and people are more supportive than you think.

    Conclusion


    Using the OKR framework is probably the most useful skill I learned from my job. I immediately realize that it's not limited to companies but also individuals. I did my research, read books and examined existing personal OKR trackers online. This is the result I provided for you for free. 

    I myself am using the template and I know it is not perfect. Please let me know how you feel and your suggestions and critics in the comments.

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