OKRs For Personal or Life Goals: How Do They Work?

OKRs For Personal or Life Goals: How Do They Work?

by Sam Prince


Published on 04.07.2019

Can OKRs work for personal or life goals? The OKR examples we so often hear about come from the business world that it’s an easy thing to wonder. But yes, OKRs are great for setting goals outside of the office. In fact, they’ve been used to help people build stronger bonds with their family, prepare for a marathon, and much more.

In an interview on Recode Decode, John Doerr was asked about his personal OKR. He answered, “You know, my daughters have both left home, but I had read and I believe that having family dinners together was a good thing. So, I set an OKR, shared it with my team to be home for dinner by 6:00 p.m. 20 nights a month and be present, turning off the phone. I put a switch on the router. We shut down the internet to the whole house.”

“It’s not only the quantity but the quality,” he added.

So, how would this personal OKR be written out to express his goal?

O: Have more quality family time as measured by:

KR1: Getting home for dinner by 6 p.m, 20 nights a month

KR2: Being present by turning off the internet router to eliminate distractions

And while it is a “personal” OKR, John was transparent from the get-go: he shared his goal with his team and family.

A similar set-up can be used for your personal fitness goals. Say it’s been a long winter and you haven’t gone on a run since early late September. On your first run of the year, you’re at a 9-minute mile when you used to be an 8-minute mile. There’s a 10k coming up early in June and you want to run it under 50 minutes. How could you use OKRs to train?

O: Train to run a 10K in under 50 minutes by June

KR1: Go for a run 3x/week for at least 30 minutes

KR2: Increase distance of run by 1 mile every week

KR3: Increase mile speed by 5 seconds every week

On top of it all, make sure to tell people about your plans to get back to an 8-minute mile and the 10k you will run at that speed.

Those are just a couple of WhatMatters.com team examples on how personal goals can be used for personal life goals.

Small reminder. These OKRs have to be just as specific and just as focused as any metrics you would use to craft your OKRs at work. Personal OKRs aren’t a “bucket list”, they are a means to think through how you will accomplish unambiguous life goals.

In a Medium post about personal OKRs, Christina Wodtke wrote how she used them to model herself as a professional author.

What sort of things in your personal life do you want to accomplish? How will you get there and who will you tell? As you plan, check out all FAQs, Resources, and Stories available right here on WhatMatters.com.


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