While it’s great to have that type of drive and determination, what I learned several years ago was that never getting off the tread mill to look at the bigger picture and create a long (and short) term plan for my business would hinder my growth in the long run. Once I finally lifted my head long enough to realize that I was working much harder than I would be if I actually had a clear plan, setting aside and honoring time for planning in my business got easier.
Consequently, I’ve done quarterly and annual planning for my life and business for the past six years and it’s absolutely made a difference! The thing is, next year is almost here, and now is the time to really start thinking about making a plan for 2016.
Let me lay out a few tips and tricks that may make it easier (dare I say even fun) for you. This is what’s worked for me (and I have to give a shout out to my sweet, amazing, rock-star friend miss Krista Clive-Smith – formerly Krista Green – for teaching me most of what I know about planning. She’s got this process down).
Plan Time to Plan (and stick to it!)
First and foremost, you have to actually make time to sit down and go through a planning process. That means putting at least a half day on your scheduled dedicated to annual planning sometime before the end of the year, and then scheduling in at least a half day at the end of each quarter to solidify your plans for the next quarter. For several years, I went away for a weekend retreat with my mastermind group, dedicating an entire two days to this. For the past few years, I haven’t had this luxury and now I rely on planning sessions over the phone with a few strategic partners as well as a full day in December when I hole up somewhere quiet, unplug, and plan. Bottom line – put it on your calendar and honor that time, no matter what.
Choose a Theme For Your Year
This might seem sort of “woo woo” but it’s probably had the greatest impact on me. I get quiet, check in with my higher power, and “ask” for my theme. It always comes through loud and clear. In past years my themes have varied from “Relax and Receive the Blessings” to “This is MY year!” I can’t wait to see what my theme is this year, since I’ve had a lot of big changes in my life in the past year.
Choose Your Major Areas of Focus
I outline at least three to five major areas of focus for the coming year, making sure not to neglect anything in my life or business. This supports the harmony in your life and keeps your “eye on the prize” in all areas. Here are some examples of my themes from previous years:
- Direct Sales Training
- Home and Family (even more important to me since hubby John is battling terminal cancer, my youngest son Eli is a senior in high school this year, and my mom is 83 and needs me more than she used to)
- Self Care (not always easy to fit in based on everything else I have on my plate lately)
- Motivational/inspirational speaking (which I’d like to do more of as I process through the changes in my life over the past two years and how I can use them to support others through speaking)
Notice that there’s a balance between business and personal. Strive for that.
Identify The Projects In Each of Your Focus Areas
For those of you who, like me, are all about the action, this will be your favorite step. Decide on three to five projects in each of your areas of focus that will move you toward fulfillment in each area. These will truly become the vehicle for getting your goals. Be as specific as you can and take some time to really let this flow.
Make an Action Plan
Now break down your major projects into smaller chunks. Which project will you work on each quarter (maybe all of them, maybe not), and then decide what you’ll do in each area. That way, you’re working intentionally throughout the quarters of each year, the months of each quarter, and the weeks of each month. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll actually come up with when you take the time to sit down and plan your action areas and steps. Then make sure you’re doing short monthly planning at the beginning of each month and weekly planning every Sunday.
The more specific you can be with where you plan to spend your time, the better. I use a brilliant free tool called Workflowy for this. Can’t beat it.
Be Willing To Be Inspired
One last thing…make sure you stay open to inspiration. Even the best laid plans sometimes need to be ignored if you have an inspired idea or a circumstance presents itself that you just can’t let go by. So make a plan and then be flexible and open to take inspired action as well.
I’m interested in knowing how you feel about this planning process. Does it seem doable to you? Does it excite you and make you eager to actually plan and implement for 2016?
No matter what your plan is for 2016, I’m sure bookings are a big part of it. Need some help filling up your calendar? Grab your complimentary copy of my “Book Yourself Solid In The Next 30 Days” roadmap. It’s yours for free when you subscribe to my mailing list. Already a member of the list? My system won’t add you twice, so go ahead and grab the roadmap anyhow. Click here to grab your roadmap now!
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Julie Anne Jones is a direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific language and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.