You may well be still stuck on planning. Is that a bad thing? Doesn’t it mean that you’re taking time out of your business to work on your business and really think about what you want and how you’re going to get there?
I knew I had to do something different this year with my planning. Not because I hadn’t achieved in the past, but because I wanted to achieve more. I wanted to be more focused with the time I spent on each area of my work, personal life, and family time, so that when I was doing the things I wanted to do, I wasn’t distracted by other things going on, (often in my head).
Planning tools & resources
I know some people love getting stuck into the “right” planner for them. I’ve also known some people chop and change planners, diaries, journals & wall charts, just so they could get it all to match up. Well, whilst that may work for them, that certainly doesn’t work for me.
I’m not saying that once I’ve decided on something I’ll stick to it, but I certainly want to spend time giving something a good try, before reviewing and moving on to try the next thing if I think I can do something better.
I’d seen the Best Self Journal a few times over the past few months, and liked the idea of working on 13 weeks at a time. To my little brain, it seems more manageable, and a more focused way of working. I’d never seen anyone use it in person, but I knew people who loved it & had increased their productivity by filling in all the boxes & planning their time more effectively.
Sarah Arrow’s guide to planners in December is a brilliant round up of different printed planners, pros and cons & that decided it for me. I was going to try the Best Self Journal.
Still stuck on planning?
Planning is an ongoing, ever changing ‘thing’ that we need to do in our lives. However much we plan, we often have to change plans. Sometimes to fit something else in that we want to do, or sometimes because we need to care for a sick child or parent at the last minute. Or that plan we’d made to do that training course has to be changed, because the course is cancelled.
However hard we try to control things in our plan, diary, and life, there are always things out of our control. The traffic was unusually bad due to an accident; or the person we were supposed to meet had to cancel and we have to reschedule. Or the resources we ordered to make that customer order haven’t turned up so we now have to do that task tomorrow as we promised to them for the weekend.
“Arrgghh” is often our response to a plan that’s not quite gone to plan!
However, if you look at planning as an ongoing process, and not something just for January, then you may find that you allow for reviewing your plans. You may find that instead of fixing things in now for August that have to stay like that, you have a post it note with the thing you want to do, and you can move it around as other work, or family stuff comes up that you also want to do.
Think about planning differently
Having some fixed things, like holidays, deadlines, and events on the planner which can’t move is a starting point. My family laughed at me with the big wall planner I created before Christmas. However, when we talked through what we all wanted to do this year, and we looked at the planner to see when we could do it, they understood that things have to work around school holidays, and for us this year, GCSE exams.
Then think about those goals you’re wanting to achieve & set the time in the year you’re wanting to achieve them by. That’ll help you get a framework in place for your year. Then plan the quarter, the month, then the week, with each part of this planning focusing on those longer term goals you’re wanting to achieve.
Think of it from a production point of view. If you want to create 200 Christmas cakes by the end of November, when do you need to get the ingredients? When do you need to make the mixture? When do you need to bake them by? Are you making them all in one go (do you have enough cake tins?), or are you making them over a few months & steeping them (filling them with alcohol)?
So, instead of working yourself up into a bit of a dither that you’re STILL planning, it’s fine. Understand that you’ll be planning throughout the year, and changing your plans, as you review your business, and the goals you’ve set, and what your customers want.
My lessons from using Best Self Journal so far:
- It takes longer than you think. Whatever it is, it takes longer
- A 30 minute walk will take longer than 30 minutes if you need to put shoes and waterproofs on & take them off when you come home
- Anything takes longer than expected if you do other things “on the way”. For example, hanging the washing out to dry on the way to pick up shoes to go out for a walk, will add extra time you hadn’t planned in. But it’s still a job that needed doing
- Having a clear goal for the next 13 weeks keeps you focused on that goal & everything you do, or are asked to do, has to help you to achieve that goal
- Batching time is really important (phone calls back to back, writing stuff in one session, shopping & meetings can be done whilst out in same area of town)
- Don’t try and do too much
- Write down your time out & exercise as you’ll forget it otherwise
And my biggest lesson from this week which has worked wonders for me – write a meal planner at the start of the week, and plan the shopping trips in around the meetings already scheduled. It’s been brilliant, even though I do say so myself!
Do you feel you’re still stuck in planning mode? Is it a problem for you or are you quite happy with the progress you’re making?
If you need some help with planning, why not book a call with Tracey-Jane to help you work things out?
Great post Tracey-Jane. I like your insights and especially….’Whatever it is, it takes longer’. Batching time is amazing. What do you recommend for goal setting?
Goal setting. Now that’s an interesting one. I recommend a mixture of things you want to do & dreams you’re reaching for. Again I recommend reviewing them every quarter & adjusting them with what you’ve learnt & / or the new or more specific dreams you’ve been having. Life (& business) is a living thing & we need to keep moving with it.