647-224-5983 mary@marymstrachan.com

What’s that you say?

You’ve got lots to do in 2019 and you want to make a plan?  (I’m doing a little happy dance right now!)

You’ve probably heard that successful entrepreneurs plan their year out in advance.

Maybe deep down, you understand that having one will help you stay organized and on track as you move through your year.

You might even instinctively know that it’ll mean you’ll be less overwhelmed with day to day tasks.

And let’s not forget that you can’t get where you want to go without a plan.

But if planning out the year in advance is so important, how come more entrepreneurs don’t do it?

Or if they do make one, why does if fall apart so quickly? 

Here’s a list of 9 mistakes to avoid as you make your plans for next year and my tips to help you turn them around.

1.  Invest the time to take stock of the last 12 months and envision the year to come, and then stop there.  

It’s an inspiring and grounding process to reflect on and wrap up one year before you move onto what you’d like to create in the next.  

AND, it’s so important that you actually move out of this visioning stage and into the kind of planning that’s more on the practical side.  

If this is where you usually stop your planning, take it to the next level.  

Start to lay out the steps that you’ll take to bring your vision to life. 

And, remember to schedule time in your calendar to re-visit your vision every month.  

2.  Micro-plan right down to the very last detail.

Micro-planning your time is problematic for a few reasons:

  • there’s no room for unplanned opportunities (like the chance to speak at an event)
  • you feel extra stressed when life throws you a curve ball 
  • it’s the fastest way to overcommit and exhaust yourself
  • it sets you up for disappointment because you can’t follow through on everything

If you tend to micro-plan your year (and your time) aim to leave lots of “white space” in your plan and schedule.  It usually means doing less, but what you will do, you’ll enjoy

3.  Choose a planner/day timer/calendar that doesn’t provide the kind of structure you need to follow through.

If you were a carpenter, you’d never think about using a hammer to measure a piece of wood or a saw to cut it. 

The same goes for the type of calendar you use to help you plan and organize your time and projects.  It’s a tool and you need to choose the kind that will bring out the best version of you.

Here’s my rule of thumb when it comes to calendars:

 

  • use a monthly calendar for big picture planning only
  • use a weekly calendar (digital or paper) to keep track of appointments and to block off time for different types of tasks
  • try colour-coding on your digital calendar
  • chose a paper planner with the days listed in columns and times listed as rows

4.  Let overwhelm prevent you from planning a whole year in advance.

I hear you. I really, really do.  

It could be that your frame of reference for time is day by day or week by week. You just don’t think that far in advance.

Or maybe you’ve built your business by doing, and you’ve never really thought about getting in front of it all to plan what you’d like to do.

Or, it could be that you’ve been flying by the seat of your pants for awhile now, and you just don’t know any other way. 

In any case, when you’ve never done it, planning a whole year in advance can be intimidating. 

It’s tricky to know what to plan out, let alone where to begin!  

If you’re feeling at all curious (or stressed) about making your plan for the year, schedule a 2019 Planning Clarity Call with me.

5.  Make your plans in isolation.

There’s two ways that entrepreneurs plan in isolation that really stand out to me: 

  • planning their business year without considering their personal lives and commitments
  • planning out 90 days at a time, without making an overall plan for their year first

Now, I love a (realistic) 90 Day plan.  I teach a workshop on the topic.  I also teach to look at the whole year and your personal commitments first, so you can avoid all kinds of problems.  

6.  Try to accomplish 3-5 years-worth of work in one-year.

Need I say more, except holy ambition Batman! 

If you’re the ambitious sort and tend to unknowingly overestimate what you can accomplish in a year, try listing out all the projects you’d like to do and then prioritize them. 

Choose your top 3 and work on one at a time until each one is done.  

You can go always go back to the list and pick another one to work on!

I also recommend that you commit only to tasks, activities and projects that are in alignment with who you really are, so you don’t find yourself unhappy and scattered all over the place.

7.  Forget to set milestones throughout the year for each of your goals or projects. 

With no milestones to guide you, you’ll find yourself floating through the year. 

Floating is a drain on your energy as you spend a lot of time spinning your wheels, trying to get traction.  Time passes, and you’re left wondering why you haven’t made much progress.

Milestones are a great way to help you stay focused and on track as you work through your year. 

They tend to involve:

  • numbers (ie. add 100 new email subscribers per month)
  • dates (by this date, I’ll have finished this task or phase of a project.)  

Once you have your overall vision and your goals, take some time to set the corresponding milestones.

8.  Make a plan, put it in a drawer, and forget about it.

When I hear this, I have to wonder why. 

In my experience, if your plan ends up in a drawer, it’s probably because:

  • you didn’t connect with it in the first place
  • you’re not used to following a plan
  • you didn’t know that you have to set aside time in your schedule re-connect with it every month

Whatever the reason, making a plan and never looking at it again is a waste of your time and energy.  

9.  Abandon the idea altogether because you don’t know where to start.

I can totally see how not knowing where to start on a plan would discourage you from making one. 

However, I’m here to tell you that there isn’t a “right way” to get started.  

Having said that, I know that a “blank slate” approach can be intimidating.  

And just because there isn’t a right way, doesn’t mean you don’t need a boost to get started.

Would you like some help to get started?   Keep reading!

Plan Like a Pro: Let's Get Started

Getting started on your plan doesn’t have to be complicated.

Planning your year in advance can help you keep on track, be more organized and stay out of overwhelm.  

Creating a Big Picture Plan Blueprint for your business is the first step to accomplishing your 2019 goals.