Top 5 Strategies for Effective Planning

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Top 5 Strategies for Effective Planning

As we near the end of the year, now is the best time to start evaluating what has worked, what didn’t work, and, more importantly, where you want to go in 2019 – and beyond.

Whether you carve out 3 days, like I do to reflect on all of these items, or you block out time over the course of the week, it is an essential exercise to focus on identifying your goals and outcomes ahead of time.

To make the most of this planning time, here are the five key things you need to do to ensure that you have a solid plan, have the tasks outlined to achieve, and will be able to execute to generate measurable results.

Step #1: Figure out what you want. This is a very important first step. You cannot determine your goals for the year until you have pinpointed exactly what it is that you want. This will then help you plan your course of action to get you there and be an influential part of how you structure your life to achieve your goals.

Step #2: Create your goals and outcomes. With an idea of where you want to be at the end of the next year, now shift your focus on what that means in tangible terms. For example, you may want to expand your business. But, think about what that looks like to then create your goals. Perhaps that means you want to have one new location, or you want to have 100 new customers, or you want to have at least two new products. Whatever “that” looks like, define it in concrete terms, so you can stay on track.

Step #3: Consider all areas of life. Your business is likely only one small facet of who you are. I encourage you to reflect on all areas of your life, including your finances, relationships, health, spiritual, etc. Assess where you are in each of these areas and determine where you want to be for these as well. The key to effective planning is that your goals are always complementary to one another and are never in conflict. For example, if you want to run a marathon, as a health goal for the year, but you also want to expand your business, just be sure that these two can be achieved, without taking away from one another. If running a marathon will require an extensive amount of training and time in the gym, take this into account and determine how reasonable your other goals may be in light of this time commitment.

Step #4: Pick your top three goals. Now, I know I just said to come up with goals in all areas of your life, which is the best place to start. However, recognizing that your time is often limited, it is equally important to hone in on your top three goals and put your efforts into achieving these first. Think about where you want to be at the end of the year and choose those top goals that will get you there. If you achieve them ahead of time, then you can start to work on some of your other lower priority goals.

Step #5: Start with the end in mind. I always work backward from my larger goal to establish monthly milestones. This way I can focus on smaller tasks at a time, that are all designed to keep me moving forward. So, if you want to have 100 new customers by the end of the year, figure out a reasonable monthly goal that can get you there. This way you’re always able to track your progress and make adjustments, as needed, to reach your larger, long-term goal.

If you haven’t already scheduled your planning days, I strongly encourage you to do so this week. As the holidays quickly approach, you don’t want to forget to build in this time so you can start the new year off on the right (and focused) foot.

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