Planning for a productive year

Hopefully, by now, you’ve given some thought to several things that you would like to achieve this year.  Are you planning to roll out a newsletter, become a regular blogger, learn about social media (– or maybe you just want to simply commit to exercising more).  If you haven’t given it any thought, then take a few minutes to look at your (probably pretty blank calendar) for 2014 and think about what you would like to be doing and achieve this year?

Got your goal(s) in mind?  Great!  Write it down where you will review regularly so that you can remind yourself on a consistent basis what you are working toward.  You don’t want to get distracted by the everday-ness of life and loose focus on the big picture.

Now it’s time for the “secret sauce second step” as the big disconnect for many is getting from goal setting to actually making it happen.

Break down your goal into manageable steps – Many times we don’t reach our goal or even get started on the goal because it seems too lofty, unattainable or overwhelming or we don’t know where to start.  Breaking your goal down into manageable bite-size steps will help you get started quicker and more than likely will help you create productive habits that support your goals.

For many, Step #1 is simply doing the research.  As you are figuring out your steps also think about what other resources might be involved in reaching your goal.  Can you do this by yourself?  Will you need the help of others?  Are there costs involved or set-up work that needs to happen?

Here’s an example:  Let’s say you want to get 200 followers on your social media sites or your email list, your basic steps might look like this:

  • Step #1 – Research using the Internet, attend social media class or webinar
  • Step #2 – Set-up social media account or email service
  • Step #3 – Create profile or templates
  • Step #4 – Follow or subscribe to others in your space, to figure out best practices
  • Step #5 – Introduce promotion/announcement to encourage followers
  • Step #6 – Figure out how and where you are going to source and save content and content ideas for posting and sharing
  • Step #7 – Create a regular schedule* for sourcing, posts and responding.
  • Step #8 – Review what is working best for you and adjust accordingly.

As you can see, breaking down what might seem to be an overwhelming prospect now becomes an actionable attainable process.  The key is to ensure you make time for the process.

Put it on the calendar – Now you have laid out the steps required to achieve your goal, it is very important to make the time for each of these steps.   Get that 2014 calendar back out and start scheduling realistic time for each of these steps.  Don’t just write it down on your calendar as a “to-do”.  You should literally create an actual time slot or appointment for each and every step.

For some, planning forward scheduling time for each step in a manageable sequential time frame is the best approach.  For others, it works better to set a deadline date by which you would like to have the goal achieved and work backwards to the present day building in each step.  Either way you should ensure that you have a clear picture of the time frame you are committing to achieving this goal.

Think of it this way, it is not just a calendar, but it’s your life.  “Fill it with the things that deserve to be there,” advises time management guru (and a client) Laura Vanderkam.  Having a plan will not only make you more productive, it will lead to more fulfilling life.  You will be amazed what you can achieve in a year!

Here are some resourceful articles and downloads about planning, scheduling and executing particularly for small businesses focused on their online marketing and social media.

* Want to Be More Productive? Build Your Editorial Calendar – Dorie Clark
* Don’t Let The Small Business Time Vampire Drain The Life From Your Social Media Presence – Social Collectives
* Your Daily Blogging Checklist – The SITS Girls
*Online Marketing Calendar & Checklist (Click to download) – NancySheed.com

Please leave a comment below sharing your big plans for this year.  Thanks!


You might also like:

2 comments

  1. april says:

    timely advice, nancy. i’m currently wading through my list of audacious dreams/goals for the year, trying to break each of them down into doable steps. since i’m at this stage (“seems too lofty, unattainable or overwhelming or we don’t know where to start”) with a few of them, your tips will definitely guide me in the right direction. thanks.

  2. april says:

    oh, i forgot to share my big plan . . . a global retreat for women who have gone through eating disorder recovery and are in the process of rediscovering their essence!

Comments are closed.