It is no surprise, I love a good plan. But here we are a week into January, do you know what you are doing in your business this year? If you don’t know, don’t worry. You are not alone – and it’s not too late.
I spent the beginning of the week feeling like I should have a plan already and trying not to panic that I didn’t have a plan yet. December was FULL and I spent a lot of my time helping my clients and fellow Mama CEOs get their 2017 plans in place, so I was really feeling like the cobbler’s child without any shoes! So I took a deep breathe and went back to what I know works (In fact, it is the same steps I took you through during our Plan Like a Mother challenge back in December…but now it was my turn!)
Five steps and less than hour later, I had a working plan for Q1 and I’m ready for an awesome 2017.
So, if you are still feeling like you need a solid plan for this new year….I’ve got you covered, just follow these steps. Set aside an hour and get your plan done with these 5 simple steps. You’ll feel so much better when it’s done.
Ready to plan your awesome 2017?
1. Set your intention.
This isn’t a goal or a project or your target income. It’s more the feel you want for the year. I choose a word of the year to keep my focus on that intention.
Last year, my word was space—more physical space, more white space in my calendar, taking up more space in the world.
This year my word is expand. That’s the word, the intention, that will inspire – and act as a filter – this year. As I make decisions that affect my business and my home life, I’ll see if they move me more towards this idea to expand.
2. List 3 things that need to happen to meet your intention.
Think about three overarching things that need to happen for you to feel the way you want to feel in 2017. These aren’t to do items or even projects yet, but buckets that your projects and activities will fit into.
To fit my intention to expand, I need to:
- Refine my message and offers
- Create a larger platform
- Solidify my team and support.
What 3 things do you need to do to meet your intention? Write them down.
3. Break down into projects.
Sometimes we want so much to get to work that we skip the two big picture steps that we just did. While you check some things off your list that way, they may not be the right things or the things that can really move your business forward.
Once you have your big picture set, it’s time to start figuring out how to get it done. Next step is to break down each of your three overarching ideas into three projects or actions that you need to take.
So, to refine my message and offers, I’m going to:
- Work with a mentor
- Refine my sales funnels around offers
- Rejigger the timing and structure of my programs.
And to create a larger platform, I’m going to:
- Start a podcast
- Be a guest post on podcasts
- Revamp the Mama CEO Club
Once you finish this step, you should have three overarching ideas or activity buckets and nine projects or actions.
4. Break down each project to all of its parts.
Grab your Post-it notes and a pen. This is where we start to break it all down into actionable parts.
Think about the first project from step 4. Write down everything you need to do, think, learn, outsource, or obtain to complete that project. Put each idea on a separate Post-it.
This is also a good time to braindump all the less sexy things you need to do that might fall through the cracks: find a CPA, set up a better new client system, switch mail service providers … Whether or not they apply to your big goals, they’ll take up less brainspace and energy if you put them down on paper and schedule them in.
5. Map your project.
Last step – you’re about to have a plan!
Move your sticky notes around to order and organize steps. What needs to happen first? What happens next? Are there steps that can happen at the same time?
Then start to set project steps into quarters, months, and weeks. Remember you don’t have to do it all at once! Some goals may not get started until Q2 or Q3 or even Q4. That’s OK! Trying to do everything at once can lead straight to overwhelm.
Remember, even the best plan will pivot and flow, but taking the time to lay it out gives you the framework you need to adjust as necessary and still keep moving toward your goals, all while having the kind of year you want.
You did it! You planned your year — or at least Q1. I recommend revisiting your plan every 90 days, so keep this handy.
My favorite system for keeping my plan up to date is the Mama CEO Planner. It includes space for all of these steps (OK, all your Post-its from step 4 won’t fit in it, but the organized items from step 5 fit into quarterly, monthly, and weekly calendar pages.)
I’ve loved seeing the different ways people are personalizing their Mama CEO Planners. People bought them for their sisters and girl friends. Tarja Parssinen got one for herself:
This Christmas, I treated myself to the Mama CEO Planner by the brilliant Megan Frady Flatt. It is both traditional and revolutionary: a planner to lay on the table, highlighter and colored pens at the ready, but one that makes you think big, address the modern conundrums, makes room for – and helps you achieve – your business goals and loftier aspirations. I watched the first several tutorials and am inspired. For all my OCD friends, lovers of all things pen and paper, and organized dreamers, this is for you!
If nobody got you the planner you wanted for Christmas, you can still treat yourself. If you are ready to dream big and plan big, you want one.
In addition to how you want to feel, the goals you’re working on and your big steps to reaching them, the Mama CEO Planner has dedicated space for:
- Your monthly focus
- Your weekly get-it-done plan
- The metrics you’re tracking
- What big events are planned
- How much time you have to work each month
- And so much more.
I have just a few left. They’re packaged up and ready to go. Want yours? Get your Mama CEO Planner while they last.
Bonus step: Set personal goals and plan in down time.
Now that you have your business life mapped out, why not set some personal and family intentions as well? I know I’m good about getting things done for my business but not so good about doing things for myself.
Making space for family goals and intentions and for self-care and personal goals is essential to avoiding burn out and that feeling that you work all.the.time (even when you love what you do and sometimes choose to work).
You can create a system to help you stay on top of personal goals — whether it’s read 10 books or write a book or learn to knit or get in shape — by following the 5 steps we used for business.
Then make sure you put your personal action steps on your calendar along with some down time. My favorite way to do this is to create a weekly flow.