For the longest time I always said I was a lousy planner. I was pretty much the typical entrepreneur and I flew by the seat of my pants most of the time. Another favorite self-put down of mine was “I am successful in spite of myself.” (Well, there’s quite a bit of truth in that last one, actually.)
As I get more focused on my business and the direction that I want to take it, I’m finding that planning is an absolute necessity. Not only do I have multiple projects in the works at once, but I’m also doing an incredible amount of traveling related to my business over the next twelve months.
Without some kind of plan, I can feel myself getting overwhelmed to the point of inaction, which is what happens to me when I get overwhelmed. I can’t think, I can’t produce. I spin my wheels. Maybe you can relate?
One key component of reigning in the overwhelm for me is in learning to plan in 60-day chunks. My mentor tells me that we can generally only work pretty well in a roughly 60-day time frame. After that we begin to get burned out. I’m finding this to be true for me.
So even though I’m planning most things right now to cover a 60-day span of time, continually revising as necessary, I also have set up a full-year calendar that I have hanging on my wall that has key dates marked so that I can see at a glance what I’ve already got scheduled.
So many times in the past I’ve put myself into a hellish situation because I would have a great idea and would jump in and start implementing it without figuring out first whether it would fit into the plans I already had in the works. Too many times I put extreme pressure on myself simply because I had no real way — outside of my head — to track what I was doing.
Too often I let other people’s expectations and ideas take precedence over my own which only caused delays, frustrations, and resentments instead of working on what I had originally set out to do.
By no means am I perfect at this yet, but I’m working on it! Planning has taken on a whole new meaning for me and now, each day when I walk into my office, I’m not feeling that sense of overwhelm and dread that I felt so much before.
Remember, the planning you do is for your benefit. You’re not presenting your plan to anyone else; just you, to keep you focused and on track. So don’t make this process any harder than it really is.
The best way to start your plan? Take out a sheet of paper and a pen and write down what you want to have accomplished 60-days from now. It can take many forms. Some like to gauge by money earned, some like to gauge by client count, and it may be that you just need to have five new pages created for your website. Whatever it is, start with the end in mind and then work your way backwards to where you are today, and on your calendar, fill in each of the activities you’ll need to do each day to reach your goal.
It’ll feel like magic once you get the hang of it.