Do you have big goals for your business?
How can you get you closer to the dreams you have for your life?
The need to pivot, erase plans and start new doesn’t mean there isn’t significant progress to be made toward your goals.
This episode is all about how to create a planning routine that not only works, but it works for you. A planning routine is a chance to recalibrate regularly to see your progress and where you are.
- Episode 7: Using Data to Make Better Business Decisions
- Goodnotes app
- Neuyear Wall Calendar* (this is an affiliate link)
- DM me on Instagram
- Learn how to create a planning routine
- Understand your goals
- Discover how to make strategic decisions
- Make a plan to move forward
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Did anybody expect a global pandemic and protests and murder hornets as what 2020 was going to look like whenever you started planning your year back in January 2020?
I did not. I will be perfectly honest. This is not how I saw 2020 going at all.
The same has happened with 2021 as well.
I had mapped out all my launches and plans for this year back in December 2020 and by January 4, 2021, I had erased the whole calendar and started again.
I have very big goals for myself for this year. I am such a goal driven results oriented person.
And it’s, it’s one of those things where yeah, the past couple of years knocked me on my butt. Let’s be real, right?
But the thing is 2020 wasn’t a wash and just because I had to pivot at the beginning of 2021, its not lost either.
There is still tons of time to make crazy progress on the goals that you have set for yourself or to exceed those goals altogether.
Regardless of how you’ve seen that the past year and a half have treated you, there is one major question I want to ask you: How can you get you closer to your dreams?
I want you to get to that dream life. I want you to get to that dream business. That’s what I do. I love working with female entrepreneurs, whether it is working with them one-on-one, in my signature course, or even just chatting with you like this, this is what I love.
But by just saying, that’s what you want to do, you’re not really setting yourself up for success, right?
You have to then take the actions necessary, implement the strategies necessary to get there. Yes, you have to decide: “I’m going to focus on my goals, despite all the stuff that’s been happening”, “I’m still going to prioritize my life, my goals, the business of my dreams.” But that is just the first step.
Next you have to figure out what does it look like? What does it look like once you’ve made the decision? What does it look like to move forward?
And that’s why, especially at the beginning of a month, beginning of a week, beginning of a quarter, the beginning of an entire second half of the year, I am such a big proponent of sitting down and planning what you want to focus on for the next week, the next month, the next quarter, the next six months, or for the next year.
This episode is about how to create a planning routine that works for you. It not only works, but it works for you.
Have you tried to use a planner or a digital calendar or an app to help you be more productive, but found that it wasn’t wasn’t for you? If that has happened to you, you likely decided that “this is just not how my brain works.” “I can’t get into this. I’m trying really hard, but this software, this program, this planner, just doesn’t work for me.
We think that if something doesn’t work for us, if one particular piece of that doesn’t work for us, then the whole thing doesn’t work for us.
So my first challenge to you is if you’ve previously tried planning stuff out and things didn’t turn out the way you wanted or planned, is to not give up on planning.
We have all of these systems that we’re trying to plug and play into to get more done and to get to where we want to go.
The secret is finding something that not only works, but that it works for you.
Business is an experiment, and you get to be the one who figures out what works for you. Harness your uniqueness, how you think, how you work, how you innately show up as a strength that you can work with to still plan how you’re going to get to your goals faster and easier.
So I want to tell you a story. I got engaged to my husband exactly one year after our first date, this was back in 2014.
We actually started dating on our first date on May 10th of 2013. We got engaged on May 10th of 2014.
And we had decided to get married on May 10th of 2015.
I had a whole year to plan this.
So I did all the things to DIY this wedding. Like it was my second job. No joke, absolutely no joke.
I planned everything down to the detail. It was beautiful in my head and in my wedding binder.
We were planning on getting married on a Sunday, but we wanted the venue on it the whole weekend, so we could leisurely decorate and enjoy our time there.
And we were told we could do that when we booked the venue 9 months ahead of our wedding.
About three weeks before the wedding, the venue tells us they have a Saturday wedding and we couldn’t start decorating until 7:00 PM the night before the wedding.
I very nearly lost my mind.
That wasn’t the only thing going on around that time though.
A few months before our wedding, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, and the day of the wedding, she left the hospital against doctor’s orders to come to our wedding.
And then had to immediately return to the hospital after the ceremony.
The officiant that my husband had secured just two months before the wedding backed out and we then had two weeks to find an officiant.
We were doing all of our own flowers. And so I had flowers delivered from Sam’s Club to my house where we then prepared all these flowers to go in all these centerpieces and then put them in the bed of a truck and tried to cover it and drove an hour and a half to the farm that we were getting married on. Flowers are flying out of the back of the truck.
But the day of my wedding, I had the absolute best time of my life.
We have gorgeous photos from it. All of our family was there and it still was my dream wedding.
Just because there were bumps in the road and hiccups doesn’t mean that it was completely tarnished.
Things didn’t all go according to plan but if I would’ve just gone into it with, “I’m going to have a wedding in a year and I’m not going to plan anything for it because who knows what the hell is going to happen.” What do you think would have ended up happening that day?
I would have been a hell of a lot more stressed out and I wouldn’t have been prepared whenever those things popped up.
So the whole point of that story is to show you that planning doesn’t have to be something that you have to follow to a T. It’s to give you a direction, pathway to move forward, so that you get to that dream day, that dream business, that dream life, and feel really good about it.
But not just any planning routine will do the trick. You might be tempted to start planning in January and then not touch it again until the next January. That won’t likely help you get where you wanna go. A planning routine is a chance to recalibrate regularly, to see what your progress is and where you’re at.
It’s also an opportunity for you to use more information. As we go along in life, we get new information that changes things. Sitting here today, we have information about the way the world is currently working, that we didn’t have 6 months ago.
So we can integrate that new information to make better, more strategic decisions and that is how you’re going to get there faster and easier.
You can’t be too rigid and too attached to the plan.
You can be attached to the idea and the dream, but the pathway that you’re going to get there, you can’t hold too tightly to it.
There are two parts to the planning routine that I’m gonna share with you: one that works and one that works for you
Here’s how you make a planning routine that works.
First, you start with your goals. What did you say you wanted to accomplish and by when? How is that going? That’s for you to decide.
Second step, look at your data. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know, I am a crazy person whenever it comes to metrics, KPIs (key performance indicators), and basically knowing what your numbers are. And if you have already snagged my free weekly success scorecard, you’ve already been tracking this stuff. So you can just go look at your data. If you’ve not started tracking your metrics yet, go back and retroactively pull numbers. If you want to start tracking on a weekly basis, check out Ep 007.
Once you have the data, you can start looking at the numbers themselves and draw conclusions from that.
So if you had really great sales in February, and then it tanked in March, what does that mean?
Well, it could mean that you stopped showing up or it could mean that something else happened in your life and business and it might be some combination of both.
The reason we draw conclusions is because that tells us what’s working, what isn’t working and how we can pivot to put more of our energy into things that are working and less of our energy into things that aren’t working for our business for us right now, where we are.
And the final step in the review phase is where you actually start to plan. This is where you to plan to pivot. You have to be willing to be flexible and to pivot, to follow the results that you want. You can’t stay doing the same thing over and over and over and over again. That’s the definition of insanity, right? If you’re not getting the results that you want, you got to take a good look at why and make a plan to do something differently.
So how do you pivot? Well, first you are gonna want to break your goals down into bite-sized pieces. So based on where you are, you’re looking at those goals, you’re looking at that data. Does it make sense? Do your current goals make sense for the rest of the year? If you had a revenue goal of $60,000 and you’re only at $10,000 for the year, unless you’ve got some really big launches coming up this fall, you may need to scale that back a little bit, so that you don’t feel like a total failure at the end of the year. If you don’t hit a number that doesn’t make any sense for you anymore, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. There’s no shame in that. You just want to make sure that you are not setting yourself up to fail.
And the other part about planning and pivoting is making sure that you’re making strategic decisions. Again, we’re going to go back to that when you get new information, integrate it so you can make better, more strategic decisions. This is your opportunity to do that.
That’s how you make a planning routine work, meaning you’re going to get the results that you want, or you’re going to get closer to those goals faster and easier.
The second piece of the puzzle is how to make it work for you, right?
So, here are my four tips on how to make a planning routine work for you.
You already know what three steps to take. Whenever you’re sitting down to actually plan, here are my four tips to make this work for you.
The first one is to choose a cadence that works for you. What do I mean by cadence?
I mean, how often you’re going to sit down and do this.
I’ll give you an example. This is what I do. You do not have to follow this. This is not a plug and play. This is what I do and it works really well for me because of the way that I work. If you need somewhere to start, this might be somewhere to start for you to start modifying this, to make it work for you.
So, I do weekly planning. I do monthly planning. I do quarterly planning. And then I do annual planning, of course.
On a weekly basis, I usually sit down for 30 minutes to an hour to plan out my week to review stuff from the previous week and to plan out my week based on what’s important and what are non-negotiables, what would be nice to have done all those things.
On a monthly basis, I sit down for an hour to two hours and plan out my next month, check in with the goals that I have for myself. I break my big goals down into mini goals and my mini goals down into milestones. And I have milestones per month that I like to hit. So I do that on a monthly basis.
On a quarterly basis, I’ll give myself half a day to sit down, look at everything that’s happened over the past three months. I actually use data from the past six months so 2 quarters at a time, but I do this every quarter. I sit down and plan out big picture where I’m going over the next three months, what launches I want to do? Content themes, all of those different pieces. I give myself at least half a day or four hours.
And then annually, if you’re going to sit down to do annual goals, usually I do this at the beginning of the year because I like when things match up like that, but you don’t have to wait until January to set big goals. You could sit down right now and say by a year from now, these are the goals that I have set for myself that I want to achieve.
But usually to set annual goals, it’s a little bit more of a process. And I give myself anywhere from two days to seven days to actually get those down on paper and get them broken down.
This is just an example that you can pull from.
If you want to sit down and recalibrate yourself with your goals every single day, there’s not a darn thing wrong with that. If you want to do every two weeks, there’s nothing wrong with that rather than every week.
Figure out a cadence that works for you and works for your schedule. Whenever I say “works for your schedule,” I don’t mean with the time you have leftover. I mean, intentionally put it in your schedule and prioritize this.
My second tip is to choose metrics that matter. Those are those KPIs. Those are those as data points. Those are your numbers.
I don’t want you to try to track everything. You will go insane and you will just stay stuck in numbers all the time.
It will not help you, you’ll get analysis paralysis and just your head will explode.
That’s not going to do anybody any good. The point is to pick out the numbers that are going to be indicators of how close you’re getting to your goals and how quickly you’re getting to your goals. I go much deeper into the numbers to track in Episode 007.
Tip number three, it has to be based on your vision and your goals. I have really big goals for myself, but chances are, you’ve got really big goals for yourself that are way different than mine.
I want to make a certain amount of money this year, and I bet it’s not this certain amount of money that you want to make this year.
Or I want to go run a half marathon in December. When you may be thinking, I have no desire to run a half marathon, but I want to sit down and write a book this year, which is also one of mine.
But so it has to be based on the big vision that you have for your life. The 10-year, the 20-year vision that you have for your life, and then reverse engineering that with your goals.
The fourth tip on how to make a planning routine work for you is choosing your tools. Notice I didn’t start here.
So a little earlier I was talking about digital programs or software or planners or whatever else it is that works for you. It’s about finding something that works for you rather than trying to fit yourself into a mold of a high-achieving entrepreneur or a successful entrepreneur. So when you start to choose your tools, you have to use a little bit of that intuition, that gut trust that you can teach yourself how to use anything.
But if you’re going to stick with it, it has to be something that doesn’t feel like a chore to do. It has to be easy for you. The process of it has to be easy.
So if you’re a visual person, then using a list-based project management system, like Asana may not work, but using Trello cards, which is where you can move the things from piece to piece that might work better for you.
Knowing how you operate, how your brain works will then inform you as to what sorts of tools you need to choose.
I use a combination of paper planners and a digital calendar. I use Powersheets to track goals and a Neuyear wall calendar to see the whole year at once.
I use my iPad and Apple Pencil with the Goodnotes app with a digital calendar template that I actually write down all the different things in. This is where I plan how I want my week to look.
And then I actually track what I’m doing on my digital Google calendar, because that will let me then see what I had planned and what I actually did.
You have immense power and leverage when you plan but that’s not the whole story.
You can’t just plan. You have to do these mini-experiments. Entrepreneurship is one giant experiment.
And within that one giant experiment, there’s a thousand tiny little experiments that you’re doing every day, every week, every quarter, every year. Okay. That is what entrepreneurship is. And if you can harness the possibility, the potential, the power in that you are going to get to your goals so much faster and easier.
You have to enjoy the process of getting there. It’s not just about the hustle.
Yes, you’re going to have to work hard, but it’s not just about the hustle.
You have to love what you’re doing in the moment. That is what’s going to make this work for you more than anything else.
It has to be something that you can draw joy from because we don’t usually push ourselves into uncomfortable situations and keep ourselves there for very long.
So, if you hate what you’re doing or you hate the hustle, but you have these big dreams and think “wherever I get there, I’m going to be really happy about it,” that’s not how it works.
In order to make it sustainable enough for you to get to that big dream, to get to that life that you have to reach those big goals, you have to be really, really happy running those mini experiments every day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year.
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode:
What will your planning routine look like starting today? Set a timer for ten minutes and answer the questions of goals, cadence, vision, numbers to track. Create a plan to plan.