One of the most popular questions I get is: how do I plan?
How I plan my days, my weeks, my monthly goals. But the basis of all of it is how I plan an entire quarter at a time. So in today’s episode I am pulling back the curtain to share with you exactly what I do to ensure that I am staying on track with my big goals, using all the information I have to make strategic decisions, and create a flexible plan for the next 3 months. Ready?
- Episode 014 Create a Planning Routine That Supports Your Big Dreams
- DM me on Instagram
- Content Creation Template
- Quarterly Planning Workshop
- Listen in to hear the Different Steps of Quarterly Planning
- Step 1: Goals
- Step 2: Data
- Step 3: Plan & Pivot
Rather read before you listen? ⬇️
One of the most popular questions I get is how I plan. How I plan my days, my weeks, my monthly goals. But the basis of all of it is how I plan an entire quarter at a time. So in today’s episode I am pulling back the curtain to share with you exactly what I do to ensure that I am staying on track with my big goals, using all the information I have to make strategic decisions, and create a flexible plan for the next 3 months. Ready?
Okay, before we dive into all the amazingness I have planned for this episode, I have to ask: is keeping up with the content you are creating a total time-suck? I get it. That used to be me. Until I created a tool to allow me to plan out and organize all my content creation in one spot in a way that worked for my brain. If content creation and keeping all the posts, reels, podcast episode, videos, blogs, stories, lives— all of that straight is something that is taking up an incredible amount of your time and causing you to feel overwhelmed, I actually have an excellent free template that you can go grab right now. This is the exact content editorial template that I use to plan out & keep straight all the content that I create for my own business. Head on over to erinhaworth.com/freetemplate to grab it.
So, I have decided to begin pulling back the curtain and being totally transparent with different aspects of my business in what I am calling Behind The Scenes episodes of this podcast. While I’ve always shared openly about my own business and haven’t hidden anything, I know the value of intentionally taking a look at lessons as I am learning them so you learn them as well. And this is one of those episodes.
Are your weekly actions and daily habits getting you closer to your big personal and professional goals?
Even when the world isn’t as chaotic as it currently is, you can lose touch with the goals you set for yourself if you aren’t regularly checking in with them.
It is so easy and common to set goals at the New Year and then get to the end of the year & realize you didn’t achieve them.
But you aren’t going to fall into that trap.
By implementing regular reviewing and planning, you keep your goals top of mind and take regular action to make incremental progress towards your goals every day, week, month, and quarter.
So today, I’m talking all about quarterly planning. Not as grand and sexy as planning for a whole year and not as simply satisfying as monthly planning. So why quarterly planning? Well, I made the mistake of reading 12 Week Year and I have never looked back.
Big annual goals are so lofty & daunting and feel like you have ages to achieve them. By looking at everything on a quarterly basis, the impending deadline is not easily forgotten or dismissed until later. You have enough time to make some serious moves, and the pressure of the deadline (just 13 weeks) to hit some major milestones.
3 months at a time feels doable and even for those that are a bit planning-averse, you probably feel more confident about creating plans for 3 months rather than 6 or 12 months at a time. And that is half the battle. Feeling confident that you can achieve what you set out to do.
Planning is incredible powerful because it gives you an opportunity to intentionally make a lot of decisions all at once and then you have a road map for what to do and where you are going. It makes sure that you are headed in the right direction & staying on track. And the process I follow with all of my planning routines allows me to review what new information I have gathered, realign with the things that are truly important to me, plan how to tackle the next 3 months, and pivot as needed to make sure I’m staying on track.
If you are still not sold on the power of planning, I highly recommend checking out episode 014 Create a Planning Routine That Supports Your Big Dreams where I dive deeper into it.
But even if you are onboard with the idea of planning, doing a quarterly review & planning may seem a bit overwhelming and intimidating, so I am breaking down into 3 steps for you to start making it part of your regular routine.
The Different Steps of Quarterly Planning
STEP 1: GOALS
The first step allows us to keep those goals you set top of mind.
Take a look at the goals you wrote out for yourself.
Ask yourself, “What has changed? What hasn’t changed?”
Basically determine if each goal is still important to you and why.
If a goal is no longer important, write a new one for what is important.
If the way you originally wrote a goal no longer resonates, rewrite it.
Choose what goals you’ll focus on this quarter.
It is really hard to do all the things at once.
I suggest that you select no more than 3 goals to focus on for this next quarter.
I like to choose a revenue goal, a reach or impact goal, and a personal goal for each quarter, but you do you, boo.
STEP 2: DATA
The second step provides us with concrete data so we can make decisions based on that rather than just intuition and gut alone. At this point, you have 3 more months of strategies and actions you can measure and mine for useful data.
If you aren’t already gathering data on a regular basis. If you haven’t been tracking these metrics, you’ll need to spend some time to retroactively gather this data.
Then you are going to analyze and draw conclusions.
Data is only as good as the context by which you measure it. So be honest with yourself when you are looking at what the data means and is telling you.
Determine what strategies and tactics worked and what didn’t work.
This part can tricky to do on your own. It is one of the many things I do with my 1:1 clients.
How do you know if a strategy worked or didn’t work?
Answer this question: Did it get you closer to your goal?
The whole idea behind drawing conclusions is so you can optimize your time and efforts.
Doing more of that worked and less of what didn’t work.
STEP 3: PLAN & PIVOT
The final step is where most people want to start.
This is where we pull together all the information you have and make decisions about where you are going.
Break it down into bite-sized pieces.
Remember, focusing on an annual goal for one quarter can still be intimidating.
Now that you know where you stand on each annual goal, take each goal you are focusing on for this quarter and determine what mini-goal you need to meet over the next 3 months to make significant progress towards your big goal.
Then break it down even further by taking that mini-goal into monthly milestones to hit to get to that mini-goal.
Make your strategic plan.
Now that you know what strategies work and don’t, you can select what you’ll do for the next quarter to make it a success.
You’ll select the strategies and focus you’ll use to get you to those mini-goals and milestones as well as the metrics you are going to track to ensure you are making progress. And start putting them on your calendar or in your project management software.
If you are onboard with quarterly planning but would like a little more direction and my worksheets to do this, I want to invite you to join me for a Quarterly Planning Workshop for Q2. It’s taking place on Wednesday, March 30 at 10am CT. You can find out more at erinhaworth.com/workshop.
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: Go schedule 2-4 hours when you can do this quarterly planning. Put it on your calendar right now for the rest of the year. And again if you’d like a little bit of accountability & extra support to do this, I will be walking you through this live on a series of quarterly planning workshops. Head on over to erinhaworth.com/workshop to learn more.