You’re feeling great and motivated to accomplish your goals this week.
Well, do you even have any goals set to reach this week? Please don’t tell me you’re just leaving everything to chance.
A little planning goes a long way. Imagine the headaches and impending deadline stress you can avoid if you just look farther down the road.
But don’t feel like you’re alone; we’ve all been caught up in the moment and feel like we don’t seem to make any progress for weeks. I shared the news of my slow week with you a few articles ago.
My priorities were colliding, personal deadlines had been blown and I was keeping late hours to get everything done.
Let me tell ya, sleep deprivation robs you of your energy and creative flow. When I did sit down to churn out some work it wasn’t my best.
Now let’s take a look at planning to keep our progress in check.
The next several months here at JonAlford.com are already mapped out in terms of content and even specific post topics. Reviews, podcast interviews, monthly themes and more have been typed into place. I have an outline laid out for the rest of the year but I’m going to keep fall and winter flexible at this point because, well, life happens.
You’re thinking, “who cares, Jon?”
I mention it because this type of planning keeps me on track. It works for me. It helps me match my final output to the forecast and see how I did. It makes it so when I have time to knock out a project that takes a few hours, I know which project I should be tackling.
Having it on paper keeps me accountable. By planning ahead I free my mind (and time) to execute on the plan instead of brainstorming and having to rush through big projects.
Risks of planning
There are some risks when you’re a planner.
You could write down your plan for creating a new product to sell online or starting a joint-venture deal and find that none of it works out. Your partner backs out of the deal or your product wasn’t thoroughly researched and you wind up with a half-completed product.
You risk falling in love with your plan. It seems so crisp and makes sense. The way it all seemingly flows perfectly and delivers on your desired outcome makes you feel like a genius. But as I said, life happens. You can’t be too rigid.
The plan has to remain flexible because the world changes. The marketplace is fickle, and the things you think will turn out great could, two months from now, be torn down due to the unforeseen.
Planning may also limit you. If you premeditate everything and create contingency plans for your contingency plans, you:
- Can’t account for every variable
- Run the risk of being outdated, irrelevant, or miss out on connecting with current events
- May be overly conservative in the spirit of making your plan work on paper
Planning too far ahead, with too many specifics, cuts into your “oops” margin.
Make your plans anyway
If you set out aimlessly to start or grow your business this month you’ll be disappointed where you wind up. Hmm…well, maybe you won’t because you wouldn’t have anything to compare your progress.
But I’ve been there. I’ve tried winging it, in the past.
What’s always surprised me the most is how far you can go when you know, at least approximately, where you’re going. You benefit from reducing the “what’s the next step” doubts and questions when you take the time to map things out.
It’s tough to clearly see clearly what that next step is if you’re living in the moment. Cut through the fog by planning ahead.
Think about what you want to accomplish starting with this week. Take baby steps. Learn, first, to plan a week at a time and expand on that until you’re outlining progress several weeks and then several months out.
Measure yourself against your plans and stated goals; don’t measure yourself against anyone else.
Plan it now
Just starting out? Determine your “why” for starting a business in the first place.
Already a business owner? Then what does your community want? What are you currently not delivering that you could or should be? What offer can you start firming up with proper planning that your competitor isn’t? How can you improve upon your competitor’s solution?
Take the time to think these things through and write down what it’ll take to get it done. Then be bold enough to take action, of course. Follow this advice and by the end of the year you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you’ve accomplished.
Are you a “fly-by-the-seat” type or do you plan? I’m interested in having you share your thoughts and feelings about this in the comments.