While those around us are indulging in holiday-season nostalgia, we heart-centered entrepreneurs tend to look forward instead of back. And while I encourage all business owners to make the most of the current year before it ends, I also know that we’re neck-deep in prime planning time. The year is ending! SOON! And very few of us are so organized that we can sail through December without pausing to formulate a few key strategies for January and beyond.
But it can be overwhelming to contemplate those strategies without guidance and structure. So today I wanted to share a simple but effective checklist that can help you sort through your priorities and begin taking action on them!
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Create a vision
If action is the finish line, vision is the starting line. And you can’t have one without the other, so begin by letting your creative juices flow however they flow best. Whether you use an art journal, a vision board, or good old-fashioned pen and paper, creating a vision for your business is essential for crafting your plan.
@@ Before goals, before action, before anything else, you need a vision for your business. @@
Think about how you want your work to impact your own life, your community, and the world. Think about what you love doing, and how you can do more of it while still making a profit. Think about what you’re best at, and which aspects of your business naturally thrive. Think about who you want to help and why. Think about the standard of living you’d like to maintain or achieve. Think about the things you do that make you feel proud and accomplished and just plain good about your work. Do your best to incorporate as many of these things - plus anything else that rises to the surface as you ruminate - into your vision.
Have a plan
After the vision, comes the plan. You need to outline the steps you’ll take to bring your dreams into fruition, and refine any steps you’re currently taking that aren’t proving productive. You need to create something that makes many holistic entrepreneurs tremble in their shoes: A business plan. (Dun dun duunnnnnn!) I PROMISE that crafting a business plan doesn’t need to be traumatic or dull or overwhelming. It can be an enlightening, invigorating, even enjoyable process, if you let it! And if you just feel ill-equipped to tackle the task on your own, there are several free tools available around the web to guide you, including my own free resources and the Holistic Business Blueprint. Take your time, and imbue your work with the care and love it deserves. A business plan is an organic, living and breathing thing. You are free to change things as needed and your plan should allow you to be responsive—rather than reactive—in business.
Turn amorphous dreams into time-sensitive goals
The jump from plan to action can feel like a giant one. Tackling action a bit at a time by setting small-to-medium, concrete, time-sensitive goals will make the transition feel more seamless. But be aware: as humans, we often underestimate how much we can accomplish in a year and overestimate what we can accomplish in a day. Narrow down your focus to your annual achievables then begin dividing those into quarters, months, weeks, then, finally, days. (You’ll be amazed how manageable your business plan suddenly feels!)
@@ As humans, we often underestimate how much we can accomplish in a year and overestimate what we can accomplish in a day. @@
And remember that what you focus on expands, because focus is practical magic. What do you truly want to create in your business in the coming year? You can do anything you want, but you can’t do it all at once. Prioritize your business dreams, decide when you’ll do what, and carefully select your focus for the coming months.
Use time-chunking to tame your to-do list
Still feel like you’ve got more to do than time to do it? There are many, many secrets to crafting productive work-weeks, but time-chunking is one of my all-time favorites. If you tend to overload your to-do list and find the weeks flying by with little progress toward your long-term goals, consider using this strategy yourself.
Time-chunking is using the same timeslot each week for the same task. So blocking off 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. every Tuesday to write a blog post, allotting two hours every Friday to populate your Twitter feed, scheduling a weekly payroll review on Monday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. This only works if you actually block off the time in your calendar! Don’t just make a mental note, create a repeating event in Google Calendar or Outlook. With reminders. Seriously.
Time-chunking is a sure-fire way to master the essential business growth tasks that will propel you toward success in the coming year.
@@ Do you time-chunk? It's one of my favorite tools for creating a productive work week! Learn more here: http://bit.ly/2gRIwa0 @@
Turn vision into action through discipline, dedication, devotion and determination.
If you’re a yogi, you’ll recognize that those are the four D’s of Ashtanga yoga. What works on the mat works in business, too. The most admirable vision and carefully crafted business plan in the world will fall flat if you don’t adjust your mindset. Set tasks and stick to them. Constantly recommit to your goals and vision. Pause every day to remember why you do this world-changing work. And never, ever, EVER give up on yourself, your dreams, or your ability to help people live more fulfilling lives.