Having been knocked off track somewhat by recent events at home, I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed and out of it for the last few weeks. You know that feeling...everything seems the size of an elephant and you can't see the wood for the trees?! Oh and worse still, everyone else around you seems to be flying and wildly productive!
And then yesterday morning I woke up bright and early after a really good night's sleep, and it came to me...one of those big god-like voices...telling me to just follow my planning process! At last, a bit of clarity...but why hadn't I thought of that before?!
There's something about the planning process that I love. Starting out with a completely fresh piece of paper (and for me this has to be a paper and pen job) and a set of coloured pens...or one of those pens you used to get at school sometimes with five different colours in the same pen!
The important thing is though, that it's a blank sheet of paper...no wood, no trees...just an empty canvas...and a clear mind.
Before I start to write, I ask myself the question that has transformed my life...or at least every plan or daily to do list I have written since hearing it (thank you Mike Harris). And here it is..."What are you trying to achieve...and why?"
It's a really powerful question.
"What are you trying to achieve...and why?" What is your big goal for the next three months...and why is that your big goal? How does it fit into your overall plan and goals for the year? How does it help to move you forward to where you want to be?
Understanding what you want out of the next three months...how you want things to look at the end of them...makes the rest of the process very straightforward.
I usually take some time with this question before I ever pick up a pen. Just sit and really think this through.
What I end up with is a maximum of three overall aims with an idea of the key things that are going to help me archive those aims.
Then taking a second piece of paper (yes I know we haven't touched the first yet!) I write down a list of everything...and I mean everything I believe I have to do in the next three months. Often it's a daunting list...you know what I mean!
But then, and here's the magic, I apply the filter of Mike's question to my list: "What am I trying to achieve...and why?" ...and I cross off everything that does not move me towards my 3 aims. Depending on your mindset, it's either a joyous or a terrifying process!
If you enjoy doing your own admin, working on your books, playing with your website...if you're a control freak...then you're really going to struggle. But do it anyway!
What's more important to you...having fun with your books...or having fun being a successful business owner?
If you have people to delegate to...use them. If you haven't...hire them through elance or Fiverr. Just get these things off your list!
Only then...finally, do we turn to our beautiful blank sheet of paper, and using mindmaps (or lists if you prefer) plot out the really important stuff that is going to help us achieve our aims. It's fun and it's inspiring, and it leaves you with a plan worth following, day after day for the next three months.
Than simply rinse and repeat! Such a simple but effective process...love it!
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Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)