We all know that as Fall approaches the focus is on back to school and back to business. Parents take their lists and stand in line to get supplies for their children so that they’ll have everything that they need.  Going a step beyond that, they also get their homes and children organized and ready for the school year.  As the back to school season dust settles, it becomes time for adults to shift the focus to productivity, which means finally letting go of summer, the family activities and looking towards the end of the year and the year to come.  If you’re going to accomplish anything, you’ve got to do the planning.

Before you begin to look at what you’d like to do next year, take inventory to see what you’ve accomplished this year and whether or not you’re where you planned to be at this point of the year.  Look at the list of things you wanted to accomplish during the course of this year and in these final months.  What’s left to do?  Do you have time to get those things done before year’s end?  If not, choose one that’s most important to you and get it done during the home stretch.  Move the other items to your January calendar.

Once you have your bearings for the remaining months of this year, you can begin to look forward and plan for next year.  It’s important to start thinking and planning your upcoming year before the holiday season begins.  If you don’t start planning before hand, then start after the hustle and bustle of the season.  It will make the process a lot easier for you.  You will have more clarity and be able to be realistic about what you can accomplish.  Create a list of the things you want to accomplish next year.  Don’t be vague; make your list specific and clear.  For example, if you want to increase your client base or sales, be clear and state how many new clients you want or the dollar amount or percentage of new sales.

Once you have your list, you can begin to set deadlines for yourself. With your calendar for next year in front of you, set a deadline for each item on your list and place it in your calendar.  Next, break each item into smaller pieces or tasks and place those in your calendar.  Consider each item like a meal before you.  Each smaller task is a bite of the meal.  Remember this analogy as while breaking things down into tasks that are realistic.  Continue the process until everything is in your calendar.  If you have a system for managing your time, then you already plan on a weekly and daily basis.  If not, now is a good time to start.  Each week that you plan, look at each task you created and assign a block of time to work on it. At the start of each day, look to see what’s on the agenda.

Now, realistically you won’t be able to do all of your planning in one session, because, after all, it is a lot.  To avoid overwhelm, schedule a few planning sessions so that you can get the job done.  If you have an assistant or another employee who is key in accomplishing your objectives, include them in the process.  It may take you what seems to be quite a bit of time, but it’s an investment of your time and time well spent.  Think about the time that you stand to waste if you don’t plan for the things that you want to accomplish.  You know what they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.


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