Productivity + Goal Setting For the New Year
Can I be real for a second? I’m learning to balance planning and execution. It’s a balancing act to know how much to plan and how much to “go with the flow” and just get it done. I’m nowhere near being a perfectionist, but I want things to go well as if I planned them well in advance even if I didn’t. This goes back to being in college and doing an assignment at the last minute just because I knew I could do just well enough even if I should have spent more time on it. This year I’ve been trying to break that “last minute but, it’s ok” habit.
This year has gone by quickly, the summer is basically over and now it’s time to prefer for the 4th quarter of the year and which also means 1st quarter 2017 will be here in no time. There's no need to panic and rush through planning next year but now is the perfect time to reassess how things have gone this year and how to crush your goals in the next.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t make an extensive goal list for 2016. I had things that I wanted to accomplish but didn't make a solid plan. I wasn’t thinking too far ahead with TBH and I certainly didn’t think that I would become super motivated to push forward with my brands and help others with theirs. Now that I know that my brands are here to stay, I have to plan that way otherwise I’ll be floating in the wind and getting left by brands who wrote their visions ahead of time.
It is an extra step of a successful blog to plan as far ahead as possible. A blueprint for 2017 is a good start and then once time goes along, to start mapping out 2018 and 2019. Many bloggers think that just having blog posts planned is enough and that’s a scary way to think. That’s like a new mother thinking that just milk is enough for her baby and not any of the other things like diapers, clothes or a crib.
I started TBH almost exactly 4 months ago (now over a year: April 2016!). In that short amount of time, things have changed drastically. The things I have planned for 2017 are big and to be quite honest, scary. I’m holding onto faith that I can actually accomplish the things I want to during the next year.
Here’s how I got started with the process:
I’m a very visual person so I started the process by pulling out a poster-size sheet of paper and drawing a web of all of the moving pieces of the blog. This method worked extremely well for me to see everything out on one paper instead of in sheets in my notebook. I wrote “TBH” in the middle of the sheet and drew 5 categories coming from the middle:
4. Social Media
I can’t explain each section in too much detail (I said I had big things coming!) but I’ll explain what I put in each one and how I turned them into goals. It may help to write notes about each section you may have prior to putting info on the poster board.
i. Any products I plan to offer that naturally flow back and forth with the free products
i. Any products that will be offered as email opt-ins. Here I didn’t include every single freebie, just the ones I know for sure will lead to premium products. I named four that I will change out throughout the year, one for each quarter.
a. Any newsletter I plan to add as well as how I will (or will not) integrate them into sales funnels or distinct sequences
3. Blog Posts
a. General info about the blog including how many posts I usually create and how many I will create next year. I originally planned to create around 3-4 posts a week next year for 3 weeks out of each month but realized I should stick to 2-3 a week for now and maybe increase later. I also left planned gaps at the end of each quarter just in case I needed to update the blog, recycle posts or just need a break.
4. Social Media
a. Each social media channel and a brief overview of how they will coincide with the blog. I have a separate social media strategy, so I didn’t spend too much time here.
a. Any other big upcoming projects or entities of the blog
I spent the most time in the Products/Services section because ultimately they will be the big picture.
A lot of the content I will create will flow back and forth between those offerings. The other sections, I just jotted down information and ideas that had been swirling around my head and made them real
On the other side of the poster, I wrote big goals for the year and then divided the rest of the paper into four sections- one for each quarter along with quarter goals relating to the products, newsletters, social media and blog posts. This is where I listed I would like to have X amount of subscribers by December 31, 2017 or X amount of Instagram followers. Then, for those quarter goals, I made smaller goals that coincided with the bigger ones. For example, if I planned a year-long goal of having 500 email subscribers then by the end of quarter 2 (half of the year), I wrote the goal of having at least 250 and so forth.
My next step is to divide the sheet into months and then give each month a theme and 1-2 major goals that I know I can accomplish within the four weeks. Then as time goes along, I’ll focus on that theme and those small goals each week to reach quarter goals and eventually the year-long goals. I’ll continue that pattern as I shift accordingly between each month and then each quarter. I haven’t planned every single detail for 2017, but I planned enough so that the next time I have a brainstorming session, I can fill in more information and be set by the time 2017 comes and keep adding to the poster as time goes along.
I also went ahead and created a vision board that is heavily career and life focused that includes pictures of my favorites, Oprah, Michelle Obama, Vanessa De Luca of Essence Magazine and the late Daisy Lewellyn of Blood Sweat and Heels. All of those women represent accomplishment in my eyes.
How do you plan to conqueror 2017 and the years following? Have you started planning?