Yesterday, I took the day off from all the daily activities of my business to plan. Rather than respond to my daily emails, Tweet, Facebook and carry on with the usual, I devoted the entire day to planning for the future. Doing this is a little painful, as you can tell from looking at my inbox this morning, but it’s such a necessity. So often, as business owners, we get so caught up in the day-to-day that we don’t have time to focus on the initiatives that will really propel us to the next level. I strongly encourage all people to take this time in their life – whether for business or personal development. If you make the time to do it, here are the things you need to do to make it a successful time.
Set the date for your planning day a few weeks in advance. Then, as you go about your work each day, start writing down all of your ideas and projects that you wish you had time to work on. Mentally get prepared to spend a day focused on these things. After making a long list of to-think items, I prioritized them and added them into my calendar as meetings – each for the time I assumed it would take. This allowed me to enter the day knowing exactly what I wanted to accomplish and making sure I had the time to do it well. Before you head into the day, gather all the materials you will need and make sure you have all the documents handy.
Get in Your Zone
Make sure you plan to work in an area that works for you. I prefer a really quiet library, preferably a private study room, where I can spread out all my “stuff” and get in the zone. I also start my day with a good meal and bring along drinks to keep me going throughout the day. I like to work between an early lunch and late dinner so I can just bang out all the work without being distracted by snack breaks or hunger pangs. Wear comfortable clothing and mentally prepare to dive into your work.
Stick to Your Schedule
Once you have your plan in place, stick to it. Don’t let yourself get distracted by the emails coming in. We all know how the internet can send you down the rabbit hole, lost for hours. Don’t let it happen. Be very strict about the time you’ve allotted yourself. If you planned to work on something for an hour, stop where you are after that hour and move on. You can always come back to these projects, but you need the focused time on each task.
Work with People Who Are On Board With Your Mission
Part way into the planning day, I had Ed join me. Ed has partnered with me on various Liz King Events activities and always has a great perspective on where things are going and where we can be in the next 5/10 years. Once I had accomplished a lot of the work, it was important for me to share it right away and to hear his feedback. Make sure you schedule this so that you can get the majority of your work done before this part – that way you don’t get distracted. But – make sure you end your day with this.
Make a List of Action Steps
Don’t leave the room until you have a list of action steps. I outlined the different major priorities for my brands and assigned each priority a major task. My goal over the next 1 week is to accomplish all of those big tasks that will get the projects moving. I’ll check in with myself in one week and make sure I have progressed. Once you leave the planning zone, the rest of life will come flooding back. You need to have very tangible action steps so you know exactly what you need to do in order to succeed.
These are the steps that I follow in my planning. What has worked for you? If you test out this plan, please let me know what you think!