Tips on planning for a New Year
I hope you’re all settling in to January by now and the post-Christmas lull is almost over. January is a great time to plan and prepare for the year ahead. If you are not ready to plan yet or it’s not for you, that’s cool. You do whatever you feel is best for you, i’m not here to tell you when and what you have to do. There isn’t a right way to do something, everything is different depending on the person. But if you’re looking for some tips on how I like to plan for a new year, then you’re in the right place. Take what serves you and leave the rest.
I’m trying to break time down into quarters and plan for every quarter. I used to try and plan everything for the whole year and whilst it’s useful to have a general overview of the most important goals for the year, your priorities will probably change throughout the year. That way if you plan each quarter, you give yourself flexibility to change your goals to reflect your change in priorities. It also means it’s not as overwhelming for you when you sit down to plan. It breaks it down into more manageable and easier to digest chunks.
I try to write down key events, dates first then I can plan projects around them depending on how much time I have and when deadlines would be. This is particularly handy for me when i’m trying to work out when designs need to be done by and especially with uni work now, it’s helpful to see when essays need to be due and what can be slotted in in my spare time. It also allows you to not overload yourself, which is something I can be guilty of when i’m too excited about lots of ideas. By visually seeing what time you have available to you, you can make better plans around them and not get carried away.
I always try to set “SMART” goals, which means (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound). I find that adding measurable attributes to my goals really helps me visualise what needs to be done. Measurable attributes mean specific numbers or ways in which you can determine whether the goal has been met. For example, one of my goals for this year is to hit 200 sales on Etsy by the end of 2019. By specifically selecting 200 as my target number, the goal is measurable. If I was to just say I want more sales by the end of 2019, it wouldn’t be measurable and I wouldn’t know if i’d explicitly met my target or not.
I like to create “done” lists as well as “to-do” lists. This stems back from writing out long to-do lists of everything I could think of doing and then not achieving all of them because life gets in the way and unplanned tasks crop up. This then would mean that I hadn’t achieved all of the goals i’d set at the beginning of the day and I would then feel like I hadn’t achieved anything. So I decided to write done lists at the end of the day of everything I had actually got done, including household chores or errands and it made me realise that I had had a productive day, just not the one I planned.
This really sums up my main tip and vibe about planning and that’s that you can’t plan everything. Life happens and all you can do is try to adapt and be flexible enough to try and do what you can. There’s no foolproof way of planning and what works for one person, might not work for you. All you can do is try, try and try again until you find what works for you.