My 4 Step Plan for a Successful 12 MonthsDec 11, 2023
Your overwhelming response to last week’s email about my ADHD diagnosis really blew my mind. I love that I am connected with so many kindred spirits.
We may not all be on the exact same journey, but it reminded me how much common ground we all have.
It was only since I was diagnosed that I realised exactly how many systems I had surrounded myself with already to harness my free-spirited (and procrastination prone) brain into a high achieving pattern.
Today, I want share a way to tap into our genius badass selves, by taking a dive into the operational project planning method I use.
If you’ve ever experienced times where you feel like you’ve been working your butt off but you’ve not gotten any closer to those important goals – then this is definitely for you. This planner, makes sure that every month I do at least one important thing that builds my success.
I call it my Operational Project Plan.
In a nutshell, it is my guide for the year. It tells me what I need to do and when in order to succeed in any given year.
Here is the 4-step process (see visual above!):
Before you start this process, do it on a day where you are feeling 'on'. Focused, motivated, looking towards the future and clear headed. Don't do it tired, jaded or in a bad mood.
Step 1: Success
Imagine being in December of next year. You've finally achieved everything you wanted to get done in a year and you're celebrating.
I want you to write down every single detail of what has changed in that moment, from the one you're in now.
What problems have you solved? What milestones have you hit?
Take as long as you need here to get a really detailed picture of what has actually changed. This isn't feelings stuff. This is what has actually been done in your organisation.
Step 2: Boxes
Now you have your big list of what you've DONE, I want you to sort these into boxes. I normally have between 3-5 each year. Make them big high-level chunky boxes.
Group together all the things in your success vision and give them high level labels. Personally, I find it easy to see the patterns but consider boxes like Team, Brand, Marketing, Sales, Revenue, Systems, Measurements, Products/Services, Fundraising.
Step 3: Projects
Pick up your boxes one at a time. Sort through what is in there. What projects do you need to create and complete in the next year to get this success outcome?
For example, one box might be sales and marketing. I will turn this into a statement, something like "Create and implement scaleable revenue and marketing systems including clear funnels, content and a digital marketing roadmap".
Pick this apart. What projects or steps do you need to do get this done?
It might be something like:
- Create a one page document describing each product or service more clearly
- Invest in marketing software that allows us to build funnels and track our numbers better.
- Do an audit of last year's marketing to see what worked and what didn't.
- Create a lead generation plan to grow our email database from 500 to 2,500.
- Set a monthly marketing budget.
- Write a digital marketing strategy.
This can take a bit of time. I usually work on my plan on and off for at least a week.
Keep going until you're confident that if you completed every one of these projects, next December you're going to be darn proud and exactly where you wanted to be.
STEP 4: Deadlines
This is THE most important part for anyone who procrastinates, gets distracted or is always heading after the new shiny idea.
There is an old saying, we overestimate what we can do in one day, but we underestimate what we can do in a year.
I live by this. Now I have my projects, I allocate them to a quarter. Are they going into quarter 1 (Jan-Mar), 2 (April-Jun), 3 (Jul-Sept) or 4 (Oct-Dec).
It will be tempting to jam almost everything into that first two quarters because everything seems important. But... if you do you're setting yourself up to fail.
Want more? I've put together an Operational Project Plan Workbook for you.
It includes space to complete each of the activities, a recap of the step and some advanced tips and how to make sure it is implemented.
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