Yearly Planning: 3 Steps to Success
With the holiday season and the end of the year approaching, you may find yourself pressed for time when it comes to 2022 planning. As exciting as this time of year can be, I know it can feel as equally as stressful. If you are still working through finalizing your yearly plan and find yourself in need of some inspiration, try this quick exercise.
Step away from your computer, grab a pen and your notebook, and find somewhere quiet and comfortable to sit. The purpose of this is to separate yourself from distractions and to be present within the moment. Once you are situated, ask yourself these 2 questions and write down anything (and everything) that comes to your mind:
- What worked this year?
- What didn’t work?
This is the time to be completely open and honest with yourself. Look at the list you created in the Debrief phase – did you spend more time on one question than the other? Is there anything you wrote down that surprises you? Once you have done your initial review of your notes, see if you start to notice any patterns in your two lists – are most of them process-related items, or are there more task-specific items? Do you see any common themes in your lists? You might notice that your overall processes are working really well, but there are some tasks within those processes that have been falling short – take note of these findings.
Now that you’ve had the time to debrief and reflect on the year, let’s put things into action. Look through your answers to each question in your notebook and circle the top 3-5 items from each list – these should be the items that stood out to you the most and you feel are the most valuable to your business. These are the issues that you should be focusing on in the upcoming year. For the items that are working well, see if you can implement them in other areas of the business.
For the items that are not working well – think through how to improve them. Maybe you need a working session with a coworker or your manager to talk through the issues, or maybe you need to set aside time each month to work through them. Whatever it may be, write down an action item for each of the issues on your list, and a date that the action item will be completed by – this not only keeps you organized, it holds you accountable for taking the necessary steps to solve the issue.
Planning for the upcoming year is no easy task, and it requires you and your team to dig deep into the business to uncover any issues that may be hiding under the surface. If you find yourself stuck at any point during your planning journey, come back to this simple exercise – you might be surprised how effective it can be.