Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Planning Tips for a Prosperous New Year

If you’re like me, your mind is bursting with new plans and ideas for the upcoming year. New sales opportunities and customers. New projects. New goals. And I don’t know about you but the holidays were a little rough on my waistline so a new health regimen is in order as well. (I’ve never met a plate of fudge I didn’t like!)

So, how do you turn those great ideas into reality?

That’s precisely what I spent Tuesday working on. I find that if I don’t sit down and plan, all my ideas come to nothing. For me, it’s all about project management and setting deadlines. See if any of these tips will help you achieve your goals for the year:

1. Make a list of all the projects you need to complete.
2. Prioritize them by importance. (I give them an A,B,C rating.)
3. Taking the A list, determine the deadline by either when the project is due or when you want to have it completed.
4. Take out your palm pilot, calendar, or day planner.
5. Put each deadline on your calendar.
6. Work backwards from your deadline, assigning time slots for getting each step of the project done.
7. If you have to bump a step off your calendar when another commitment comes up…Reschedule. Don’t treat your own plans and projects like a red headed stepchild, constantly shifting them to the bottom of the priority list.
8. Then, go back and fit in your B list and finally your C list.

Here’s an example of how I use this in my own business. I’m scheduled to teach a class starting in mid-January. The priority level is high since I have already committed to teaching and people have signed up for the class. My deadline is January 17, by the night of the first class I need to have certain parts of the project completed. Working backwards from that date, I fill into my schedule all the parts of the project I need to complete—the syllabus and schedule of topics, prepare handouts for the first three classes, crack open the text book and take a peak inside, etc. If I have to rearrange my schedule to help a client, I reschedule whatever piece of the project I had to bump.

What I find is that if I don’t do it this way, I over-commit my time and January 16th would find me stressed out and working late into the night trying to prep for a class the next day. I don’t know about you but I don’t enjoy working that way!

This is a process that works well for creating a new information product, writing a book, getting your paperwork together for your tax return, getting ready for your “busy” season, starting a new exercise program, rolling out a new marketing effort, or the many “someday” projects that we all seem to have. It helps to give structure to your schedule to ensure you have time to get the important things done and you don’t wander off on tangents.

Good focus, time management, and project management skills go a long way towards turning your ideas into cashflow.

A Very Prosperous New Year to You!

Until next time,

Caroline Jordan
Get Knowledge. Get Focus. Get Results.
The Jordan Result