There are two schools of thought on planning. Some say to plan, plan, plan. While others think living in the moment and doing things when inspiration strikes is the way to go. I’m of the school of thought of the former.
If you don’t plan, how do you know where to go? Much like jumping into your car with the intention of driving from New York to California without a road map. You may get there eventually (if you’re lucky), but how long will it take?
You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.
– Yogi Berra, baseball catcher (1925-present)
Planning is vital to your business! You have to have some sort of road map to where you are headed. You may not know the exact HOW, but that’s irrelevant at the moment. The how will show up as you plan your work and work your plan.
Some people may have a six month to one year (or more) action plan; and that’s fine. It’s important to have long-term goals for your business so you have something to work towards; but for a working plan, in my experience, a sixty to ninety day plan works best.
Taking things and breaking them down into small chunks makes the plan more realistic, doable and less overwhelming; on top of the fact that it will be easier to navigate over a short period of time than a long one.
The 90 Day Action Plan is just what it states – creating a step by step plan on a particular project or goal in a ninety day period. There are many ways to go about doing this, but I will explain to you what has worked best for me that has allowed me to stay on point 90% of the time.
I say 90% because as with life, curve balls can (and will) be thrown in your way. You have to allow for some flexibility (and humor) when creating your plan. You do not work in a bubble, so expect that things may not always go as planned.
Those who plan do better than those who do not plan even thou they rarely stick to their plan.
– Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister
That being said…
Here are the steps to the 90 Day Action Plan Blueprint:
Start with the end goal in mind.
For example, with my WordPress Training Hub Program, my end goal was to have my online training program on how to create a website up by x date.
Create a general outline of what you think your plan is and put dates to it.
I say “think” because you may not know exactly all the steps yet or how long long it will take you. The outline will give you general idea (skeleton) on which to work and build upon. For example, for my training program I wrote out:
- 1st month – Create training videos
- 2nd month – Set up membership site with all content and pages
- 3rd month- Set up marketing plan, sales page and contact potential JV’s
Take each month and break it down further into weekly action plans.
Now you simply take each month and break each goal/project into sub-goals/projects.
For example, in my third month when planning for the creation of my training program, my intention was to set up all the marketing, create the sales page, and contact people who I thought may help me spread the word about my program.
Thus my plan went something like this:
- 1st week – create sales page, work on video sales letter and set up paypal buttons
- 2nd week – create a plan on how I intend to market my program
- 3rd week – write up my sequence of emails to be sent to my list notifying them of the program
- 4th week – email my inner circle and request if they can assist me in my goal in some way
Your weekly plan of course can be further broken down into daily action plans. I would suggest using a calendar that you can check on a daily basis to keep you on task.
I personally love and use Google Calendar. Check out my video post on managing multiple websites to give you some ideas on how to create a calendar specific to a project or goal.
I would suggest setting up an individual 90 Day Action Plan for each goal/project you want to work on. Often times many people consolidate their plans into one calendar and I think this often causes confusion and overwhelm.
If you can focus on one action a day off a particular plan, you will be more likely to complete it, than trying to focus on too many tasks for various plans all at once. I’m not saying you shouldn’t work on multiple projects. I’m saying you should focus on ONE action plan at a time and once you’ve completed it, you can move onto another action within THAT plan or move onto another project for that day.
Also keep in mind that some projects my take you longer than 90 days and some will take less. For those that you know you can complete in less than 90 days (let’s say you can get it done in 30), the same concept and structure applies, just in smaller time frame.
If you feel this is a plan that will take longer, I would still have your long-term plan in place (this is your ultimate goal), and then set up your smaller (90 day) plans under that umbrella.
Say for example your ultimate goal is to write a book. From past experience or from what you’ve heard, you expect it will take you six months. Therefore your long-term plan will be to complete your book in six months. Within this plan you will have two sub-plans (each 90 days), each with a specific sub-goal.
But most of all as I said before, be flexible. Plan your work and work your plan, but be OK if things don’t go as you expect. Part of reaching goals and accomplishing projects is learning from the experience of the process.
I often make a game out it with a prize for myself at the end. It’s great to appreciate small victories because it will give you the motivation to continue forward and finish what you’ve started.
Enjoy the journey.
How do you currently plan your projects and goals?