January 5, 2012

Get Organized (Part One): Business Planning Weekly

The new year is a time for resolutions, and every magazine I've read lately is replete with tips, hints, and other advice on how to achieve those lofty New Years goals, despite the daunting statistical evidence that suggests many will give up by the end of our first month, and almost all of us will within 6 months.

The part of "resolution" that gets people hung up is not the goal setting but the lacking in root of the word: resolute, which means "admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering."  

But it's difficult to be these things without a clearly defined target that can inspire that purpose and determination.  I know that I have a general idea where I want business things to go, and some idea how to get there, but all the little things that pop into my head on a regular basis--good ideas, inspirations, etc. tend to get lost in the daily grind.  I find myself looking back on "To-Do" lists that were either so cumbersome they were doomed to fail before they got started or too vague to be more than a suggestion.  

As I juggle two kids and a household to maintain, I find more and more that I need to see clear and concrete goals and the steps required to complete them on paper.  These don't need to be large goals, in fact, the larger, the more vague, so this year I'm going to try a new approach by just focusing the majority of my attention on one week at a time.  With an eye towards the longer term, breaking down goals into weekly portions can provide accessible and attainable steps towards the greater picture with the rewards of seeing specific progress as I check off all the things I did that I wanted to do.  It's flexible enough I don't risk feeling like a failure if "Item #5" didn't get done on Wednesday, per se, as long as it got done that week, but it's finite enough that there is a sense of urgency to get things done within the time frame specified.

There are tons of things I wish to accomplish this year, spanning quintessential life categories such as business, spiritual, and personal. It would be difficult to remember every thing that I think would enrich my life in these categories.  And since I'm constantly finding new sources of inspiration, the lists would be long and fluid.  I don't wish to think of these as a finite list of things that need to be "done" since we are always growing and changing, but I do want to keep better track of the ideas for growth and my progress.  I could come up with numerous ways to improve my life, household, or business, but if I never actually get to any of them, the inspirations are lost. 

So to simplify, I'm going to do a better job of chronicling on paper what I wish to accomplish in a given week or month on separate sheets.  I can make manageable weekly goals, and over time I'll be able to see what I have (or haven't) accomplished.  I'll be able to see which items regularly don't get done on time, and I can either evaluate them (maybe they're just not important enough) or determine that I need to change my routine and re-prioritize so that I do have time to get it done.

To start this endeavor, I created a Business Overview Planner, which generally outlines what I hope to accomplish this year for growing Sine Metu Designs, and then specifically what needs to happen on a monthly, weekly and daily basis to accomplish those things.  Then I created a Weekly Business Planning sheet where I can notate what needs to be done each week with a place for my weekly goals, daily checklist, to define a weekly project, write ideas for my weekly blog posts, etc. 

Obviously these are geared towards an artisan small business, but you could adapt them easily for whatever business you run or just your personal professional objectives to help you attain or advance a career.  

Download them FREE here:

Business Overview Planner
Weekly Business Planning Sheet

These are available as Word documents so you can generate your own text and tweak as needed.  Once the Google Docs site opens click "Download Original."  Do NOT try to print from the preview because the formatting has been skewed by Google Docs.  The formatting is fine if you click Download Original (upper right) and select open when your computer prompts you.  Then you can save to your hard drive.  

Let me know in the comments if there are any problems and I can email them to you!

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