2015 Planning

One of the jobs I enjoy doing the first week back at work is opening all the new calendars I have received for Christmas and filling in all the events / activities I already have planned.

Yes you did read this correctly when I said “calendars” plural as I have several pinned up on the wall in my office each one dedicated to a specific area of my work / life; plus my Master Print Production Schedule Year Planner which is mapped with multi-coloured lines, dots, stars and crosses!

Build a plan for 2015

It doesn’t matter what system you use to plan and organise your work / business but you will undoubtedly achieve more in 2015 if you have a plan. But before you dive in, stop and think for a moment about how you work best and use a system that works best for you.

For example, my traditional year planner works well for me as I can see at a glance what I am doing and when. In fact I have been using the same symbols to represent different activities for so long now it is almost like another language to me which I can translate straight away.

Planning generally falls into two distinct areas – regular tasks / activities and specific one off projects.

For regular activities it is worthwhile spending some time writing a master list of all the things you need to do every week / month or perhaps every time you complete a project for a customer. Then you can just work your way through this each time knowing you have covered everything.

For example once my magazines have gone to print I have a long list of jobs I need to go through e.g. making sure I add all my new advertisers to the correct group in my mailing list so they receive a copy of the magazines their advert appears in. (Currently I am running with 12 different magazine combinations so this mailing is quite a logistical challenge!)

With regards to major projects I have written before about reviewing your business and putting a marketing plan together but the two most important tips I can give you in relation to specific one off projects are:

1) Break them down into smaller specific tasks

2) Schedule into your calendar the dates when you are going to undertake and complete these activities

Understand your customers

I am in the tenth year of publishing my magazines now and one thing all this experience has brought me is knowledge about my customers so I know, almost to the exact date, exactly when people want to talk about advertising and equally as importantly, I know when they don’t! I factor this information into my plans for the year.

For example, for me the most disruptive holiday of the year is Easter: a) because the date varies year on year so I can’t give my advertisers the same deadline each year and b) lots of people go away for two weeks but it might be before, over or after Easter and others will work on through. This means it can be very challenging to get everyone’s copy / artwork in on time so I now know to plan my dates accordingly.

So if there are times in the year when you know you will be very busy with your regular work make sure you avoid these weeks when scheduling your one-off projects. Save these activities for when your experience tells you that you will have more time.

Also, if you know there are specific times of the year when people are very receptive to what you have to say then why not plan a marketing campaign to coincide with their natural interest at this time.

Get Started Now!

Finally, it is very easy at this time of year to sit at your desk and think about all the great ideas you have for growing your business but before you know it you will be caught up in the daily routine of running your business and things can fall by the wayside.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to get started now and yes I do mean now – not next week but now; as soon as you have finished reading this e-mail. Even better, if you need to speak to someone else to get their input or to ask them to quote for work they can do for you on your new project, make that call straight away because as soon as someone else is involved your idea starts to become reality.

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