The 2018 Planning Guide Part 2

This is the second part of my 2018 planning guide. The first part can be read here.

In the first part of this process I wrote about gathering your ideas and giving some thought to how you would like things to change for you in 2018. This process really just involves thinking about some basic questions. These questions are:

Ideas — Things you’d like to try or do

What would I like to change about myself? — these might be things like to spend less money or give up smoking/drinking etc.

What would I like to change about my lifestyle? — Things like where you live, where and who you socialise with etc.

What would I like to change about the way I work? — Because of the way our work environments are changing, would you like to work from home more often?

How can I challenge myself? — It is easy to get stuck in a day to day, non-challenging life, this question is designed to get you thinking about moving away from your comfort zone.

On the surface these questions are quite simple, and that is what they are designed to be. But, if you go a little deeper you will see they are designed to challenge you, to get you thinking about the way you live your life and what you really want to achieve in life.

Now for the second part.

Once you have spent a few weeks thinking about these questions, adding answers and developing some thoughts about how you would like to change, then it’s time to pull out all the actionable steps. To do this you need to go through your list and look for things you feel are actionable and, more importantly, achievable next year.

One way I do this is to begin an action list at the bottom of the note (I do this process in Evernote) I pick out things I know I can turn in to action steps. For example, this year on my list I have “to begin writing a journal every day”. This can easily be turned in to an actionable step, so I have added “write daily journal” to the list. This can then be copied into my To-do list manager as a daily recurring task when I am ready to do so.

Another example from my list is something I have added to my “how can I challenge myself?” list. In there I have “to become an expert on social media marketing” This means I will need to study social media marketing, do a few online courses and read as many books as I can on the subject. Tasks related to that would be “find and read articles on social media marketing” or “research online courses on social media marketing” . These can also be added to the list at the bottom of my note.

Again, like the first process where you gather your thoughts and ideas about how you want to make 2018 a fantastic year, this process may take a week or two. Don’t worry, you have plenty of time. This is another reason why I keep this note in my “Incubator” file. I am adding to it daily, when I am on the bus, when I am waiting for a client or student to arrive etc. The list is growing.

Then, in the final week of the year, when most businesses are away on holiday and everyone is enjoying eating too much and binge watching TV, I start putting these tasks and projects into my to-do list manager. Things like write a journal would be added to my daily routines folder and becoming a social media marketing expert will become a project.

The hardest part of this two-step process is the first part which, hopefully, you will already have done by now. This second step is the easiest. All you need to do is to find the things you can do either by turning them into a routine (my journaling, for example) or into a project (becoming a social media expert)

The only warning I will give you is don’t try and start everything in January. This is why so many people fail to achieve their goals in the first place. They try and do everything all at once. My top two goals are journalling every day and learning more about social media marketing. These two (and some work projects I will be doing for all you guys) are the only two I will be focused on in the first quarter of next year. Other things I have on my list will be spread out throughout the rest of the year and, if timed correctly, I should have completed my goals by the end of the year.

So, as we approach the end of 2017, start collecting the actionable ideas you have written down and turn them into projects and tasks. Think about how you will achieve them and when will be the best time to start working on them.

Good luck and I wish you all the very best in 2018.

If you don’t already know, I just published Your Digital Life 2.0. A book created to help you to get the most out of your technology. You can find out more right here.

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Carl Pullein

I help people learn to manage their lives and time better so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of.