As 2015 is coming to an end I like to start my planning for 2016.
A lot has changed this year, mainly that my decade plus long focus on mobile has shifted to marketing automation.
I thought I’d share how I plan for the new year in hopes that it might help you get your year started strong.
My overall process breaks down into 3 key phases.
- Phase 1: Identify the key rocks that will serve as anchors for my planning.
- Phase 2: Set my goals
- Phase 3: Reverse engineer my goals and drop milestones onto my calendar.
This post will look at the first…
Phase 1: Identifying the key rocks
I like to use a calendar for this process.
Not any ‘ol calendar but a big calendar that looks at the whole year.
I recommend the NeuYear large wall calendar. You can get yours here.
This next step shouldn’t take too long (hopefully).
I make a list of the following with their associated dates.
- Conferences I want to attend
- Vacations we’d like to go (my wife’s schedule is not as flexible as mine so this includes marking down her work vacation weeks)
- Any other trips I’d like to make
Each of the above gets color coded.
Here is a look at my calendar after this process
So once I’ve got this stuff down on the calendar, I assess where the weight of the calendar is.
As you can tell, the first few months of the year are with conferences and a big trip to Japan with my wife.
The rest of the year is pretty light minus October with two conferences I’ll be attending.
Having these events blocked out (especially vacations) helps me put some of the bigger priorities on the calendar first. When planning launches or anything like that, I know what I’ll need to plan around or more importantly, when not to plan them.
With traveling to certain conferences, I typically lose one day on either side of the conference for traveling and getting back into the swing of things so it can be tough on the schedule and building momentum.
With having the core part of my team in place going into 2016, I feel more confident about things continuing to move forward while being able to attend conferences and go on a vacation or two.
With Phase 1 complete, I can now look at setting my goals, which I’ll talk about in the next post.
Do you use a calendar like this for your planning? Are you going to give it a shot? Let me know in the comments.