September 19, 2016

How to Successfully Plan for the Next 90 Days

So few people take the time to actually plan out their day, their week, or the following month. So few people understand the importance of having a structured life, and the benefits that arise from understanding what it is that you want to accomplish and consciously working to see that accomplishment through. And that is why properly planning the next 90 days is so important. Because if you make the effort to create a schedule and write down ideas, goals, and tasks, you are much more likely to see these things through and you will make far more progress towards your goals.

So, how do you begin? If you’re somebody like I was 18 months ago and you’re struggling to take that first step, my first piece of advice for you is to purchase a planner. Go to your local Wal-Mart or dollar store and buy an 18-month planner that you can use to write out your day/week/month. This planner will become like your Bible. You’ll look at it every day…You’ll write down meetings that you set, chunks of time that you dedicate to your work, and ideas that strike you during the most random of times. And this planner will become an extension of your body. It goes with you EVERYWHERE!! Why does it go with you wherever you go? Because motivation and inspiration can strike at any time, and you need to be ready to schedule an appointment, or write down an exciting idea that you have while brainstorming with a friend.

You have your planner and you have a goal that you’d like to accomplish. Now what? You probably feel pretty silly sitting at your kitchen table staring at an empty planner, don’t you? The next step is to take this enormous goal that you have and break it down into four or five manageable steps. And when you do this, it’s important that you create milestones along the way so that you can measure your success, because this will not only give you guidelines that you’ll use along your journey but it will help inspire you and provide feedback on your work and progress. In creating these steps, remember to make them goals that don’t feel too daunting. That’s the purpose of creating smaller goals: so that this huge, impossible tasks becomes more manageable.

Let me give you some examples of what I’m talking about when I say break apart a goal. Let’s use blogging: Let’s assume my goal with my blog is to reach an average monthly activity rate of 2,000 views/month within the next six months. Well, for someone who is currently averaging between 300-400 views/month, this seems rather difficult. So in my planner, I will schedule time twice a week that I will use to brainstorm new blog post ideas and write out that week’s posts. By scheduling the time and writing in my planner, it becomes a solid commitment that I’ve made with myself to do this tasks. Too many times, people simply say, “Oh, I’ll definitely do that on Tuesday”, but then Tuesday comes and it never happens. Schedule the time…Make the commitment…Do the work.

So I use my planner and make the commitment to blog twice a week. After I’ve set my commitments, I need to establish guidelines and smaller goals for my journey. Reaching 2,000 views/month won’t happen overnight, so I decide that within the next 60 days, my blog should be receiving 1,000 views/month. And while brainstorming goals is fine, what creates true results is action. So make sure that you’re researching new ways to expose your work (whatever it is that you do or are trying to accomplish). Continuing with the example of blogging, that means I need to increase the quality of my content to keep current viewers coming back to my blog, research new marketing channels to spread the word about my blog, and find ways to share my message with new audiences. All of these actions will help drive traffic to my sight and help me reach that goal of 1,000 views/month.

I’ve decided that 1,000 views/month is my goal for the next 60 days. In my new shiny planner, I dictate in the space 60 days from now “1000 views/month!”. This creates a visual source of motivation that I can check back on if I need to spark my fuel in the future. It also helps create a sense of urgency as that date approaches.

As my 90-day deadline approaches, I should be constantly monitoring my progress to see how close I am to my goal of 2,000. At the same time, I should be analyzing what is working on my blog and what is not working well with my readers. This will provide me with the feedback necessary to help improve my blog and see the results that I want.

Once you’ve established short-term goals, the most important thing to remember is that you’ll have to put in the work. If your long-term goal is to become Sales Manager for your company, you need to establish the sales numbers that you need to hit over the next 3-6 months to be qualified for the Manager position. And then once you understand those numbers, get out and make those sales a reality. Don’t do like so many other people do and simply accept the status quo and then complain that they didn’t get the position. Use the knowledge you have to create a timeline and then hold yourself responsible to maintaining the work ethic.
 
It’s important to remember that the example I used above will obviously differ slightly depending upon what it is that you want to accomplish. But if it’s something larger (going back to college, learning a new language, checking items off of a bucket list), remember that short-term goals are far more important in reaching success than long-term goals. If you can find a way to take that dream and break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks, you’ll find yourself making progress that you couldn’t have ever dreamed of making. So get to work and don’t forget to have fun doing it!

Daniel Moffett
Follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

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