How to Easily Plan Your Year

how to plan your year as a coach

Hey!

Every year I lay out my plan, in public, for all to see and judge. So bring your snarkiest hat of judgement and enjoy!

If you want see and judge the past as well, here’s 2018’s plan for a start.

But I digress. Each year I try a different approach to planning, to broaden my thinking and my learning. I keep what I liked from the year before, and also try something new.

This year I was a little over-the-top. 🙂

I’ve done a variety of mad planning involving paper, Asana, white boards, more paper, hounding my husband, and eating a LOT of chocolate.

Here’s what stayed the same from last year

Last year I started with how I wanted to FEEL during the year based on something I heard Danielle LaPorte say, and used that as a guideline (and a decision criteria) for many of my actions.

I really liked this approach as it made making most decisions easy: Either tasks helped create the feeling, or actively went against it, in which case I didn’t do them. Last year I wanted to feel more simple and focused, and allow myself space to evolve into my goal of being world class at helping new coaches start their businesses.

So if I got an offer to do something big for the Revolutionary Club on the career side for example, I turned it down. If something didn’t fit with my goals, I said no. Which took…umm…practice.

But putting the emphasis on guiding feelings worked! Last year was the most profitable and also most stress-free year of my business overall.

This year I want to feel three things: 1) More connected 2) More calm and 3) More healthy.

So my year plan and subsequent activities are based on bringing these three things to the front.

Here’s what changed from last year

For almost every year I’ve had my business activities guide my entire life. Vacations. Wedding dates. Date nights.

All things that took second place to my business.

NOT THIS YEAR.

I used to plan time off and make other life decisions around launch dates and program design.

This year I viewed everything holistically, and allowed vacations and other personal activities and wants to drive some of my business decisions and timing.

More than that, after I mapped out my major business activities and personal goals on a 12 month high-level calendar, I went into project mode in Asana and mapped out all of their dependencies…for the whole year.

So, for example: I want to take a full month off in August. In the past I might have just put that on the calendar and thought about it in…July. But this year I’ve gone further – I’ve mapped out all of the planning that goes with that kind of big break. So, for example, I have time in January set aside to research flights and look at hotels for that trip since it’s such a big deal.

Basically I went through all of my business and life activities that fit into my feelings, eliminated those that don’t, and then for the remainder wrote down all of the major steps to accomplish them. Then I mapped it out by sub-task in Asana.

I couldn’t do everything in sub-tasks, but it was a different, and very compelling, start. I normally map out all the high level business stuff a year at a time, and then only focus on the tasks for the next 90 days, because I’m so used to things changing in my business as the year progresses.

But it felt good to have a more holistic approach to my business and life this year, and view it all as one – and therefore vacation planning is just as important as launch planning, and I needed to make sure I had time and support to do both!

Diving into the plan!

So, I want to feel three things: More connected, more calm, and more healthy.

I’ve spent time fleshing out what these mean to me in detail, but I’m going to spare you that.

Instead I’ll give you some high-level examples:

More connected

I want to feel more connected to coaches and leaders who do what I do at my level – I spent years building up a great reserve of career connections for the Revolutionary Club, but given my split focus, I haven’t had the same latitude to do that for Coach Pony.

This year is different. To answer the call of connection I brainstormed a lot of ideas and then narrowed down the list to what feels doable for me in 2019. For example: I’ll be focused on speaking at more at events specifically geared to coaches, doing more personal outreach and networking, and attending a big conference and small retreat to help increase my sense of connection in a way that fits into my schedule.

I also want to feel more connected to my own local community. So I’ll be looking for non-business groups to join (this is the year I finally join a gardening group!), and I’ll be hosting more parties at my house to bring people to me in a low-key way.

I’m an introvert, and I love having small groups of people over. That also supports me feeling calm.

I had wanted to throw a large party and initially had that on my goals list, but I realized that while it would answer the feeling of connection, it wouldn’t help the feeling of calm, so I took it off.

Instead I’ve got applications to speak in my inbox, dates on the calendar to host friends for dinner, and time set aside to google “garden groups in Oakland” and see what happens.

More calm

I want to feel more calm in my business and my life.

I want to build on the focus that I started last year and expand into even more peace.

So to that end I mapped out a quiet and calm launch of Build a REAL Business this month, so make sure you join our community if you want to know more about the perks (click here to get on the inside track!).

I’ve made a date with myself to mediate or breath more often…every day on my calendar.

And, because of my holistic approach I took a long look at my living room, the space where I spend 85% of my time. It’s…fine. But it’s not awesomely calm.

So I am working with a designer to buy some more furniture and change the layout to make the space feel more calm and relaxed.

I spend a lot of time working from here, and also actually living in this room, and so it feels like time and money well-spent. Because this fits with my goals and will help me feel calm and connected (hello local parties!), it makes the decision easy to finally invest in the space.

Now it’s your turn to plan – let’s do it!

Start with your feelings – pick 1-3 things you want to feel this year (don’t pick too many, otherwise you lose the ability to use them as decision criteria), and write them down.

Next up, write down a bunch of things you want to do/accomplish this year. Think about: 1) Your business 2) Your finances 3) Your business education (a must!!) 4) Your health 5) Your fun/family goals and 6) How you want to give back (charity etc) to start.

Write as much as you want in this list – don’t hold back!

Once you are done go back and eliminate anything that doesn’t fit into your guiding feelings for the year. Then go again and do a final check: Eliminate anything that is honestly too much, or isn’t something you can do (or do well).

Now you’ve got your list!

Take all of your priorities and map them out on a big year long calendar. Which things will you focus on each month? Do they all reasonably fit? If you need to eliminate anything else because you just can’t fit it in, now is the time to do one last sweep.

Then break it down further, for each big activity you identified focus on understanding the tasks you need to do to complete it. So, for me to speak more so I can feel more connected I need to 1) Research events 2) Make a list of those events that are a fit for me in 2019 and are also accepting speakers 3) Review their themes and decide if they are a fit for me 4) Write my pitch for them 5) Submit my pitch and put the hold on my calendar in case I get accepted to speak and so on and so forth.

Once you are clear on the sub-tasks, map those tasks out on your calendar, or sign up for a free Asana account or another app and do it from there. Assign dates for everything :).

And voila! Year = planned.

Great work!! Welcome to an AWESOME 2019!

Need more help?

No worries! Grab our free fancy-pants guide on how to make money as a coach right here. It’s simple, practical, and actually fun :).

How to easily plan your year as a life coach

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