It’s January and I’m in full planning mode for the new year. I love the idea of a fresh start. I always feel like I need a break at the end of the year and after a good two weeks of relaxing, I’m ready to kickstart and get back into business. Even more so this year as I’ve left my 9-5 job to create a business.
I’ve always loved being organized and having a clear idea of what I want to do, how and when. I’m a big planner and so each start to a new year I’m all over my planner, excel planning document and calendar, spending hours furiously organizing myself.
For me, it’s all about starting on the right foot. If everything starts well, I’m more likely to be on a roll and stay focused and on track.
So I thought I’d share a few tips with you how to plan effectively to start the year on the right track.
Start the year by asking yourself “what do I want to do in 2020” / “what do I have to do”.
I like to start by looking at the year as a whole. What are my goals? Do I have any trips planned? I write down birthdays, any important deadlines (dissertation? work report?) and any other major event of the year.
I get my calendar and jot everything down. That way, I can have good look at the year ahead at a glance. It helps me then to be able to organize myself better in order to stay on top of things and see long-term. It’s also helpful as things, like important deadlines, mean that you will need to work ahead so you’ll be able to see the busy times and the chiller weeks.
Break it down in months
Something I’ve changed at the beginning of the year is add monthly goals on my Excel file. I have this – amazing, grandiose, ô so helpful – Excel file where I organize my entire work – setting up a business, blog and Youtube channel. I have the things I need to do, ideas of what to write about and film and then everything that goes with it (people to contact, where to go get info, what type of blogpost it is, the date it needs to be done, when it’ll be scheduled, brainstorming, thumbnail, editing, photoshoots, editing photos and so much more). It’s all organized so that now I know what to film each week on set days.
And what I’ve added is a line in between each month with a goal that fits my long-term year goals (here is a video where I talk about all my 2020 goals if you’d like to have a look).
So an easy example : if one of your long-term goal is to read 20 books, you’ll put in the monthly-goal line “read 1 or 2 books” so that 1. you won’t forget it’s one of your goals and 2. you’ll make time for it by incorporating it in your planner.
The to-do lists that will help you plan methodically
I’m a list lover, I don’t hide it. I am a sucker for a good list – or 5 – that contains everything I need to do. I have different kind of lists:
- a food shop list, so that I have somewhere to add everything I find I’ll need to buy during the next grocery trip
- an idea list, that’s my creative dumping ground where every idea I have gets written down under different category (blogging/Youtube/freelance…)
- a regular task list, that’s the one of things that need to be ticked off every week: workouts, blogpost, videos, freelance work (when it’s easily organized)
- the list on my excel file for each task (ex: filming/editing/thumbnail/downbar/keywords/SEO/scheduling…)
- and finally my beloved daily list, so everything I need to do that day so that everything gets done for the week (ex: send a certain email/film/start editing/research on…/. It’s the small tasks to get the big tasks done. One to get the Wednesday video ticked off? Then I will have to have done my daily tasks to get there. And the video will then work towards my bigger goal of, for example, including more clean beauty videos on my channel.
The trick with lists is to try and learn. It really depends on how you work, really. If you power through your to-do list, if you tend to procrastinate, if certain tasks are easier to achieve than others… I know that for me, I like to have 2 or maximum 3 “big” tasks for the day and up to 3 small tasks per day. More than that and I’ll end up drowning and getting stressed.
Sometimes, I’ll break a big task down into smaller tasks like for example “Wednesday’s video” can be broken down into editing video / creating thumbnail / writing description box / adding keywords / creating end page / scheduling. It’s easier then for me to see what’s been done if at the end of the day I can’t tick off “Wednesday’s video” entirely but it’s because I just haven’t had the time to create the end page and schedule it. 4 small tasks have still be completed, so it’s a way to feel less down if the big tasks is yet to be done.
A few tips to become as efficient as possible…
- Have regular check-ins: are your events, deadlines and other important dates up to date? Do you have a clear idea of what’s to come?
- Do you feel comfortable in how you’re organized or somewhat overwhelmed? have you noticed when you feel more at ease and not so stressed?
- Are your weekly and/or daily to-do lists helping you or making you feel even worse about finishing season 2 of You before having even finished your tasks?
- Have you made sure to allocate time for yourself? It’s good to schedule in workouts, friend dates and chill-time. I always make sure to write in my “personal” column: meditate / workout / and read. I know that for me, it’s important to take some time off to avoid anxiety creeping in and ruining my entire work. It’s unnecessary to overload yourself if it means ending the week with a mental breakdown.
- Remember that it’s all about trial and error, it took me time to find a way to organize myself that works for me.