Now that Christmas is over, and we’ve entered a new year, from everyone at Solochecker, I’d like to wish you a very happy and prosperous 2015!
While some may be still nursing Christmas hangovers, many eager and enthusiastic marketers have already planned and begun executing their plans for success over the next 12 months.
Your competition is growing, and becoming stronger, however.. what lies ahead for your business in 2015?
If you’ve not got a real plan or solid targets in place, it’s likely that the action you take will be unfocused, and as a result, the outcome of your actions will also likely be limited.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
Most people don’t understand the importance of putting pen to paper, and drawing an outline of how they want their year to go.
It’s not good enough to just say… “I want to make $100k this year”
Wanting something, with no outline of how you’re going to achieve it is NOT going to help you reach your desired result.
It’s Time For You To Put Pen To Paper
There are many ways to plan your ideal year, however, I’d like to share the method I use; it’s very simple, and I find it very effective.
1. Get a piece of paper, turn it horizontally and draw 3 lines to divide it into 4 quarters (or click here to download my template)
2. At the top of each quarter section, label it Q1: Jan-Mar, Q2: Apr-Jun etc..
3. At the top of the page, add a key – C = Complete, O = Ongoing, T = Target, I = Income Target
It should look like this:
4. Begin adding your plans for the next year. You’ll want to add things which fall into the 4 above categories, as this will give you a decent overview of what you should have completed, what will be ongoing as well as specific targets (milestones) your business should have achieved, and lastly the income goals (targets) you would like to achieve.
You’ll need to take your time here, and try to add things in a logical order… For example, there would be little point in adding an Income Target of $10k a month in Q2, if you don’t have project activity which could easily support that in Q1.
The idea here is to add your important Goals.. don’t add small things like “write welcome email for subscribers”.. instead, you should have something like “write first 30 emails for autoresponder and tweak once have results”. The more strategic you can be here, the clearer goals you will have, and with clarity, you’ll be able to take much more focused action.
Once you’ve added all of your goals and targets, take 10-15 mins to review them, to see if you think they are correct and realistic. You can always come back to your plan, and make changes – Completing this exercise does NOT mean these are set in stone, it’s simply an exercise which helps you get your head around what you would like to achieve, when you would like to achieve it, and how much income you would like to make from it.
Here’s a quick example plan I put together, so you can see how I’ve added things:
Feel free to take any inspiration from this, as I tried to include some good ideas of goals, which you may also be able to use in your own businesses!
Now You’ve Got Your Yearly Outline… What Next?
You’ve made the all-important start to seeing the success you desire in 2015, but you’ll want to make this even more focused to make sure you hit your goals & targets.
Using the exact same technique as I’ve explained above, make a new sheet for each quarter, but only have 3 x thirds, instead of quarters. The first sheet would have January, February & March, and so on (click here to download my templates)
Now simply add the targets & goals into the individual months. You may also want to add some additional sub-goals seeing as you’re zooming into this first quarter.
Once complete, you’ll have a plan for 30, 60 and 90 days… Now you’ve just got to put it on the wall next to your monitor and TAKE ACTION!
If you ever feel confused what to do, or overwhelmed with information, just take a minute to look at your goals and targets, and then get back to completing them.
How To Manage Your Day To Day Tasks
There are many ways which you can manage your day to day tasks, including the good old pen and paper… (Yes, this still works!), however, there are also some great free task management apps and solutions you can use which help you to greatly improve your productivity:
Project & Task Management
1. Trello – Trello is one of my favourite ways to manage my projects and tasks. It’s extremely easy to use, and you can also collaborate with other people (outsourcers, partners, employees etc.) It’s realtime, so everyone has access to the latest information, and it’s extremely user friendly. You can also use Trello on all of your devices (free app’s available separately from app stores) and your main computer browser.
2. Wunderlist – Wunderlist is a great ‘To Do’ application which allows simple and effective task management. Like Trello, you can use on any device and share To Do Lists with other people.
Managing your time effectively is one of the most important things you can do to reach your goals. If you’re constantly wasting time on Facebook, other websites, or tasks which are not pushing you closer to your goal completion, you’re going to struggle to hit your goals.
So how do you stay completely focused on the task at hand?
Simple… Turn off ALL distractions, and work in timed blocks (trust me.. this works incredibly well).
1. Log-out from Facebook, Skype, close your email program, and put your phone on silent.
2. Download a free timer for your computer (don’t use your phone, as you’ll see other updates/notifications). I use this one for my Mac
3. (Optional) I also track my time using a great free app called Toggl Desktop. This allows you to hit a button when you begin an activity, and then stop that activity when you’ve finished. It records and reports everything to you weekly via email; this helps with understanding where you are spending your time, and also helps keep you motivated.
4. Set your time block you would like to work, I do 45 minutes, start your countdown timer. If you’re using Toggle Desktop, activate your timer, with a 2-3 word explanation of what you are doing.
5. When your timer hits 0.00, stop your Toggle timer, and take a 10-15 min break. Get up, walk around, get a drink and stretch.
If you repeat this process just 6 times a day, you’ll have completed 4.5 hours of focused activity with no distractions. I personally try to do this 8 times a day, giving me 6 hours of focused activity. The rest of the time, I’m happy to time on Toggle (when working on projects) or catch up with friends online.
This may seem like a tough routine to get into, but it’s very simple once you’ve got it down.
Try it for 2 weeks and see the difference in your output… I guarantee you that, if you stick with it, you will probably see a x2 in your output, and this will help you keep on track with completing your goals.
No one can tell you what to do, or when to do it. It’s down to you to decide what’s important for your business, and how you are going to achieve it. If you know where you’re headed, it’s much easier to plan, visualise and achieve compared to having vague goals, or no goals at all.
Note: this post has been about your business only, but, you can (and should) do the same things with your personal life… after all, whats the point in working hard, and making loads of money if you can’t enjoy it? I prefer to keep my business and personal goals separate, but you can mix them together on the same 2015 plan if you like.
Let me know if you found this post helpful in the comments below, and if you’ve got any of your own tips, please share them with us