Confessions of a planner addict

Hi. My name is Maggie, and I’m a planner addict.

(This is a safe space for those sorts of confessions, yes?)

It’s all because I love setting goals. Okay. That isn’t entirely true. If we’re being confessional, I might as well let my Type-A, hyper-competitive colors shine: It’s not that I love setting goals. Nope. It’s that I love achieving goals.

But, you can’t achieve anything unless you’ve defined it first.

Hence, my planner addiction.

day planner
Yeah. That’s me. Hugging my planner.

This is on the top of my mind right now for two reasons. First, I recently joined a planning group on Facebook (yep, there are more of us!). Second, I start setting the next year’s goals in October. That gives me ample time to brainstorm and think everything through strategically. By the end of the current year, I have the entire next year mapped out.

Here’s a quick snapshot of how I goal plan:

Goals set for the whole year >> slated to be accomplished in specific months >> broken down into action items by week >> scheduled as “to dos” by day

Here’s a more detailed explanation of my process works: I start with scrap paper (I can’t have rough drafts in my pretty planner – final versions only!!) and jot down every single possible idea, project, partnership, and publication that I can imagine for my four main categories (freelance, OMD! blog, dogs, personal). This is a wide-open, no-judgement list. It doesn’t even have to be based in reality  (like, it’s perfect acceptable to write “Appear on Oprah,” even though her show is no longer – these are dreams). Reality comes next.

From there, I go category by category breaking the big ideas down into time frames: immediate, within the next year, within the next five years, and perhaps someday. I type up the five-year and someday goals.

Then, I tackle the immediate and year goals, breaking them down into individual projects. Like “Publish a Book” would be broken down into steps (come up with idea, research idea and other books on the market that are similar, craft an outline, research potential agents or publishers, and so on…), then I put a tentative date next to it. These dates are month only. Immediate projects get marked down for the first quarter. Longer term projects fill out the rest of the year.

If I need to rearrange or tweak anything, I do it here. Sometimes that includes eliminating projects or moving them from the year to the five-year sheet.

The end result is that all the projects I have slated for 2014 will be penciled into a month in my planner. When I approach each new month, I break those projects down into smaller action items by week then by day. I also have a list of dream projects that I can reference and add to as the year progresses.

Once all that is nailed down, I write it in my darling pretty planner!

And, of course, as the year progresses things change. But that’s what White-Out is for!

Are you a planner? What kind of system do you use to plan your year? Or, if you don’t use one, why not? 

New year, new you? Bah, humbug!

I’m not one for resolutions.

It seems counterproductive to create resolutions that are so easy to break. Instead, I focus on goals. With a busy year ahead, I spent the last week putting my goals down on paper and making my 2012 plan binder. In it, I list all my goals along with their deadlines, action steps, and any data required to complete the goal.

I have tabs for my freelance work, my dog blog, the two writing courses I teach face-to-face, the business writing e-course that will launch in the fall, training plans for all three of my dogs, and personal goals.

Excessive? Maybe.

But I know exactly what I want to accomplish this year – and, most importantly, how to accomplish it all.

With my plan binder next to my laptop, I’m excited and ready for a year filled with exciting writing projects, teaching, blogging, and so much more! How about you? Ready for 2012?

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