Its January, and if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to be thinking about the year ahead. For some this is an arduous process, fraught with deep thinking and a million post-its: resulting in an over complicated document that never sees the light of day until this time next year. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’ve spoken before about a simple planning methodology. I use a version of this for my annual planning. The simplicity of it not only makes it a joy to do, but it results in a motivating and practical plan for the period covered. Simply put, it has 6 steps

  1. What were your successes?
  2. What areas do you want to change?
  3. For each: What difference do you want?
  4. What do you know you’ll need to do?
  5. What are the first few steps?
  6. Plan them in.

The first step is vital here. Too often we start the year looking at only the challenges we face. By looking back over the year, focusing only on whatever successes you have had, you go into the whole process more positively. Then by brainstorming all the areas in your life/work that you want to change, you make sure you spread the net wide. This is a holistic planning process, not limited to one aspect.

When you break each one down into the difference that you want to see, and what you’ll need to do, you are opening up the creative process. This is one of the steps that builds the motivation to change and helps make sure you will do things differently.

The last 2 points address  the things that normally make plans fail. Firstly, only figure out, in any detail, the first few steps. There is no point understanding every single detail of everything you will need to do: just the first few. Then take what ever system you use for productivity (I use GTD) and plan those first few steps in.

I have done this for myself for 2013, and will post some of the work that is specific to this blog.

Planning is one of those things that we feel we should do, but more people than not, have experience of it being wasted time. Keep it simple and make a real difference in 2013.

Join the discussion. Tell me about your planning for 2013. If you found this post interesting and/or useful, then please share it using the social media links. Subscribe to be kept up to date with new posts.