How to plan your most productive month the easy way
Planning is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal if you want to get stuff done. However, it’s something a lot of business owners shy away from. Let’s take a look at planning your most productive month the easy way.
How to Plan Your
Most Productive Month Ever!
Do you find planning a chore?
I know that when I talk about planning most people roll their eyes and switch off. It’s not the most glamorous thing in the world, I get that, but with a bit of practice, planning can be a total game changer as far as getting stuff done in your business is concerned.
I used to hate planning the month ahead
I realise this is an odd thing to say when I clearly love getting organised and I enjoy creating projects, scoping out ideas and forming lists (oooh I do love a good list). But when it came to planning what I was going to do in my business for the next 4 weeks I had a big block stopping me each month.
I know that planning ahead;
- Can be the difference between achieving your goals and not
- Will take the pressure off and reduce anxiety and stress
- Gets things done quicker, on time and with greater efficiency
And it’s for these reasons that I make sure that I plan the month ahead of me without fail.
And it’s also for these reasons that I host a live planning event at the start of each month with the members of my Zen Productivity Club. (find out more here)
How to plan the month ahead
Reviewing the previous month
There are a couple of questions to ask yourself at this point.
How was your month?
Before you plan ahead it’s important to review the month gone by.
We do this to:
- Make sure we don’t continue doing things which no longer serve us
- Acknowledge our achievements and successes
- Recognise what’s working so we can replicate it throughout our business
- Identify where we might be wasting time
- Work out what needs to be improved
- Identify any lessons we may have learned along the way (both good and bad)
What was your business income?
As part of this review, it’s also important to review our business finances. Now I know that this is something a lot of business owners hate to do. However, making this a monthly habit allows you to:
- Make decisions in your business about things such as investing, outsourcing or expanding
- Set income goals for future months to cover your expenses and obtain the profits you would like to see
- Analyse your expenses and make sure your only paying for things you need
- Watch as you exceed your income goals month after month as setting financial targets keeps you focused on the steps you need to take to achieve them
- Keep on top of your finance admin month after month making the end of your tax return simple to do - (if this was a nightmare for you last year; then this is the opposite of that!)
What do your stats look like?
When reviewing the previous month, it’s important to track your stats.
These include things such as:
- Email list size
- Website visitors
- Podcast listeners
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest followers
- YouTube subscribers
The stats you track could be anything at all as long as the numbers are relevant to your business.
For example; you might set yourself a goal to grow your email list by 500 sign ups next month, making tracking your list size necessary. By doing this each month, you can review what has worked well as a list builder in the past and replicate it. Or if list building hasn’t yet been a major focus for you, then your stats give you a starting point, and as you experiment with ways to build your list, you can analyse what works and what doesn’t. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about the return you get for your efforts, the easier things become.
Planning the month ahead
We now move onto my favourite part of this exercise which is planning the month ahead.
I like to break this down into a couple of different parts, so let’s take a look.
What’s your primary focus?
Your primary focus is the main thing you want to accomplish for the month ahead. Now I know that you will have more than one thing to focus on, however, having a primary focus helps to make sure your attention is in the right place all month.
For example, your primary focus could be to increase your email list by 500 sign-ups. So the actions you take all month are working towards that goal. You can be trying lots of different way’s to achieve this goal, but the focus is still the same all through the month.
What are your top goals and projects?
In addition to your primary focus, you will have other goals and projects on the go. Now, it’s important to limit these because if we have too many goals, we tend to achieve none of them, and that doesn’t feel good at the end of the month. I like to set myself around three to four.
In the past, these have included goals such as:
- Review my Facebook posting schedule
- Start a new podcast series
- Change website to a .com from .co.uk
- Use my Bullet Journal for a whole month and review my progress
- Engage daily on Twitter
Can you see how these are smaller than my primary focus but still significant goals to achieve over a month?
What do you regularly do in your business?
Each month I review the list of things I regularly do in my business to make sure that it’s still something I need to be doing. Very often we continue to do things just because we always have done. However, if you take a look at your regular task list each month and ask yourself ‘does this bring anything to my business, and should I continue with it?’ this will help to identify and remove any time-wasting tasks.
In my business, my regular task list looks a bit like this:
- Daily: Engage on social media and achieve inbox zero
- Weekly: Blog, newsletter and podcast
- Weekly: Schedule social media to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Monthly: Review my business finances and plan the month ahead
What’s your financial goal?
As we have already reviewed our finances for the previous month, it’s important to set an income goal for the month ahead.
The way I like to do this is to:
- First, have a minimum income goal - this is the amount I need to earn to cover all of the expenses in my business each month
- Next, I have a profit goal - this is the amount over and above the income needed to cover my monthly expenses
- Add these together - and this gives a total income goal for the month ahead
It’s important to now work out how you plan to achieve this goal.
For example, let’s say I want to achieve a total income goal of £1000.
In my business, I sell my time in the form of 1-2-1 business support, and I sell a digital product with group coaching in the form of membership to my club. From this, I can now work out how many 1-2-1 sessions I need to sell and how many members I must have in my club to achieve my income goal. And the answer to this is my target for the month ahead.
When it’s broken down in this way, it’s not as scary as it first seems, is it?
How do you fancy planning your most productive month with me?
I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Zen Productivity which is my membership club. On the first Tuesday of every month I’m live inside the Facebook group and we get together to plan your most productive month.
I’ve created a workbook which I use each and every month myself and it’s the result of the planning block I mentioned at the start. I knew I needed something which would lead me through reviewing my previous month and planning the month ahead.
There’s a copy of this workbook waiting for you inside the member’s area right now.
During the live planning event, I fill out my workbook while you complete yours and you can also ask me any questions along the way.
If you can’t make the event live, then that’s not a problem either as the live video is available to watch inside the membership group, plus I’m in the group each day to answer any questions you might have.
As I mentioned Zen Productivity is a monthly membership club, and it costs £15 a month to join. Your membership is completely under your control, and you can cancel at any time with no questions asked.
To find out more about what’s in the club this month and how to join, just click the link below.
I hope you can join me for your most productive month ever!
Have a super productivity day.
What's holding you back from planning your most productive month?
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