New Year, New You! Let me finish the Quality Street first 

It’s that time of year when we start looking back at what we’ve achieved and what we want to happen in the next 2023. We’ll still be munching on the Quality Street while all the ‘New Year, New You’ stuff is coming at us from every direction. I feel ahead of the game as I’ve already been having a think about what I’d like to happen in my business during the next twelve months. In fact, I don’t know why I’m surprised as I review my progress towards my goals every month! 
I’m talking about goals towards my business which I’m quite focused on. I know if I set my mind to do something and take consistent action, I can achieve most things. I’m never quite as focused with my personal goals though. Although for the past couple of years I have been better and monitored my personal goals more than before. It’s as if my head has only got so much space to dedicate to priorities and (like a lot of women) I still don’t always put myself at the front of the queue. 

Switching Off is Good for Business 

My business has the largest share of the headspace. Which has meant in the past I’ve found it hard to switch off. Despite loving my work, I do recognise, that in order to keep it going successfully AND continue enjoying it, that it’s definitely a good thing to have down time. Taking proper time off at the weekends and holiday times has been a real achievement this year. I’m patting myself on the back for that. Working fewer hours, and on my terms, has been good for my mental health and wellbeing. I think there’s often a worry that the business will suffer. It hasn’t. 
Because of taking proper breaks the majority of my personal goals for 2023 have actually been being ticked off the ‘ta da’ list. There has been a lot more time for my hobbies such as knitting, crochet and reading fiction. I’ve tried Pilates (did it for 6 months but didn’t enjoy it). I’ve taken up yoga classes and gone back to swimming regularly. I’ve made time to spend with family and friends. Paul and I have had days out, weekends away and a couple of holidays in Spain! Nice to have a post lockdown life back. 

Nothing is Permanent Except Change 

When it comes to planning, I have been thinking about lockdown and other things that have happened in the past few years. I’ve realised that the loss of both parents in a short space of time, and other things beyond my control, have all had an impact on my ability to think about longer term plans. I’ve been in a bit of a ‘what’s the point of thinking too far ahead mindset’. I’ve stopped myself from not only planning but also with my hopes and dreams. (Those back to the future letters from last week started me thinking.) 
I used to have a poster on my office wall that said, ‘Nothing is permanent except change’. It is the truest truth I can think of! Having talked things through with a couple of people I trust this week, I’ve decided I’m ready to change this outlook and to start dreaming again, not just for business, but for my personal life too. 

What Matters Most and Other Principles from Stephen Covey's 7 Habits 

I need to remind myself of the teachings from What Matters Most, the Franklin Covey personal leadership workshop I attended, back when my son was a toddler, and I worked for Virgin Cosmetics. It used the metaphor of a compass to remind you that where you are heading is more important than how fast you are going. It was all about discovering what you value most and what you want to accomplish with your work and home life. It was about beginning with the end in mind and putting first things first - as per the principles of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits. I will be revisiting my compass as I plan for 2023 and beyond. 
We were chatting in my mastermind group recently about how we plan and monitor progress for our businesses. Everyone had slightly different methods and systems, it was interesting. There are certain elements of the Franklin Covey training that I still rely on to this day in terms of planning my working week. I’ve adapted the system to fit what works best for me. I’m still very much a pen and paper planner and even treated myself to a magenta Filofax binder a couple of years ago! I buy the inserts and have created my own planner system that is adapted from the What Matters Most principles all those years ago! 
How I Plan for My Business 
Here's my planning method: 
I make a list of things I want to focus on for the year – business and personal 
I create a digital vision board representing those things in Canva and set it up as my screensaver 
I print out quarterly calendar sheets and block out regular time off/holidays. 
I write out goals – business and personal for the year based on point 1. The goals are written in such a way that I will know when I’ve achieved them. Some people call these SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timebound. 
Because I have a timeframe for my goals, I can plot them into my quarterly calendar sheets. This means I know what my focus is for each quarter. 
I have a month to view page in my diary that corresponds with the goals and dates plotted on the quarterly calendar. 
At the beginning of the month, I write goals based on the quarterly focus, which in turn is linked to the bigger picture items for the year. Everything filters down. 
At the beginning of each week, I organise my time based on what I need to do to prioritise the monthly goals. I leave lots of wriggle room for distractions (because I know what I’m like) and block out time for the weekly admin jobs etc. I have a week to view in my diary and use this for my daily task list. 
If time is not going to plan because of curve balls and unexpected challenges I revisit my weekly priority list. I ditch the desirable and only keep what’s essential on the list otherwise I get stressed and overwhelmed. I prefer to feel organised because then it leaves me room to be creative which I definitely need. 
The theory behind all of this is that my daily ‘ta da’ list is created by looking at the weekly, monthly, quarterly goals which are all generated from the yearly list of things I want to focus on. It all filters down from the bigger goals. 
If something isn’t done off the list, it gets shunted along. If it gets shunted along forever, then it’s obviously not a priority and can be dropped from the list. 
I monitor my progress by reviewing results at the end of each month. Things are then tweaked accordingly or carried over until the following month. If I were even more organised, I’d probably check in against my goals weekly. 
Blocking out time on my calendar for things like blog writing, keeping my accounts up to date etc. and the regular admin type stuff means I stay more organised too. I often don’t keep specifically to these times, but it means I do get it done without other stuff filling all my time. 
This way of working has evolved for me over the years, and it keeps me on track. 
Gamechanging Tip for Staying Organised 
The other key thing that I took from the Franklin Covey training was to ditch the post it notes and lots of little scraps of paper. This was a game changer! The thing I do now, and have done for years is to have ‘day book’. A bit like your ‘rough book’ you had at school, it is for notes, workings out, ideas etc. I use A4 ring bound notepads and have them going back to 2013! You could work through these notebooks and track the journey of business. One book usually lasts a few months, my writing is big, and I often draw diagrams and use them for mind mapping. I put the date on the front of them once they’re full and add them to the shelf. I’ve often gone back though to revisit notes on all those ideas that go on the back burner. 
So, there you have it, my Lisa Newport planning system – lol. (FYI Create planner/journal along with a card deck has been on my list for a couple of years now without happening maybe 2023 will be the year?) How do you plan for your work/life balance? Does any of this resonate with you? Hit reply and let me know how you tackle planning. 
Tagged as: How to..., Love Yourself
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