Is it the first time you are intending to develop an annual or any type of personal plan? Developing a personal annual plan might lead to unexpectedly good results. Even though it might seem like a waste of time when it comes to actual planning, it will save you a lot of time when it comes to the action, implementation, and staying focused to what you do.
Personal plan will become almost inevitable if you have multiple projects or you want to achieve multiple goals in certain period of time. Setting your goals and designing the plan to achieve those will certainly help you to stay focused and avoid redundant tasks.
I will share the steps of personal annual planning and some tools you can benefit while planning, or tracking your plan. With the methods recommended you will be able to easily design your plan to achieve your goals, track and monitor your progress.
REVIEW YOUR PAST
You should break your planning into two phases. Firstly, you should review your past. It might be a spotlight on your previous year, or your entire past until now. Review carefully to understand what you have really achieved, and what you might have achieved you had done everything right. While you review your past, you should undoubtedly bear in mind your goals for the upcoming year. Try to answer the following questions while you look back on your past:
- What went well?
- What are the mistakes?
These questions will help to understand what you should continue doing, or what you should give up doing or change the way of doing it.
If you have a project or idea that promises a bright future which you have not paid sufficient amount of attention yet, do not give up on that idea. You just need to change your approach and strategy towards that idea. Try to tweak what you have been doing so far, improve the actions you have taken to run the project, be innovative, set a better plan and reach your goal, or get closer to it.
A fair and honest review of your past or previous year will help you develop a solid and reliable plan. Do not shilly-shally about this, and do not hesitate to ask your close friends about their opinions.
BUILD A NEW PLAN
There a few things you need to heed before you start planning.
Do not put a promise that you will break after week into your plan. Be realistic to yourself. Put only important things into your plan. Develop an action based plan and stay away from adding unnecessary literature into your list.
Do not add hazy and non-measurable goals into your plan. When it comes to a plan you need to be specific about what you will do to achieve your goals. The outcome of your goals or tasks should be measurable. For instance, “Make More Money”. Instead, you could say “Make 50k USDs”.
Do not add something you do not like as part of your plan. Your plan is your life. You should enjoy what you are doing. You can demonstrate flexibility to your plan to an extent, however you should not something you hate to your plan.
After you consider all of the mentioned above before you start the planning, you are ready! A lot readier than before. Now, you can start building your personal annual plan following the suggested steps below.
Step 1. Develop categories / projects
Developing individual categories will make it easier to plan and monitor the progress if you have multiple simultaneous goals you want to achieve.
Step 2. Set tasks / activities
Every goal should have two or three (more or less) key activities or milestones which needs to be accomplished on order to reach the desired outcome.
Step 3. Specify your deadlines
Be specific about the deadlines. But also be realistic when you set the deadlines to accomplish your tasks or milestones. Deadlines will help you stay alert and prioritize your activities.
If you want to follow your own style of planning, do not limit yourself to these steps. It is only recommended to bear in mind these steps and tips in order to make sure you cover all angles to create a good quality plan.
You can find a multiplicity of different tools, web apps, mobile apps, spreadsheets, and softwares that you can use to develop your personal plan and track the progress. I use Google Docs, Todoist and Excel spreadsheets to create my personal plans. You can also find Bitrix24, Teamweek, Wrike, and Any.do apps very useful.
Also, you can download and use my annual personal plan template Excel spreadsheet. You can customize, change and share as you wish. Download here!
If you have started to look for planning options it means you are busy person, both personally and professionally. I can assure you, no matter what method of planning you choose, or what tools you decide to use, planning will help you achieve astounding results.
You might want to give up on your plan time to time. It is very natural. I would strongly recommend on re-visiting your plan when you are in a better mood and continue tracking to progress of your annual plan every once in awhile.
You should be flexible. You can make your plan for the entire year, but you should be ready to change it every day, if necessary. You should take into consideration very fast changing environment around you. Adapting and responding to the changes and circumstances surrounding you is very crucial to make your plan work.