Seven Yearly Business Planning Tips for When You Don’t Feel Like It

Jan 2, 2020 | Organisation

Yearly Business Planning mug coffee
Yearly Business Planning mug coffee

Sometimes yearly business planning can feel really, really hard.  I know the feeling, whether you’re still in the current year or you’ve just gone into the new year and you’ve got still got loads and loads of things that you need to do. You can feel like you still want to enjoy the moment you’re in and feel a little apprehensive about the next twelve months. Even if you feel like this, you can still make some gentle plans to ease you in to yearly business planning, whether you’re starting at the beginning, or half way through.

So what’s the point in making a plan if you’re not even going to be able to stick to it in the first place? Well, there are some ways that you can make this easier on yourself: following some of the tips below, when you just don’t feel like planning, to get you out of that rut and actually enjoy planning your year. You might want to do this in January; you might want to do it before the year starts, but don’t stress because – no matter what – you can do it whenever you feel like it.

So here are my 7 top tips for yearly business planning when you really don’t feel like it.

1. Don’t stress about what everybody else’s business plans are

It’s really easy at this time of year to compare yourself to others and look at what everybody else is doing. You’re, no doubt, seeing on Instagram that everybody has these amazing plans for 2020. Comparing yourself to others is a sure-fire way to instantly feel like you don’t want to do any kind of yearly business planning because you’re overwhelmed by what everybody else’s plans are.

If this is how you’re feeling right now, take time away from social media and turn off notifications for those you don’t want to hear from right now. If you really do want to do some planning, remove yourself from those places that make you have Comparison-itis so that you don’t actually feel like you ought to be doing things that everyone else is doing.

Ultimately, you’ve got to do this in a way that is unique to you, otherwise, you’re just not going to do it, so stop comparing yourself to everybody else’s plans and actually start to investigate plans that you can start something that is going to work for you.

2. Plan when it feels right, not when you feel like you have to

Plans for the next year don’t have to start the year before but it does make sense if they do. If you’re reading this at the end of 2019 it’ll be near the end of the year but not quite in 2020, so have a think of a rough outline of ideas now or you might even have started planning earlier. You don’t have to feel like you’ve got 2019 in the bag to start making plans for 2020; but you might still have want to be focused on things for 2019 before you start planning.

There’s nothing wrong with yearly business planning in January, or February, or March or hey, even when you’re planning for an academic year – so planning from September to August if you’ve got children – which could work for you as well, so don’t feel like you have to do it at a certain time when everyone starts talking about it. Come September or October, everybody seems to start talking about how important it is to plan for the next year but if that doesn’t work for you: don’t stress. If you’d rather do it in January or February then that is what you should do – focus on the time that is right for you else you won’t benefit from it but start to jot some ideas down now to take the thoughts out of your head before you finish work for the holidays.

3. Find a way that works for you

Lots of the planners and calendars out there might feel too overwhelming if you’re feeling that ‘I-don’t-want-to-plan’-feeling. A whole-year diary or annual planner probably isn’t the best place for you to start, if you’re feeling like this. Instead, look for planners like the flexible Trello planning templates in the template shop that are going to be able to get down your thoughts without it feeling overwhelming. You don’t need to add everything to a plan so just go with the flow and use what is going to be helpful for you and ditch the rest. It is not a one size fits all process; find a way of planning that works for you.

If quarterly planning isn’t working, try the term planning calendar because this might be an easier way of planning and, whatever you do, just remember that you don’t have to do what everyone else is saying, remember that you can do your own thing. If you’re using the Trello boards, remember that you can simply archive and delete anything that you don’t need and add in anything else that is helpful for you onto the board. 


4. Don’t feel like you have to plan the entire year

Start by planning the next 3 months of time rather than the whole year, if planning for the year is just feeling far too overwhelming. Begin by getting some notes down on what it is that you want to do for the next three months, or even the next six weeks.

Having that focus, when you go into 2020 or the New Year, is going to help to focus you so, even if you don’t feel like planning for the whole year, just try and get down something to help you in that first section so that you’re not starting back to work after a holiday and wondering what on earth it is that you’re working towards. Think of the short term planning as helping yourself out and letting you switch off properly at the end of the year.

5. Re-frame it in your mind

Don’t think about it like ‘I am planning the year’ think about it from the place of ‘what did I love doing in my year that I can take forward?’ You don’t have to have a whole 1, 3 or 5 year plan laid out – I know that can feel really stressful – so, instead, have a little re-think around it and think about why it is that you don’t like planning: is it just because you just hate the idea of planning in general? Or is it that you’ve done planning things before and that’s felt really stressful? Once you’ve identified that trigger point you can spend some time unpicking it and then move forward to plan in a way that suits you best.

I know that the end of year or the beginning of a new one can feel overwhelming with things that you feel you ‘should´ be doing but by giving yourself the gift of forward thinking and getting some brief ideas down for a rough plan for the year, I promise that you will be find it much easier to switch off when you have breaks! And you know I love a break.

6. Do it with a friend

Still feel overwhelmed by it? You could find a group to do it with, coaches like Holly June Smith and Ruth Kudzi will sometimes run planning calls or session. Or find someone else who’s in a similar position to you and see if you can plan it together. It doesn’t have to be time intensive, it could be an hour together to go over ideas, or you could have a more formal time to meet every month or so. An accountability buddy as it were. Or you could even find someone who runs planning sessions.

Make it something fun you can do together and treat yourself to lunch while you do it perhaps, and visit a nice working space. Which leads me to point 7.

7. Make yearly business planning fun!

Planning doesn’t have to be a chore. Get yourself some treats, make a brew, get out to a new location. Do it with a friend, a la point 6. Get some big paper and jot down all your ideas, or draw them with different coloured pens. Make a vision board, or a Pinterest board. Or have some fun with some new Trello templates like the ones in my shop.

And remember that you run your own business, so YOU get to CHOOSE. Choose to make it more enjoyable. You get to decide. 

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 Hello 👋🏻 I'm Amanda, The Brand Un-Muddler!

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