This is part one of a three-part series on seasonal planning as a creative entrepreneur featuring my annual planning workbook, The Creative’s Almanac.
Prior to creating The Creative’s Almanac, my plan for a new year was usually built on my hopes and dreams:
Wouldn’t it be great if I could accomplish this? Life would be grand if I could only do that one thing…
…And that was about it. I had very little action built into my ‘plan’ filled with big ideas for the future.
It took me a while to realize there’s nothing wrong with big dreams as long as they’re backed with an intentional plan.
Now, intentional planning is not just being intentional about making a plan. It’s not just setting aside time to sit down and think, which I know is what many of us creatives would love to spend our days doing. Instead, intentional planning means creating a strategic, well-thought-out plan that takes into account your past, what you want for your future, and where you are now. It’s a focused set of actions to take that will actually move the needle in your business instead of leaving you spinning your wheels wondering what to work on come January 2.
So, how do you create an intentional plan?
First things first, you need a long-term vision. This is your ultimate destination and where your big dreams come in. Let your creative muse take you wherever she wants to. Envision what could be possible for your life and business in the next ten years.
CHART YOUR COURSE
Second, big dreams are good but you’ll need some kind of map to get there. Consider two things that can help chart your course: a halfway point and a short term action plan to get there.
The halfway point marks, obviously, the halfway point between where you are now and where you ultimately want to go. Reaching that halfway point makes the long-term 10-year vision that much more possible to attain.
But you’re still left in the same position — a relatively far-off goal and no road map to get to that point. So think in terms of planning for the current or upcoming year. What are the things you could accomplish in the next 365 days that make sense leading towards your halfway point?
Let’s go one step further. Take the next three months of your life, and figure out what you can do in 90 days that will inch you closer to the one-year vision.
And then season by season, you return to your one-year and five-year visions and decide what needs to happen next.
Short-term action aimed at long-term vision.
This is intentional planning. Or, at least the first part of an intentional plan. The Creative’s Almanac, an annual planning workbook for creatives, guides you through this intentional planning process piece by piece.
For more on seasonal planning, check out parts two and three of this series. Part II involves truly understanding why this system can work for creatives (even though it is essentially corporate quarterly planning wrapped up with a more creative bow), and what life looks like without it. Stay tuned for more!