Planning is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve always been more of a planner than a spontaneous doer, so I especially like this time of the year because it is the perfect time to do a mid-year review and make any necessary adjustments to your annual plan so you can make the rest of the year the best of the year!
I typically use 4 simple planning tools that I will be sharing in today’s post:
1. Yearly Planner
The first tool you will need to review and plan for the rest of year is a Yearly Planner Wall Calendar. I use the At-A-GLANCE® Yearly Planner The great thing about a wall calendar is that you have an aerial view of your year in front of you all the time, so there is never a question as to what your year looks like because it is on your wall.
Also, because it is a dry erase calendar it is easy to change, remove and add things as the year progresses. I use four different marker colors to plan different activities for the year:
- Black is for my content and communication I plan the topic/theme for each month and when all my blog posts will be posted and my emails will go out and place those items in black on my calendar.
- Blue is for birthdays. I highlight all my close friends and family members birthdays on the calendar so I know when I need to send birthday cards or if I need to plan around those dates for any special birthday plans.
- Red is for vacations. I absolutely love the red in my calendar because it reminds of the times of the year when I get to stop and enjoy quality time with family. I plan red in my calendar at least four times a year.
- Green is for business events. I plan the large conferences, seminars, workshops I will be attending for the year. I look forward to these events because I love to learn and connect to other business owners and these events allow me to do that.
The whole process takes less than one hour to plan out the entire year with content, communication, birthdays, vacations, and business events. During a mid-year review, it is a perfect time to adjust your yearly planner to make changes to any of these categories, by removing, adding or changing items.
2. Monthly Calendar
Once the year is planned, up next is the month. The tool I like to use for my monthly planning is a Google Calendar. Although the wall calendar has already helped me to plan out many activities and events for each month, my Google Calendar allows me to plan out the smaller monthly events like one-on-one meetings, conference calls, networking meetings, etc.
I use Google Calendar because it is sooo super easy and it connects to everything, unlike my wall calendar which is only in view when I am in my home office, the Google calendar is with me everywhere I go. If I am working remotely on my laptop I can access my Google Calendar, if I am on my smartphone, I can access my Google Calendar. It also connects to my ScheduleOnce appointment scheduling system, so when people make meeting appointments with me online, it is automatically synced to my Google Calendar. This makes my life super easy and allows me to manage my monthly activities all in one place.
3. Marketing Calendar
In addition to a wall calendar and my Google Calendar, I also have a Marketing/Editorial Calendar. This calendar is super important to keep you organized and consistent when it comes to your marketing activity. The tool I use for my marketing calendar is CoSchedule. CoSchedule is an awesome online tool that allows you to schedule all your marketing activity in one place. This includes things like blog posts, emails, podcasts, webinars, articles, events, anything marketing related can be added and scheduled in your CoSchedule calendar. It also acts as a social media scheduling tool, so you can use it to schedule out your social media campaigns and the results of your social media campaigns will automatically show up in the CoSchedule calendar. It is a super awesome tool and I highly recommend it!
4. Daily To-do List
Once my year has been planned on my wall calendar, and my monthly activities are scheduled in my Google Calendar, and my marketing activity has been planned in my CoSchedule Calendar, the last and final planning tool is my daily to do list. The daily to-do list is based on the activities and events planned on my wall calendar, the meetings planned in my Google Calendar, and the marketing projects on my CoSchedule Calendar. I use the AT-A-GLANCE® Planning Notebook to write out my daily to-do list.
In the past I have used just a regular notebook, but this year I decided to use the At-A-GLANCE one.The notebook allows me to plan my day hour-by-hour. I simply put the date at the top of the page, block off the day by hours and list what my priorities are for that day including projects, meetings, content, etc.
So that’s it, my four simple planning tools to make the rest of the year the best of the year. What tools do you use to help with planning your year? Share your tools in the comments below.