It’s in the end of 2020, and that means a heavy push to jump into 2021 with a PLAN.
I don’t know about you, but even my type-a self can struggle with that concept. I talked about it here, but creating an ANNUAL PLAN in my biz isn’t something I like to do. BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t want to visually see what’s happening when.
It’s important for small biz owners to analyze what’s working and what’s not working and then create an Annual Outline based on revenue projections, your current offers & your dreams!
But HOW do you do this practically?
When I first started using an Annual Calendar (see mine here!), I found I wanted a roadmap. I bought all the supplies (my faves are linked here), and got out my End of Year Review Worksheet (training + worksheet found here!) …. and then stared at an empty calendar. 👀
I felt stuck & overwhelmed with all the white space. I worried I would write down the “wrong dream” or not document something on the calendar like I should.
I wanted to fill my calendar with color-coded goodness and let the FEAR of messing up or doing it WRONG stop me from doing it.
The end result?
📆 A blank calendar all year long.
📆 A lack of direction for my biz goals.
📆 A sense of overwhelm when I double + triple booked my time.
📆 Burnt out, frustration & questioning “why am I doing this?” when it came to biz projects.
Using a Printable Calendar in your biz is important because having clarity, direction and focus is what will move the needle forward on your business.
Reels, Youtube strategy & a perfect website will only get you so far. If you don’t have a visual of what you’re ACTUALLY doing in your business, you’ll spin your wheels on project after project and move FURTHER away from your biz goals.
An Annual Calendar is TOOL you should leverage to help you make dreams happen, ALL year long!
For my Type A friends — Follow my roadmap so you can lean into your planning strength & make the most out of 2021 planning!
For my Type B friends — I promise annual planning can be FUN! 😉 Use this as a step=by-step process so you find clarity & direction in 2021!
How To Use Your Printable Calendar
Step one: print the calendar!
If you grab my calendar, you receive 2 sizes: letter and poster. Letter can be printed on your home printer & is perfect for your desktop, kitchen, etc.! Poster is 24×36 and needs to be professionally printed.
I use Staples, but I know FedEx, Office Depot and similar stores are able to print it, too. (Once you purchase I share a BTS video of how to order online via Staples!)
🎓 Pro Tip: Select “blueprint” when you print it for the most cost effective printing option – I printed the full color option & it was just $6.30!
Step two: decide how extra you’re gonna be 😉
I went all out & framed my calendar (another reason why paper quality isn’t as important when printing!). Here are some options of how you can display yours:
- Frame it (here’s the one I use!)
- Laminate it (when you print it, have them laminate it!)
- Hang it on the wall with washi tape
How you display your calendar will determine the physical supplies you use when organizing it (keep reading for those details!)!
Step three: grab your supplies! ✒
I wrote an entire blog post explaining the supplies I use; read it here! (I can’t suggest my pens enough if yours is framed or laminated!)
Step four: decide just what you’re using it for!💡
You can use a printable calendar for a variety of things in your biz (or your life!).
- Yearly Planning
- Quarterly Goal Setting
- Content Planning (I use quarterly for this!)
- Launch Calendar (I use quarterly for this!)
- Homeschool Calendar (quarterly would be great for this!)
- Overall Family Calendar (birthdays, trips, appointments, etc.)
Because we’re ending 2020, let’s talk specifically about using the calendar for Yearly Planning (and how the Yearly Planning calendar works hand in hand with the Quarterly Planning calendar!).
Yearly Planning How-To’s
If you haven’t yet, read THIS POST where I break down How to Create 2021 Annual Plan (that you can actually stick to!). This will give you a great head start as you fill out your calendar!!
In terms of the supplies to have on hand: I use color-coded sticky notes to differentiate what’s happening on the calendar. I will also use my Expo pen to write my Monthly Focus. (Remember, all my supplies are linked here!)
Now, you The FIRST thing you’re going to want to mark off is TIME specific events + dates.
Start with PERSONAL – birthdays, vacations, special events, etc.
Then move into BUSINESS – anything in person with little to no wiggle room (weddings, sessions already on the books, conferences, etc.)
I use 2 different colors for this – purple for personal & blue for business.
Once you see the physical dates on the calendar, mark TIME OFF!
^^ This step is REALLY important when it comes to creating margin in your work. Is there a particular month you know you want to be slower? Mark it. Is there a week you want to block off for a “staycation”? OR a week you want to block off just to dream + create (AKA no client work)? Mark it! In 2019, I took an entire sheet of paper & put it over the month of December so I’d remember how special that season is for me & force myself to not add work to-do’s!
If my time off is personal (meaning no work), I use my personal color (purple). If my time is a workaction (no client work yet a slower or “project mode” week), I use blue!
After you mark all the physical TIME on your calendar, it’s time to move forward with launches.
For many of you in the digital biz, you know how important is it to “launch” – whether it’s a new product or a sale of an old, it’s usually vital for your biz revenue & something that should be planned for.
Launch dates, however, are more arbitrary than Time dates. While they are important, yes, they are also self-imposed. In most cases, if you need to move them by a week or two you can! This is why I start with Time dates FIRST, then create a Launch schedule AFTER.
I use pink for launch! (You can also use different colors for each launch – example: if you launch a course twice per year, make it pink both times. If you host a sale (I consider this a type of launch), make that yellow. Now when you look at your calendar you can see colors to delegate each offer!
Once TIME and LAUNCH have been marked on the calendar, I write in my MONTHLY FOCUS for each Month.
What is Monthly Focus? Monthly Focus is your biz focus for the month. It’s a way for you to clearly see where you want your extra energy to go, and a great way to ensure you’re working ON your business not just IN your business!!
I want to see TIME and LAUNCHES on my calendar BEFORE deciding on my focus BECAUSE time directly affects what’s physically going on in that month for me, and launches are usually correlating with biz revenue & therefore important, too!
Examples of a Monthly Focus:
- Email List Growth
- Client Launches
- Course Launch
If your Monthly Focus is EMAIL LIST GROWTH then you know that you want to focus your biz to-do’s on LIST GROWTH tasks!! Creating a lead magnet & writing weekly nurture emails are a few biz to-do’s you can focus on in the month that will (hopefully) help to grow your list!
If your Monthly Focus is CLIENT LAUNCHES then you’re being a smart biz owner & acknowledging that for this particular month, your client work is so large it takes the lead! You want to serve them in the best way possible and that means NOT getting distracted with other projects & spreading yourself too thin!!
Having a Monthly Focus helps you evaluate what worked and what didn’t at the end of the month! If my Focus is my client work, then I want to lean heavily into that and NOT WORRY about list growth, launching a course, etc… Acknowledging your Monthly Focus BEFORE the month begins can help you beat the comparison game of “coulda shoulda woulda” and instead focus solely on what YOU have determined is the most important for your biz during that time frame!!
Pro Tip: I evaluate my Monthly Focus on a quarterly basis – every three months – instead of a yearly basis. When writing your Monthly Focus, zero in on the first 6 months of the year (or just the first 3)! Do NOT stress over creating your Monthly Focus for the entire year.
Your calendar should be filling up with sticky notes & your Monthly Focus!! 🎉 Here’s when I tend to leave my Yearly Calendar alone, and niche down with my Quarterly Calendar. (Learn my Quarterly Planning process here!)
I use my Quarterly Calendar to break down the 3 month time period since I can clearly see my Monthly Focus, Time constraints & Launch goals.
Things that I may include on my Quarterly Calendar:
- Monthly Focus to-do’s (whether it’s client work or “on the biz” projects!)
- Launch to-do’s (keeping Launch Goals noted on the Yearly Calendar in mind)
- Marketing Plan (organize your overall content calendar)
Every three months, I create my Quarterly Plan and revisit what I have on my Yearly Calendar. The two work hand in hand all year long & give you the VISUAL you need to organize biz projects, see biz goals and analyze what works & what doesn’t work!!
Ready to get your 2021 planning on? Grab the Ultimate Calendar Bundle here!
Pin an image below for easy-access! 📌