If you want to succeed in life, in the big things in life, you need a plan. Easy enough to say, right? If you also want to succeed in the smallest things in life, having a plan is a good idea too. And I have discovered the best way to have a plan, to create a plan, is by writing it down, making it with your hands, and not a computer. Go old school, take your time, so you feel more invested in the plan.
I will be honest with you. I am not one for plans. I am not good at making them, and I am not good at using them. I know the process of creating a content plan for others, I even have a worksheet I make my clients fill in for me – http://www.matthewfarmer.com.au/linkedin-products/download-resources/. And yet, for me, I haven’t been able to plan things out. Why is this?
While I could say it has to do with the creative side of myself, the need to be spontaneous. However, looking harder at myself, there is this gap of confidence in what I do as a business. I don’t know how long I will be able to keep up the freelancing lifestyle. If I plan to do all these things, what happens if clients drop off? What was that famous quote? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail? Good old Benjamin Franklin And strangely enough, he is true, in a sense. While I am not failing, I am certainly not rocketing to the heights of success… yet.
1. Giving you self confidence
The mere act of planning can give you a confidence boost. You now have something to do, a goal to aim for, something you can measure success by. It can make you start to believe that you’re still going to be in the business by the time your 6 month, 12 month, 5 YEAR plan, comes together. And, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, by planning to succeed, you can easily heighten your chances of actually succeeding.
2. Plans can Change, and this is a good thing.
Sometimes, in the creation of a plan, ideas will pop up, only once you’ve started planning. In the example of the blog plan I give my clients, once you start thinking of subjects to write about, often that leads to the next, and the next and the next. So what started out as- oh I don’t know, let’s just talk about *this*, turns into – and after that, can we write about this? And then this?
As long as the change in direction, the changes you make, still take you forward, still give you growth, it’s okay.
3. Write it by Hand
I find this piece of advice important.
The Radicati Group estimated that, in February 2015 the number of emails sent, per day, to be around 205 Billion, which translates to about 2.4 million emails PER SECOND. (Read the article here)
Electronic communication through emails, instant messaging, SMS, and whatever other ways we can communicate online, with so much ease, has devalued the medium of writing in some sense. It is so easy to write an email, to fill in a To Do List on an app, create an online calendar to remind us of stuff to do. But eventually it gets lost in the online clutter.
This is why I insist on hand writing your plan. You invest more of yourself, your time, the pain in the wrist of so much writing, that you will value the plan a lot more. Plus, pinning a piece of paper to the wall means it won’t get lost in the inbox.
I wrote out a 6 month blogging plan for both Wonderdog and my Author Self, and posted a photo of it online – HERE. These plans sit in the pocket of my Writer’s Journal, somewhere I will not forget them. I now know what I am going to be writing for the next 6 months, rather than thinking the night before my newsletter is due- what will I writer? Which leads me to point number 4:
4. Planning decreases Stress.
Why did Steve Jobs always wear the same trousers and skivvy? So he didn’t have to waste brain power and energy on what he is going to wear. If you spend your energy planning out to 6 months, a year, then you don’t have to worry and stress about what you’re going to do. You have a plan, a direction. All you need to do is implement the different parts of your plan, and you already know how to do that.
Planning, especially at the start of the year, is a powerful way to get in the mood to work, to be in business. It will give you a purpose and a direction for the next however many months or years your plan is long.
If you feel content marketing, a blog and a newsletter, needs to be a part of your plan, we can have a chat, I can be your content muse, help you plan your story, and help you write it.
Here’s to planning on a good year.