There’s nothing that makes me more excited than a good afternoon of quarterly planning. A clear list of priorities and activities to focus on for the next 3 months.
That’s why at the start of every quarter, I create a quarterly plan to stay on track with my goals & continue crushing them. I love quarterly goals and plans because it is a short enough period to pivot if you need to. But it’s also a long enough period to take action and make progress.
Instead of having 10 goals to work on at the start of the year, why not have 3 goals to work on at the start of each quarter? This process is also way less overwhelming for me, and makes sense if you want to make bite-sized progress consistently over time.
I call them 90-day sprints but basically, a quarterly plan is an implementation plan. It helps you stay on track to achieving your short-term business goals.
Here are some of the amazing benefits of creating quarterly plans:
- Help you stay focused with fewer goals to work on each quarter
- Easy to pivot during the year if things don’t work out as planned after one quarter
- Quarterly planning makes it easier to break down your goals into specific months and weeks
- Creating a 3-month plan will help you keep laser-focused on your priorities as you have a short amount of time to complete your priorities
- It helps you get realistic with your time and whether you have overplanned your quarter
- When done efficiently, it’s so much easier to start taking action with a quarterly plan, than when you are just working aimlessly
Before we get into the details on how to create a quarterly plan, I want to share a few misconceptions about planning that you should stop believing:
- Planning is a waste of time – I could spend that time doing the actual work. It is a waste of time if you don’t use the plan to guide your actions
- Planning is only effective at the start of the year. You can create a quarterly plan anytime of the year, as long as you follow through on it.
How to create a quarterly plan
Step 1: Brain dump
Use a clean white paper and literally write down all the projects or activities you want to do for your business in the next 3 months
Step 2: Circle out the 3 most important projects
This is where you will need to exercise your judgement, intuition and experience in selecting the projects that you feel are the most critical in getting closer to your goals. If you are struggling to decide on what to focus on, you could get some help from a coach to help you.
Step 3: Block out your big rocks
Got any important events happening in your personal/business/work life? Block them out on your calendar so that you map out your priority projects with these dates in mind. You don’t want to launch something big in your business a week after your kids birthday. Use your big rocks to space out your projects so that you have enough time to get things done without overplanning yourself.
Step 4: Map out your top priority projects in a calendar
I use a big re-writable calendar that I got from a local book store. You can get yours at amazon.com or use a digital calendar too.
I love paper calendars, because I get to write everything out and see if my projects fit into my available time. It’s a great visual tool.
Step 5: Write down your mile markers for each project
Quarterly planning can be quite overwhelming if you don’t break up your goals into mini-goals. These are what I call ‘mile markers or ‘milestones’. What are those important milestones in your projects? Write them down and use them to map out when you want to reach them.
Step 6: Create a monthly implementation plan
Before the start of the quarter, create a weekly plan for each of the next 12 weeks. This way, you know what your 1 thing is going to be each week. You can use this free guide to get your weekly and monthly planning templates. You can then prioritize that one thing into your most productive business hours
Step 7: Track your progress
What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done. Therefore, track your progress with your quarterly plan on a weekly basis. If you are only working on 1 project at a time (and I highly recommend you do this instead), then track the KPIs that are related to that project
Step 8: Plan out your social media content plan
Once you know when you are going to have major events/launches, you can then plan out your social content so that it is aligned with the seasons/ events in your business.
At this stage, you only need to write down 12 weekly themes. At the start of each week, you can go into the details and start creating your posts, but you don’t need to do that now.
Step 9: Take time to reflect
What is working and what isn’t? Can you do more of what is working and scale back on what isn’t working? Do you need to tweak the things that aren’t working and see if you can make them work? Do you need to pivot? These are all questions that you should ask yourself at the end of the quarter, and do an honest evaluation of how well you have performed.
Remember to focus on the process, and the results will work out themselves. Don’t be too fixated on the results.
Need help creating a solid quarterly plan your business? Join my free community on Facebook by clicking on this link where we plan our business activities every month in a free live workshop. Workshop is exclusive to group members only!