The planning frenzy begins each December and continues right through into the New Year. As business owners, we can feel an immense pressure to take time out of our normal activities to put plans in place for the year ahead.

Of course, planning is an essential part of being in business but with so much noise on social media and endless emails about planning dropping into your inbox you can easily end up feeling overwhelmed. The panic that sets in keeps you stuck and any planning you manage to do will probably not be your best work.

I’ve found myself sucked into the planning frenzy in past years and it’s never resulted in my best work. In fact, there have been times I’ve found myself making a plan in December out of obligation and then throwing it out of the window in the New Year and starting again with a plan that is much more strategic and of more value to my business.

The New Year doesn’t have a monopoly on planning!

Only 8% of people achieve their New Year goals (according to a study by the University of Scranton).

Just like New Year’s resolutions, if you’re making plans out obligation because everyone else seems to be doing it and they’re saying you need to too, then you may be setting yourself up for a fail. Your heart won’t truly be in it and the plans you make may be fueled by panic.

A few years back I made the decision to sidestep the December / January planning frenzy and choose a timetable of my own which suits me and my business much better. My financial year runs in line with the tax year (April – March in the UK) so my end of year review and planning for the new year happens in those months instead. I still like to do a mini review at the end of the calendar year and I’ll start to mull over my goals for the new year but I avoid putting pressure on myself to get all my planning done before breaking up for Christmas. Not only does this work alongside my financial year, I also find that I can plan more productively and strategically in March. After all, December is a month of excitement in anticipation for Christmas, I’m looking forward to taking some time off and January is a busy month for supporting my clients.

The point is, you have a choice when to plan. You don’t have to do it right now if it doesn’t feel right for you or your business.

Planning doesn’t have to be a one-time thing

Whatever time of year you decide to review and plan, I also want you to know that you don’t have to tackle it all in one go.

For me, sitting down and creating a plan that touches on every aspect of my business in one go simply doesn’t work. It ends up being a stuffy ‘business plan’ type document that gets filed away and never used to take action. I’ve also tried using planners in the past but even those feel too forced for my liking and I find myself answering questions in the planner that don’t really have any bearing on my business.

Instead of tackling every aspect of your business in one go, you can break your planning down into chunks. I like to start with reviewing my vision for the business because that’s my filter for every decision I make, but after that, the process is pretty fluid. I’ll look at which areas of my business need attention first and then take it from there. Doing it this way allows me to be much more focused in my planning whilst also having an eye on the bigger picture.

I’ll also carry on reviewing and planning throughout the year… it’s for life, not just for Christmas

Find your own way

There’s no one, set way that you have to use to make plans for your business.

If December and January feel like the perfect time for you to plan then embrace it. If you love planners then treat yourself to a gorgeous planner and make use of it.

But, if all the talk of New Year planning makes you feel like rebelling, then rebel! Make your own decision about when you’re going to plan and find a way to do it that actually works for you and will inspire you to take action long after the planning frenzy has died down.

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