You’ve most likely heard this one before, but trust me keep reading you’ll want to focus and take note!

For some people, planning is one of those tedious tasks, and for those who are not the best planners it sometimes feels like one more roadblock between you and your goal.

The fact that your excited and want to start working on whatever it is that you have in mind is a good thing. Keep that enthusiasm! And at the same time, know that passion without preparation can be disastrous. In order to make sure you don’t run straight into a brick wall and lose all of your steam altogether, dial it back a bit, take a deep breath and take some time to plan.

Think of your business as driving. Taking time to create a plan means you’ll have a critical route map on your GPS before you begin the road trip towards your goal. There’s nothing more tiring than being forced to make decisions at every corner, analyzing the pros and cons as you go along. You also don’t want to just wing it, spending endless hours lost going around in circles, taking random turns, only to find you’ve hit a dead end and need to make a u-turn.

Although you may end up at your destination eventually, this approach wastes valuable time … and the chance that you’ll make it to the finish line by your deadline is slim at best.

I’ll be real with you – planning won’t solve all your problems. It won’t ensure a bump-free ride. You will encounter roadblocks, potholes and unforeseen challenges. But if you take the time to prepare yourself with a little roadmap, you’ll have clarity about which direction to move in, and the minor detours you take along the way will be nowhere near as disorienting and interruptive as needing to change your route altogether!

Okay, so you’ve decided to give this planning thing a try. Now you’re asking: So how do I get started?

Here are some simple steps to help you start the crucial process of planning:

• Establish an End Goal. Your destination. Ask yourself what you hope to achieve. Be as clear and concise as possible. This is not a list of things – it’s that single light source at the end of the tunnel.
• Create Mini-Goals. Break your end goal down into the small checkpoints along the way. Think of it like driving from one major town cross-country to another. You need to know which little towns are on the way to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. (They also give you an excuse for mini-celebrations!)
• Determine Your Actions. Under each mini-goal, list at least one concrete to-do you can tick off.
• Troubleshoot. Then list one thing that could go wrong and decide in advance what counter-action you can take.
• Map the Route. With all this information in hand, it’s time to commit to a course! Don’t allow yourself to feel daunted. You’ve already got all the pieces. You just need to put them together. And remember that if you need to change course along the way, you’re doing it with all the other steps in mind. As you course correct, ask yourself whether the new steps you’re adding fit in with your main goal and mini-goals.

Want to make planning simple for yourself? Set aside a dedicated space of time for the planning process. You don’t want to rush it, but you don’t want to take too long and lose your steam.

You’ll have to follow your gut on this – with time, your planning process will be like second nature.

Once your planning is done, get started right away. While planning is important try your best not to over think the last thing you want to do is get caught up in planning paralysis.

Just remember a little planning goes a long way!

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