Joanne Sumner is a Yoga & Wellness Studio Owner based in Ealing, and attends the Ealing groupJoanne Sumner Wellbeing Studio

Welcome to a new year! I hope 2017 was excellent for you, but even if it wasn’t we get to use the new year as an opportunity to start over and my job is to help you master your 2018 ninety days at a time. So if there are any lingering gripes and niggles from last year, let them go completely once and for all, and let’s start 2018 with a fresh slate!

My goal in this blog is to encourage you to change the way you plan your business if you are not already a 90 day planner. If you are, there may be some suggestions that allow you to tweak and improve your existing process.

Why 90 days? Because we have a tendency to overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in three or five. Rockefeller worked on the basis that you plan your 3 – 5 year strategy and then you plan your operations in quarters (Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Verne Harnish).

The 3 – 5 year strategy keeps your goal in mind and can be quite high level. I have a 20 year goal to make my retirement from poetry and art; a 10 year goal to have established a community for spiritually driven health and wellbeing practitioners; a 5 year goal to be running a yoga and coaching franchise. The goals are high level and can be achieved in a whole variety of ways, but I know what I’m aiming at and I can take action towards them without shutting off other opportunities. For example, I know that I need to hone my skill as a writer and an artist now. It may take 20 years to get the skill to be really good.

Once you have that overall destination in mind, you can break it down into what needs to be achieved this year, and then that is broken down into quarters. What specifically needs to be done this quarter to take me towards that one year, 3 year, 5 year goal. 90 days is long enough for you to get things done, but not so long that you kid yourself you have time to play with. [Who doesn’t sometimes think oh, I’ve got all year to do that, and then get to September with a huge list of things they committed to but haven’t done yet? And isn’t it the case for everyone that there are surprise events, challenges and opportunities that if you are running a longer planning year knock you off track purely because you get distracted in dealing with them?]

So quarterly chunks are manageable, measurable, accountable amounts of time, that require you to FOCUS on what’s important in that moment, and if you stack them together they will add up to real change and forward momentum.

90 day planning:

  • Assumes you have a 3-5 year goal which guides all your business planning
  • Requires you to focus down on what’s important in your business right now: my preference is just 3 goals so that I’m forced to prioritise ruthlessly
  • Is memorable. You only have to remember what you’re working on for these 3 months. You only have 3 goals that are relevant right now.
  • Makes decision making easy. Does this fit within my 90 day plan or not? If not, don’t do it or delegate it.
  • Stops you wasting time. If it isn’t on purpose for your 90 days, don’t do it or delegate it. If you chase two rabbits, both will escape!

So… who is struggling with a bundle of resistance? What’s that resistance about?

Focus gives you a feeling of being control, of running your business the way you want rather than it running you, it improves confidence and clarity, and frankly, it makes a far better impression and so improves your customer and client attraction. It combats overwhelm (if I only have to remember 3 goals not 27 that helps),  and it provides a clear decision making structure. And above all, it builds self esteem.

Why? Because you will begin to prove to yourself just how much you can do when you focus, instead of either feeling like a headless chicken or a hamster in a wheel – completely on track but going nowhere because the track has no end.

So let’s take a piece of paper and divide it into quarters. Label the quarters 1/2/3/4 for the four quarters of the year. Think about the 3 year plan, and what needs to be done THIS year towards that plan. Then think about what has to be done first. Write the 3 most important things in q1.

Now go back over it and check if you’ve written things down that you would truly LOVE to achieve, not just what feels logical. You’re more likely to achieve across the board with items in your plan that are purely for the joy and satisfaction of achieving them.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing that you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done.” Steve Jobs