Hi, this is Garry from Next Actions

It’s that special when people start planning for the next year

Most people do this at the start or end of a calendar year

This is a good time to sit back, review what you’ve done and look at where you want to go

It’s not the only time you can do this

Other good milestones are the end of the financial year, or even birthdays or special anniversaries

Whenever you decide to do your planning, its good to have a process to run through

Join me now to go over some key steps you need to take when planning for the next year.

Your getting ready to plan the next year

It’s more than likely that you are saying that you want to have a better year than the last one

I mean, isn’t that the idea – to improve on your past performance

When I think about planning, the thing that always comes to mind is the jar and pebbles story

Most people have heard of this, but I am going to very quickly go over it

You have an empty jar, some rocks, pebbles and some sand.

The empty jar represents your life

The rocks are the big things in your life, the key projects.

These can include things like your family and your health

The pebbles, these are things that matter to you, but you could still live without.

This includes things like your job, hobbies and friends

The sand represents the things that you do as a filler

This can include things like includes things like watching tv, doing errands and surfing the internet

You can fill the jar up two ways.

The way a lot of people do it is to put the sand in first, which fills the jar and means they can not put in the pebbles and rocks

The other way is to put in the rocks first

Then put in the pebbles which would fill the gap between rocks

You find that some of the pebbles don’t fit in, so you put them to one side

Finally you put in the sand, which fills the remaining space

This means that you can not put in as much sand, but you got your rocks and pebbles in there

Carrying on with this analogy, in the first scenario you have filled the jar with sand

This means that you are spending all your time doing the small inconsequential things

Your not doing anything meaningful

You are not growing

You are not moving ahead in your life

In the second scenario you put in the rocks first

These are the most important things in your life.

You are making sure they take priority

Next you put in the pebbles

These are important things in your life

But because you can’t fit everything in you decide which ones can be put off, which ones can be left out of the jar

Finally you then look at the inconsequential things, and you fit these around the other items in your life

This means you are doing the meaningful things first

You are continually growing and developing your life and skills

You are getting the most out of your life

Using this analogy when planning means you make sure that you are prioritising what is important and cutting out what is not moving you forward

The question is how do you do it.

The first step, it’s taking the time to look at your life priorities.

I refer to these are your life purpose statements

Think real deep.

What are the main priorities in your life.

The Six Thinking Hats is a really good tool to help with this

Your aim here is to come up with 2 or 3 big priorities in your life

These are the things you can not live without

They are your reason for being

I have found if you have more that 3 of these it is distracting

3 seems to be the best number of big priorities to have

These are the rocks that you would be putting in your jar.

Once you have your 3 life purpose statements you can then look at the next step

What are you major goals?

These goals are things that are there to move you towards your life purpose

You would start looking at long term goals, things that may need 3 – 5 years to achieve

You then break these down into short-term goals, things that can be done in the next year

The aim, each goal you come up with should be moving you towards your life purpose

If it isn’t then why are you doing it?

The goals you would then break down into smaller projects

A project is just a set of steps you need to take to complete a goal

You can think of the goal as a concept, as an idea that you want to fulfill

The projects these are lists of concrete actions that you can take to meet the goal

An example, you have a goal to go on an overseas vacation

Your project would include things like

Save $200 per month into vacation account

Research locations

Book flights

Book hotel

And the list goes on

The list of actions are things that you can tick off

Things you can actually do

Things that move you towards the goal

When coming up with the projects and actions the Six Thinking Hats, SWOT analysis and SOAR analysis are really good tools to use to help you move forward

These, goals, projects and actions, these are the pebbles

You may find there are some goals that are just too much for you, these you can leave to one side, then come back to them the next time you plan

You do not need to be working on every goals all of the time

It is best to focus on a small number of goals and then complete them, than to focus on every goal and get nothing done

One of the biggest causes of procrastination is to have too many things to do

When you see massive lists of goals you go into panic mode and freeze

Keeping your list small gives your mind the chance to look at things, visualise the result and do it.

The last thing is the sand

This is the inconsequential things, but these can , at times, be important

Watching TV is inconsequential, but it can help you to relax

Being relaxed helps you focus when needed

Running errands in inconsequential, but if you did not do it you wouldn’t have food

Without food, well, how long would you survive

A log of inconsequential things are necessary.

The key, identify the ones that are important and throw away the rest

When doing the inconsequential, make sure you are not spending too much time on them

If watching TV, limit yourself on one show per day, rather than 8 hours

If running errands, go to a place you can get everything rather than travelling to many different locations

Can you aim to complete all your errands in under 1 hour per week?

Have you started planning for the next year?

If you have then can you share some of your goals in the comments

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To summarise, It’s important that you plan

When you do it is not too important but quite often key milestone dates are a good time

When planning you need to identify

Your life purpose statements

Goals that move you towards those life purposes

Concrete projects that move you towards goals

And actions that you can take to allow you to complete the projects

Once you have this you can then look at the other things in your life

Are they important?

Are they necessary?

Are they needed?

Can you limit them in any way to give more time for the important things?

Are there things that you can stop doing?

Can other people do things for you?

These questions, and others like it, can all help you focus on what is important

By focusing on key activities you can grow your skills, improve your life, and get the results you deserve

If you’re struggling with planning then why not give me a call.

I can help you with you planning process and walk you through activities to help you get in control of your work and life

Isn’t it time you started to get the results you deserve

Please reach out to me on 0415 591672

I am based in Australia so please use the international dialling code +61 if calling from another Country

You can also email me on garry@nextactions.com.au

or visit nextactions.com.au where you will find a link to book a free short introductory call

Do you have any topics you’d like me to cover

If you do please drop a comment below

And I’ll add to the list of upcoming videos

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I’ll talk to you again soon