Today I'm going to talk all about planning. If you don't have a plan for your business, whether it be a daily one, a weekly one or a yearly one, how are you going to measure your success and keep yourself on track?
Worse still, when you sit down at your computer, laptop or tablet to do some work in your online or lifestyle business, how do you keep from being distracted by other non-essential tasks like social media or the latest cat video on YouTube? The reality is if you don't have a plan for your business you're going to fail and here's X reasons why that is true…
1. Distraction comes easily
No matter how disciplined you think you may be when it comes to getting some work done on your online business, if you don't have a plan of action and a clear objective about what you are going to achieve on any given day, it's highly likely that you'll find yourself looking for other things to do while you're at your computer/laptop/tablet.
Even with a plan of action it can be incredibly hard to avoid checking out the latest tweets or Facebook posts in all those groups you've joined, so without one it can be plain impossible. I don't know anyone who can sit in front of their laptop with no idea what it is they are trying to achieve and not end up wasting a bunch of time on things that add no value to their business whatsoever.
It happens to the best and I imagine it's happened to you too.
2. Inaction will make you frustrated
Even if you sit down to your laptop with the best of intentions, without some sort of idea about what today's tasks are supposed to be you are likely to find yourself suffering from inaction as much as distraction. This usually occurs when you know that there are a bunch of activities that you can be doing when it comes to your business and each of them will have an impact, but you can't decide which of those things you are going to focus on today.
Sometimes it's even possible that you'll ending up starting something and then switching to one or more things part way through because you don't feel like the work you are doing is adding any value. Alternatively you'll find yourself working on a blog post and struggling to put together a decent sentence or two because you didn't do your research in advance or you hit the dreaded writers block.
Having too many options to choose from can be just as bad as not knowing what to do in the first place.
3. Procrastination takes hold
Now this is an absolute killer… you sit down in front of your laptop with no intent and after a short while you decide that you'll put off working on your business until tomorrow. After all, what's a day going to matter? But the problem isn't necessarily that one day, it's the next and the next after that and suddenly you find that a week or two has gone by, you've not put any effort into building your online business and your motivation has disappeared.
I know I have experienced this and on more than one occasion and let me tell you it sucks.
It's all too easy at this point to throw your hands in the air and figure that you may as well give up and move on to something else, all because you didn't put any thought into what it was you were going to do for your business a few weeks beforehand.
4. Uncertainty makes it hard to track progress
Have you ever tried to measure your progress at a task or goal without knowing what it was that you were trying to achieve, I mean, without knowing where it is you're trying to go, how do you know whether you are on the right track to getting there?
Granted it's pretty hard to say exactly where you are going to be in a years time and the exact steps it might take to get you there, but without some sort of a plan it's probably fair to say that you won't get anywhere, fast.
Imagine for a second that it's a year from now and you're looking back at the progress that you've made in your online or lifestyle business. Did you make good progress, are you happy with what you achieved and where you are now, could you have done more?
Without a plan of action I'm not sure you can accurately answer any of those questions and even if you can the answers are unlikely to be that positive as you may suffer from the regret of not knowing what you could have achieved if you'd planned for it.
5. Regret and despair brings it all to a halt
It's all too easy to start down a path with good intentions and then for the reasons outlined above you find yourself a while into the future looking back wondering where it all went wrong. I've done it, more times than I'd like to admit and I wouldn't be surprised if you have too.
The problem at this point in time is that it can be all too easy to really beat up on yourself and throw in the towel. Whether it be going to the gym, setting up a new website or blog, or following a well defined business system that has worked for countless other people. Once you get to this point it can be nearly impossible to get back on the right track.
So what do you do, you throw in the towel and go about finding something else to try and the cycle repeats. Another year goes by and even if you keep at it, without knowing the plan and what you were trying to achieve you look back and wonder if you could have done more or even if what you have been doing should have worked at all.
But there is hope…
I think we've all found ourselves in a situation like any of those above.
The good news is that it can be avoided by taking the time to sit down and make a plan and my advice is to start simple and work out a daily plan of action that is tailored to your business. Now, this could be the same set of tasks each day that you know will make a difference or alternatively you might decide that in a 5-day week you'll have a specific task for Monday – Friday (or whichever 5 days of the week you choose to work).
Here's an example:
- Monday: Update your Facebook page with an interesting article or link you found online
- Tuesday: Write a new blog post
- Wednesday: Share an inspirational quote or story with your Twitter followers
- Thursday: Comment on 5 blogs that are in your niche
- Friday: Add a new photo to your Instagram feed
Now there's a number of things you could substitute on any of those days depending on your business. Instead of blog post you could create a new video or product review, if you don't want to comment on blogs then how about posting in 5 threads in your favourite forum or respond to messages in a Facebook group.
The good thing is with a simple plan like this it's easy to keep track of progress and if you do skip a day for some reason it's likely that you could catch up on many of these tasks.
Of course, if you want to set a more challenging schedule that is up to you, but I warn against getting too complicated or trying to do too much. Building an online or lifestyle business should be seen as a marathon and not a sprint, better to start slow and build up than burn yourself out too early and find that you take a break, never to get going again.
I hope you've found these 5 reasons to be useful when it comes to considering putting a plan in place for your lifestyle business. In addition I hope the example plan I laid out for you was helpful in getting you started with your own set of tasks, it wasn't an overly complicated plan but is something you can build on and grow in the future.
Of course one of the best things you can do is find a system that will lay out a plan of action for you and ideally put in place a set of checkpoints to help you measure your progress. And on this point I couldn't agree more as this can take the anxiety out of knowing whether or not you have a good plan or not, so taking the time to find someone or a group of someone's to work with in developing your plan of action is a definite bonus.
Until next time…