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Have you started planning for 2013?

Have you started thinking about your plans for 2013? I know it’s mid-November, and we still have more than 45 days left this year. You still have enough time left to make an impact on your results for 2012. I like to do some looking back at the year, seeing where I am currently, and some looking ahead. Of course, I still have to be engaged in the tasks I have at hand if I want to finish the year in a good place.

One of the recommendations I made to my private clients in the past couple of weeks was to start planning 2013 now. Many of them had plans for the first quarter, maybe as far as May and Spring Quilt Market. Most also had big picture ideas, only they didn’t really know where the projects fit in. That’s why I like using a very, very large calendar of the entire year. You can get one like this from an office supply store. It’s erasable and has really big spaces for writing.

If you want to be more creative, here’s another idea. A couple of years ago, one of my clients covered cork boards with batik fabric to complement her office. She then printed off letter-size sheets of each calendar month from a calendar program on her computer. Here are the boards before she added the calendars. The beauty of this system is she can take down each month as it ends, move the calendars and then add another for the next year. The system is a perpetual 12-month calendar.

And, if your studio space is limited, go ahead and print out the individual calendar pages and keep them in a binder where you can take them out and look at the whole year at one time. The idea is that you can get this bigger look at your year.

I’m sure you have goals that you want to accomplish next year. Here are some steps to take to put them onto the calendar.

1. Block time to work on your calendar planning. If your goals are important, it’s important to have time to plan when you’ll accomplish them.

2. You might want to create some kind of color coding system that works for you. For example, if your activity involves travel away from the studio, you might want to mark that in red.

3. Start by adding the commitments you already have, the teaching gigs, the shows, etc.

4. Go back and look at the big goals that don’t have dates, for example, the book you want to write.  Then look at the calendar and plan backwards. If your book is due Sept. 15, look at the steps involved and mark due dates for each. You might want to have the outline of the book done on Feb. 15, Chapter One done on March 15, quilts for Chapter Two done on April 30, etc. You are more likely to accomplish this if you assign deadlines and won’t be stressed by having to rush to get the job done. Deadlines lead to commitments.

5. Include vacation. It might be marked in blue. We all need to recharge, and if you don’t put it in the calendar, it’s likely not to happen.

6. Include planning time. I’ve read that the time spent planning pays back 10 to 1 in time executing. I’m not sure about the accuracy of that estimate; I do know it saves you lots of time.

7. Once you have a good look at your year, where are the holes in your calendar? Use this opportunity to see where you can market more to bring in income. This could be adding a new class or developing a new pattern for example.

What ideas do you have for planning next year?

Please share them below.

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One Response to “Have you started planning for 2013?”

  1. Laura Estes said:

    Such good advice. I have to plan, otherwise I am wide open for time to be stolen. I detail plan each week, block plan out 2 monthes and project plan a year to a year and a half in advance. A book, new patterns, more models, teaching and speaking all take time planning. If I have it written on my calendar I can truly say, sorry, I am busy that day, or week. I color code and use wide and thin markers. Purple for business, green for family and home, black for personal, red for volunteer and pink for quilt guild. Then I can see at a glance if any area is getting over booked. I use wide markers for non-negotiable entries and narrow for items that could be juggled if needed.

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