Why 90 Day Plans

How do you create a 90 day plan? I spoke about this topic last week on my Tuesday live on Facebook. If you missed it, this is awesome because now you get the replay, and the article, and all the links all in one place. Make sure you check that stuff down below.

But, the reason that I created a 90 day planning video is because we’re coming to the end of the year. It’s when everyone starts thinking about what they want for next year. People start setting resolutions, setting big goals, but of course, a goal without a plan is simply a wish.


A Goal Is Not A Plan

So, how do you start making those goals into reality? That’s where the 90 day plan comes in. Now, I’ve broken this down into four steps for how you can go through the 90 day planning process, and the first one of course starts with setting your goal.


We’re going to start with a BHAG: big, hairy, audacious goal. When you set goals, they should be enormous. They should be challenging. They should be exciting, but also a little bit scary. If you’re setting your goals and you aren’t just a little bit scared, you’re probably not going big enough. When you set a big, hairy, audacious goal, the idea behind it is that you should immediately be connected emotionally to what that goal is going to do for your life.

When I set goals, I use the BestSelf Planner for all of my 90 day planning. It’s great because this planner actually breaks everything down into 13 week increments, which if you’re quick with the math, you know that’s about 90 days, right?

Those of you who are interested, you can catch the link for the tool as well and check it out yourself. But, the way this planner starts and how all 90 day planning should start is with your big hairy goal, and that’s where you’re putting down and declaring how you’re emotionally connected to challenge you’ve set before you.

2. Projects

Once you’ve set your big, hairy, audacious goal, step number two is to start thinking about the projects that are going to best help support you in meeting that goal. The goal that I set in my last 90 day planner was to raise my income, my salary by $15,000. I was connected to that goal because one, it would establish me with more credibility in my field. And two, it’s also going to help me do more, be more, show up more in terms of opportunities for my family. So immediately I got my emotional connection.

When I think about the projects that are going to help support me in raising my salary by that much, I had to come up with three big projects and that’s where we come here, to projects.Image of a weekly planner page on a tablet demonstrates how Marie Deveau, small business coach recommends entrepreneurs plan out execution of goals

We have our goal. What are the projects that support it? Now, when I think of projects that are going to help support me raising my income, I’m thinking, three revenue streams. I can create an online program, I can increase my one-on-one roster, I can start looking at monetizing a membership site.

Those were three major projects, but when I think of those projects, I’m also immediately gonna start thinking of all the things that I would need in place to make those projects happen.

3. Tasks And Monster To Do Lists

That’s where we go with step three. This is actually writing out the to-do lists for all those projects; project one, two, and three. This is an opportunity for you to brain dump everything that you can, really word vomit every idea, every way, every strategy for how you can come to those major projects that support your goal.

Now, once we have all of these tasks, we also need to prioritize the tasks which means, looking at what needs to be done in terms of how soon it needs to be done to the time commitment, but also in terms of how important it is to helping us fulfill the overall project objective. I like to use Brian Tracy’s method. If you’ve read Eat That Frog, you know he has an A, B, C, D way of labeling all of his daily tasks, and that’s the same thing I do.

D is for delegate. This is something that I can assign to someone else to handle the task and then I’ll check in on status later.

A is looking at what absolutely needs to happen today, or absolutely needs to happen in the next 48 hours and is also extremely important, mission critical. Those are my A items. I number them, priority A-1, A-2, A-3. My B items, maybe they’re super, super important, mission critical to the project, but don’t have to get done today. I prioritize which ones are B-1, B-2, B-3.

C items might be a little bit of a mix. This might be more of, it would be great to have. If we can have it today, that’d be great, if it’s not included, I can also live with that, but then prioritizing those items. Then finally our D level items, those are things that yeah, would be great to have, I would like to incorporate, but I personally don’t need to accomplish the task or do the work myself. I like to think of D as D is for delegate. This is something that I can assign to someone else to handle the task and then I’ll check in on status later.

Once you do that and you have these three major laundry list, you can move on to step four.

4. Put It On The Calendar

The fourth step is to actually put it all on the calendar. If you know anything about goal setting and goals being smart, S-M-A-R-T, you know the T stands for time bound. Goals have much more power when not only we write them down but two, when there is a deadline and a time commitment attached to it. That’s where the calendar comes in.

Marie Deveaux small business coahc explains the concept of a knaban board. IMage depicts multiple post its overlayed a top a large poster of quarterly plansWhen we get to calendaring all of the to-do items, we need to have the major milestones on the calendar so we can fill in some of the gaps. Now, if you’re a project management head and you love project management tools, you probably already very familiar with Asana, or something similar in the digital realm. I myself, not so savvy on the Asana. I’ve tried it a few times, it didn’t really work for me.

I’ve also had the same experience with Trello, which is a digital version of a Kanban board. Kanban board is just essentially post-iting everything. You have everything on a whiteboard or wall, but it’s post-its. Then you move the post-its based on how they’re progressing from needs to happen, in progress, to done. Me personally, right now I’m loving Tom’s Planner, which is an online cloud based platform that allows you to create Gantt charts.

Once I have everything calendered out big picture, I can then go back and week to week, plot out okay, what needs to be done week one of the next 13 weeks? What do I need to accomplish?

Gantt charts are great in my mind because you can assign a task, give it a deadline, make it dependent on another task. And then if that task moves because you’re late on the deadline or you’re running behind, then it automatically will shift the dependent tasks and therefore also shift your timeline so you can see how things move fluidly in a real time, which is great. Choose your calendar platform, or your project management tools and map out the big project milestones, then the tasks are what end up going into something like your BestSelf Planner or your regular agenda tool.

I also use Google Calendar for big milestones to have on my calendar, making me aware of when I might need to start working on something, or when something needs to be completed, or if I have a meeting with someone that’s critical, those are going to be in my Google Calendar. But for my own personal action items and daily to-do’s, those are going to be in my daily agenda. Once I have everything calendered out big picture, I can then go back and week to week, plot out okay, what needs to be done week one of the next 13 weeks? What do I need to accomplish? Week two, week three? Then pulling from those weekly objectives, I can then go ahead and start filling out my daily agendas.

One More Time for the People in the Back

That’s 90 day planning in a nutshell. You set your big, hairy, audacious goal. Break it down into no more than three projects. Create the task and to-do lists for all of those projects. Prioritize, make them time bound, and put it on the calendar. Then start working your weekly and daily plans to move actively towards your goals.

Now, if you’re not a pen and paper person, I’m going to highly encourage you to get back on that bandwagon. Studies have proven time and again, pen and paper does wonders for solidifying ideas into your memory centers and also helping you actualize your desires. There’s a lot of research on this. But, start with what is your big, hairy, audacious goal. How are you emotionally connected to it? And then we can dig in on how to start laying out your 90 day plan to help you move in that direction. That’s it for now, I’ll see you next time.

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