Monday, 5 December 2011

90-Day Plan: D-2 - The Plan Takes Over My Life!

Oh, heck, this was NOT what I expected.

When I decided in one of my more insane moments to dual-blog on 90 day plans for 90+ days, I completely forgot to factor in my son's activities.

Now, he's doing his GCSEs this year, so he should be able to look after himself? To a point, but not when it involves me slotting in school and extra-curricular taxi duties, not to mention having to waste most of Saturday waiting in for a parcel because he slept over at his sister's house on Friday night.

Seems I'm NOWHERE near organised enough yet. Hopefully, I'll have improved on that at the end of the next 90 days.

Anyway, let's look at creating this plan, as per my instructions on my other blog:

1. Get the year planner up on the wall and draw a border around the 90 days you'll be working your plan.

Nice and easy - the wallplanner was bought a couple of weeks ago and is already up. Mind you, thanks to using a cheap generic version of BluTack, it's now sellotaped to the wall and I need to repaint bits. The border is drawn. I'm adding the last 2 weeks of Period 13 to a full 3 periods next year, to make sure I start my next 90 day plan at the beginning of Period 4 2012.

2. If your business 'weeks', 'months' or 'periods' don't line up with the standard Sunday - Saturday or Monday - Sunday options, mark those out on your planner as well.

Done. Kleeneze weeks run from Fridays to Thursdays. Go figure. Presumably a historical reason regarding staff payments.

3. Mark out ALL commitments for the 90 day plan duration on your wall planner.

Luckily, that's fairly easy this year. Chipping Norton Folk Club once a month, a choral workshop in Chippy and (gulp) my second attempt at singing in front of a Music Festival Adjudicator. Plus, of course, Christmas and birthdays. If you want to know why a Rugby woman does a two-hour round trip to Chipping Norton once a month when there are closer folk clubs.... well, it's a long story.

4. Take your 90-day plan template, which should be marked out in 30 minute blocks from 6am to midnight.

Unsurprisingly, got one of those.

5. Block out periods of time for all normal activity - bathing, exercise, meals, housework, gardening, travel to/from work/higher education studies and, of course, the day job/lectures.

Done that. Blocking out the basics is surprisingly easy and leaves some sizeable chunks of time free in the evening.

6. Block out periods of time for all other commitments - family events, club meetings, holiday away from home.

That was nice and quick, too. You might find you've got more events, meetings and holiday than I have.

7. Block out your business activity for the next 90 days. You will be sticking to this plan; make sure it's sustainable.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. My tendency would be to block out what suits me, but for every block I allocate, I have to consider the youngest son and my partner's needs as well. That turned a simple exercise into a juggling nightmare. There's no point doing this if I'm building up resentment about my focus being elsewhere and, like many women, I'm used to experiencing resentment when I focus on "my" (aka my business) needs rather than theirs.

7a. Take a 7 day plan template and block out your business activity for each day. This time, be more specific. If you plan to hand out leaflets, deliver catalogues or do surveys on a particular day, write down the streets or area now. If you don't use a template, this information needs to go in your diary for those days.

Oh dear lord, THIS is a killer. I've never been this organised before in my life, and I'm not sure I like it! Mind you, I'm sure I'll get used to it, not to mention sidestep it when necessary.

7b. Repeat 7a for all 13 weeks.

I thought 7a was a killer? This is worse - not only do I have to work out my standard activity, but I have to try to preplan extra blocks of streets to make sure I'm always able to hit my targets. This is probably one of the key reasons I've never stuck with a 90-day plan before now.

8. Block out your business activity on the year planner; one simple way to do this is to use stickers of different colours, shapes and sizes depending on available time and type of activity. Remember to create a key to those stickers and display that on your wall, too.

Fell down at this hurdle. I'm shopping tonight and will have to get some stickers and then revisit this step.

9. Create activity tracking sheets for each type of activity you intend to undertake and ensure you have enough copies to cover 90 days of activity. You will be using these every day, in conjunction with to-do lists, to maximise your time and effort.

I had the templates already, but creating 13 copies of each, complete with dates etc., took several hours and had to be done around other activities, such as housework, taxi service for the youngest and Kleeneze catalogue rebagging. It's times like these when I need to do this business full-time.

10. Make sure that you have a central store for all your planning and tracking paperwork, be it in a computer folder or in a filing cabinet or lever arch file. Don't give yourself opportunities to fail.

Now this one was simple, and the filing cabinet is ready and waiting, as is my Kleeneze tracking folder.

Better late than never. I've readjusted my plan to start on Friday 9 December, to give me time to complete the review stage comfortably around my business activity this week.

Fingers crossed!