New year, new beginnings… So it’s no wonder why now is the right time to make a yearly plan, too.
Instead of just having a list of good wishes and resolutions for the year ahead, it’s much wiser to start making plans on how to turn those dreams into reality.
You know the saying:
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.Benjamin Franklin
Therefore, making a yearly plan, at least a rough one, is a good starting point to be on the right track.
(plus, it’s a page – or pages – in your planner which I’m sure you’ll revisit often throughout the year)
It’s something you can easily do in only one day, yet in the long run, you’ll benefit so much from it.
On top of that, creating a one-year plan will allow you to spread out different activities throughout the year so you’ll be able to live a more balanced life.
Here’s how I make my yearly plan and get a brief overview of the reasons why creating one should absolutely be on your to-do list.
Maybe you already know (or maybe you don’t) – I’m a big fan of the written word.
Therefore, for a start, I need to have a yearly planner page or a yearly calendar for this job – preferably the one that can be inside my planner, because all things regarding my life end there sooner or later.
Plus, I like to keep it all in one place (if possible!). 🙂
For quite some time I used a “regular” planner to write down my tasks and plans, but in the last few years, I started to experiment with bullet journaling as a system that allows me to keep many different parts of my life in one place.
So far I find it to be very flexible and practical (but to be completely honest with you, it does have some downsides, too).
In case you’re new to this method and are interested to check it out, take a look at the ultimate bullet journal guide for beginners. Who knows – you too might decide it’s the right fit for you and start one.
But, let’s get back to the subject – how to make a one-year plan quickly and effectively.
Well, depending on how avid I am, at the end of each year – or at the very beginning of it – I start mapping out the year ahead.
Yes, I’m not gonna lie about this one, sometimes I don’t get my planning done by the end of the year, and guess what?
It’s not the end of the world!
I know, I’m making a digression again, so let’s get back to the point of this post…
Basically, all the things I write down belong to one of the two major categories – personal or professional.
I don’t know why, but I usually start with a personal one first.
(perhaps because it takes me less time to actually think about all the things I should add, but there are some other reasons for this, as well… 😀 )
And, here it goes:
The first part of making a yearly plan – scheduling personal items
Believe it or not, some of my personal items are much more rigid regarding their exact timing and whether they can be rescheduled or not. By scheduling my personal items first, I get a good starting point for planning and placing my professional items later on.
Here’s a short description of what goes into my yearly planner pages.
Birthdays & anniversaries
This is an obvious one. I keep them so I don’t forget them (just in case…).
Medical + vet appointments
I also make at least a rough schedule of regular doctor appointments, for myself and kids (if needed).
Since we’ve “upgraded” our family with two cats last year, now I also place their vet appointments in the calendar as well.
(if you want to keep a close eye on your health and well-being, you might want to add some of these bullet journal health and fitness tracker pages to your planner or journal)
Although this is not something that I could forget, I like to put the dates for tax deadlines on a yearly calendar.
This item, combined with other expenses that are spread out in my calendar, help me calculate and create a rough budget plan for the year.
(something I also do on a yearly basis and get more specific as each month approaches)
Although my biggest wish is not to use a car at all and go everywhere on foot or by bike (except for vacations!), living in a big city makes this an impossible mission.
And since I already own a car, I need to take care of it as well.
So I schedule everything that needs to be done on a yearly basis regarding this possession and roll on…
Household repairs and maintenance
Anyone who owns a home knows very well that its maintenance and repairs are a necessity.
Although I can not predict some unexpected events (such as my kid breaking a faucet along with the water pipe last year! don’t ask me a thing about it…), making regular repairs and maintenance sure helps decrease the number of unpleasant events.
I like to spread these tasks throughout the year, and do them in smaller chunks.
(this way I’m also making the monthly expenses to be roughly the same throughout the year)A Guide To Easily Create A Yearly Plan Click To Tweet
I also check if there are any documents that will expire in the coming year, and if any, I mark those dates down so I could get a new one in a timely manner.
Although most holidays repeat themselves on a yearly basis (with Easter being an exception), I still like to place them on my calendar as well.
Holidays have a double meaning for me since they influence both my personal and professional life, in one way or another.
Therefore, I can plan holiday shopping, home decoration, or product creation and marketing accordingly.
(all of that often translates to “do it earlier”, since I don’t like the holiday crowds at stores, or missing a deadline when it comes to professional matters)
Kids’ school time
Or, better say, kids’ school breaks.
Both when kids are at school, and when they’re not, mean that my days will be structured differently.
Truth be told – as anyone who works from home can confirm – it’s different to work with and without the kids around.
(and that’s an understatement – if you know what I mean…)
Although I often manage to get the work done with the kids around, sometimes it’s a hard thing to pull off.
Therefore, when I later plan for more demanding projects, I like to place them at the time when kids are at school.
Also, kids’ school time (or better say, a lack of it) leads me to the next thing in the plan, which is…
Everybody needs a break every now and then and going on shorter or longer vacations help me recharge my batteries.
Although I’m my own boss, you’d think I could do this whenever I want to, but the reality is not like that.
Most of the time, weekends slip in a blink of an eye, and because of kids’ school, I’m bound to make vacation plans for the time when kids are on their breaks.
(not quite the freedom I’d like to have, but it goes with being a parent…)
I think that’s about it for planning out personal items.
Now, some of the items listed here are not only personal-related, and I’m using them for professional aspects as well (such as tax deadlines), while some others (like holidays, vacations, or school breaks) have an influence on planning out my professional part of life.
Some serve me as a guide for content creation or marketing, some for scheduling the work in advance – so I don’t lag behind (at least not as much! 🙂 ) due to obvious less productive, work-free time periods.
The bottom line is – I’m doing personal scheduling first, and then comes the time for the professional one.
The second part of making a yearly plan – scheduling professional items
No matter how strange this may sound, I give myself more flexibility with this part, since my type of work allows for it.
Generally, the biggest chunks of my working time go to creating blog posts and digital products (either for my Etsy shop or doing custom work for my clients).
Of course, I have a million smaller tasks in between to deal with, but they repeat themselves on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and they are usually not worth taking the time to plan them out on a yearly calendar.
(instead, daily/weekly/monthly pages of my planner are places where you could find them)
What is worth noting are special promotions or bigger projects I plan to do in a year.
Making a yearly plan also helps me to see better when I can squeeze in some unexpected work project, and when it would be a wiser option to refuse them.
Planning my professional side of life also comes after making a review of last year, determining what worked (and not!), deciding what I want from my business in the future, and, of course, making goals.
Since this process takes a bit longer, you can see why I like to plan out my personal items first.A Step By Step Method To Making A Plan For The Year Ahead Click To Tweet
And that’s it.
My yearly calendar is set.
Once you have your yearly plan in place, you can develop it further and start writing down the little details in your planner.
If you’re still not convinced that yearly planning is for you, here’s a quick overview of the benefits I found it gives.
Mapping out your year:
- can help you have some sort of a roadmap for the next year,
- lets you see the important stuff without the noise you might have when planning those same items on a monthly/weekly page,
- keeps you focused and more productive,
- can be a good guide to budget planning,
- lets you establish a work-life balance,
- makes subsequent decision making much easier.
I hope my real-life step-by-step approach to creating a yearly plan will help you in making your own one-year plan.
If you liked the post and found it to be useful, feel free to save it on Pinterest so you can revisit it whenever you like (or spread the word by sharing it on your favorite online places). 🙂
Also, if you want your planner to serve you as a tool to be more effective, take a look at the post about how you can use a planner to be super-productive!