Lightbulb moment planning

How to use the power of planning in your practice


Don’t treat this January like any other January. Georgia Duffee explains how practitioners can treat this month as the start of their best year yet.

13th Jan 2020
Managing director and accountant Benedetto Accounts & Tax
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We’ve all heard the expression failing to plan is planning to fail. I can thank my wise AAT tutor for introducing me to that saying. There is also a saying I heard recently that “a fool with a plan, will run circles around a genius who doesn’t”.

Zoe Whitman emphasised the importance of planning in her goal-setting article that kicked off the New Year on AccountingWEB. Whitman explained how you can achieve your 2020 practice ambitions through ensuring your goals are SMART and to think of them in bite-sized chunks rather than daunting year-long big goals.

But many people struggle in just choosing their goals. For me, the best place to start is by putting pen to paper. So if I can give you one gift this year, it would be this exercise. You will need a maximum of 10 minutes, two pieces of clean paper (any size), and a pen.

It’s a successful method used by high achievers, and note it has to be done on pen and paper, not on a digital document. So, are you ready to change your work-life into its best version to date? Grab your two pieces of paper.

On one blank page, write numbers one through to 12 giving enough space between each to write a couple of lines. Then on the other piece of paper, write numbers one through to 10.

Now focus just on the sheet you wrote one to 10. Look at the time and give yourself three minutes to write 10 things you wish to achieve this year in your business, or in your work-life balance.

The reason why you must do this in three minutes is because things you think of without much thought are the goals you truly want. Once you dwell on them, you will tell yourself a million reasons why it’s not possible. But we need to eliminate scope for that chatter. Just go with what you first think.

Now on the second piece of paper that has one to 12, write on the top of that page ‘10 goals for 2020’. Then write the months next to each number:

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March and so on.

Most people fail their New Year's resolutions because they try to take on too much change in one go, so this method prevents overwhelm and increases your chances of achieving these goals by a large percentage.

So looking at your ten goals you’d like to achieve in 2020, choose which month you’d like to achieve or begin each goal.

Write that goal, next to the relevant month, and look at the plan you have just made for 2020 (your best year yet). You haven’t decided to take 10 things on all in one go, but instead, you’ve planned one thing a month if that.

Now we can easily achieve one goal a month but we can’t achieve 10 goals in one month. We have the whole year to grow, so use it. Keep these goals somewhere where you can see them daily and embrace your year.

I would not be where I am now without continually goal setting, so I hope this benefits you.

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