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The Ultimate Planning Guide

I’m excited for you today because you are going to learn so much if you want to make your goals happen and launch your dream career or business. I have been helping thousands of women with this planning guide launch their dream careers and businesses for over 10 years.

When you have a great plan, doing it is going to be easy and fun. I get to see day in and day out all the results that our students are getting when they have the right plan which is exactly what I am teaching in this guide. 

My Planning Story

Since 2010, I’ve helped thousands of overwhelmed working moms plan out how to find their perfect career so that they can be happier, have more time with their family, and make enough money to provide for their family. 

And through it all, I’ve discovered a few small steps that most women miss in career transitions and business startups that can make the biggest difference between finding the career you were meant for and getting stuck in another dead-end job.

Anna and Sienna - Mother daughter bonding

I didn’t always know how to plan out achievable goals. When I first started making a career change in 2010, I was very stuck, stressed, and burnt out after an 8-year consulting career. I knew there was something else out there for me and I couldn’t do this for the rest of my life, especially since I wanted to become a mom someday and the hours spent in my cubicle were very long. But, I did not know what direction I should go in. I didn’t know what to focus on first and in what order to make my dream career happen. 

My dream was to be a happy working mama. I wanted to teach others and be able to make money doing what I loved while helping others. Also, I wanted to be happy and have the freedom and flexibility to spend time with my future children but also do work that was fulfilling and made an impact on the world in some way.

I wanted to avoid stress and low energy sitting in a cubicle for 9 hours a day and being bored and counting down the minutes until I could leave and go home. And I wanted to avoid discouragement and not live with regrets of what I could have done.

How to Ease Back Into Work After Maternity Leave

I discovered the answer right when I became a new mom. And so, I had just quit my stressful day job after maternity leave because I could not leave my new baby that I had spent years trying to have after multiple miscarriages and failed IVF treatment. My miracle was here and I couldn’t leave her. So I was somehow going to create a plan for me to make enough money to replace my day job. But, then after realizing I wasn’t Supermom and having a breakdown in front of my husband, he decided he was going to quit his job too and help spend time with our daughter and take over the stuff in my business that was stressing us out.

So, I had to create a 90-day plan to grow my little side hustle into a real business so that it could provide for my little family. I had no other option. The bank account was dwindling. It was now or never. So I created a 90-day planning system that allowed us to have dance parties in our living room every day when I was making sales. By the end of the 90 days, we were able to travel and run our business from Australia and road trip across the US to visit friends and family while running our business. I was that happy, working mama that I had dreamed of.

The Ultimate Planning Guide

The Ultimate Planning Guide

4 False Beliefs That Hold You Back

False belief #1: I don’t have enough time.

Instead think: I have all the time I need to accomplish what matters most.

False belief #2: I wasn’t born productive.

Instead think: No one is born productive. Being more productive is a skill I can develop.

False belief #3: I’m not disciplined enough.

Instead think: Working in my passion doesn’t require much discipline when you love what you do. Spend your time focusing on doing work you love, discipline comes easy.

False belief #4. I tried before but it didn’t work.

Instead think: You absolutely cannot give up no matter what. I can get better results by trying something different.

writing down your plans

Planning Mistakes

We are going to go deep today and really help you clarify your vision. So if you don’t know exactly what you want yet, no worries! I am going to help you find it.

If you don’t have a vision, you don’t know where you’ll go and you won’t have a plan or know what you need to do each day. You’ll get so much clarity today. 

If you are like me, you try to set goals every year, you buy a new planner and have the best of intentions, and two weeks into the new year, life happens and your kid gets sick, you find out you have to move, you get a big work project and the next thing you find your planner at the bottom of the laundry pile in the closet and only the first page is completed….and it stays that way until the end of the year. Maybe next year you’ll reach those goals…..

We can have all these goals and dreams and plans. But guess what, this life isn’t forever. If we make a goal and never accomplish it year after year, someday our life is going to end and that planner is going to sit there unfinished. And that goal is going to never be finished. You don’t want to get to the end of your life and realize you never completed that goal.

3 Common Planning Mistakes:

  • No vision
  • No action steps 
  • No habits or routine 

My system eliminates burnout and I’ll be teaching you how to not make these mistakes in today’s guide.

There are 3 types of plans you need for more focus and energy:

  1. Vision Plan: To make sure you are headed in the right direction. Covering today.
  2. Annual Plan: To identify what areas you will focus on to reach your goals. Covering in workshop 2.
  3. 90-Day Plan: To break down your goals into smaller tasks and choose one thing to focus on when it all seems to be important. Covering in workshop 3.

When you launch your ideal career or business AND implement these three systems in your life consistently, you will increase your overall fulfillment.  

One year from now you can have more focus and energy.

Remember, IDEAS ARE NOT PLANS!!

You may be relying on a great idea or a great dream without a plan. 

Instead, you need to know WHAT you are going to do and WHEN you are going to do it.

That is a plan! That’s what we are going to do in this guide together.

Looking Back

Looking Back of Create Your Future Planner

IMPORTANT: You MUST look back and use what has happened in the past so that you can thrive. This is where you start getting clarity on the direction you should head next.

I see this mistake made a lot…

Before we start planning next year, I highly recommend that you spend some time looking back and asking yourself these questions:

  • Looking back over the last year, what worked well for you?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What is your ideal workday?
  • When you were at your best and loving life last year, what were you doing?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What does success look like to you?
  • When did you have the most fun?
  • What were your biggest time wasters?

The Clear Vision Assessment

The first step in knowing what you should focus on first is knowing where you want to go in the future.

You need to have a vision of where you want to go and what your life looks like in the future. Reaching your goal is not going to be easy. It’s going to be tough at times. You aren’t going to know the steps to take or which direction to go. You won’t know how to get there.

The good news is that once you have a vision of where you are going, it’s going to be so much easier to know how to get there.

You’ll actually have LESS things you need to do.

You can say NO to the things that won’t get you to your ultimate vision. 

You can start removing items from your to-do list.

Here’s why this is important if you are creating goals that don’t match your vision. You are wasting your time.

4 Simple Questions To Create Your Vision (don’t overcomplicate this!)

  • What do you want to create in the future?
  • When you imagine completing your goal, what does your life look like?
  • What words or phrases represent your life when you’ve achieved your goal?
  • Why do you want to reach this goal? 

Vision Board Planning Guide

Vision Boards

Decide on the type of vision board you want to create and make it. There is more than one type of vision board.

  1. Most people think about cutting out pictures and putting them on a board, which is one type of vision board. Get a bunch of magazines and cut-out words and pictures that represent where you want to be.
  2. You can also create a journal notebook and cut things out of index cards.
  3. Or you can use a secret Pinterest board.

Look at your vision board morning and night and all the time. Carry it with you when you can.

Make it a habit to look at your vision board daily. Ask yourself, does this job, this opportunity, this client, or whatever it looks like, fit on my vision board? 

The more clear you are, the easier it’s going to be for the right people to find you.

The Law of Attraction is the name given to the belief that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. Vision boards add clarity to your goals because instead of just writing them down, you are looking at the image of it every day. Your vision board could even help you land your dream job or get that dream client!

Now, one important note… 

You don’t have to worry about not having enough time to do MORE. The truth is that what I am teaching you doesn’t take more time because it’s not about doing more. It’s about doing the right things which I am going to teach you how to do. And when you are doing the right things, you’ll have more motivation and energy.

Or you may feel like you aren’t productive or good at sticking to a schedule. With my planning system, you don’t have to worry about sticking to a strict schedule. Being productive and organized isn’t something that you are born with. You can learn this stuff. Everyone can do it, trust me. 

There’s never been a better time to ditch your stressful job and instead make a fulfilling and exciting career happen.

The opportunity is wide open for you to pursue your passion and any career you want right now. 

Here’s what I want you to realize. It’s not about all the actions and work you put in and knowing exactly what you want to do in your life and career, it’s about getting over the hump, getting out of your own way, and getting going. Taking those baby steps that are going to help give you more clarity and direction. There’s so much to gain from this experience because there’s the bottom line to launching your dream career or business, once you know where you want to go and take one baby step, it all gets so much easier and you create momentum no matter what happens. So I am super pumped and excited.

Annual Plan from 90-Day planner

4 Simple Steps to Complete Your Annual Plan

Now, I’ll walk you through how to figure out what goal should be the priority for the next year and how to narrow down your goals when you have so many ideas for the year.

Today you are going to break down your vision into an annual plan. As you get in the planning habit, you’ll review this every 90 days. We do this live with our CLASS members every quarter. 

That means as you keep doing this and make it a habit, your goals will become even clearer and you will have more clarity and focus.

The first time creating your annual plan is always the hardest. It gets easier as you do it again and again. Next time you create your 90-day plan, you’ll have a much better idea of what to focus on.

First, write down the date today. Easy!

By the way, the workbook (www.classycareergirl.com/freeplan) is editable online, so you can save it to your computer and edit it. A lot of our clients like to make changes and are scared to write in their planners. It’s ok if you make a mistake! 

STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR TOP 3 PRIORITIES/GOALS FOR THE YEAR

Where do I want to be in 5 years in my career, business and life? What’s the first step to getting there? Today’s task is about figuring out your three main career or business goals for the year. Only three things you want to have done.

Keep it simple. Focus on impact goals. Look at your vision. What do you need to do in the next year to reach your 5-10 year vision? Take your time with this.

Your goals should be SMART:

  • Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous.
  • Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress towards the accomplishment of the goal.
  • Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve.
  • Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant to your life purpose.
  • Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency.

STEP 2: IDENTIFY YOUR QUARTERLY FOCUS

Now, determine your focus for each quarter of the next year. I like to have 3 focuses per quarter. But 1-2 is totally fine. There are no rules. Make this work for you. What areas do you need to focus on to reach your 3 big annual goals? Each quarter you should have a focus that will help you reach your top 3 goals. You can’t do everything at once.

So let’s say that one of my goals is to launch an online course next year. 

  • My Quarter 1 focus would be on market research and audience building. 
  • My Quarter 2 focus would be on marketing, advertising, and launching my online course. 
  • My Quarter 3 focus would be on delivering the course and fulfilling and exceeding my student’s expectations. 
  • Quarter 4 would be on preparing to launch my course again the following year with what I’ve learned from the first launch. Does that make sense?  

STEP 3: NEXT YEAR’S FOCUS

Now, after you have taken your goals and broken them into quarterly focuses, we need to then think about next year. We can’t do everything we want in one year, so I always like to add stuff that I can’t get done this year onto the next year’s list. 

STEP 4: PERSONAL ITEMS

Then, your personal goals. Many people ask me if they should have two planners, one for work and one for personal life. I say heck no! If you are like me, work and life are intertwined and my planning system is all about keeping things simple. So that’s why there’s a spot for your personal goals right here. 

It could be working out 3 times per week, having a date night with my husband, paying off debt, volunteering at my daughter’s schools, whatever it is, your personal life is important because if you push it aside because you are so busy working on your career goals, you’ll lose fulfillment and we are all about fulfillment here, work and personal.

planner ideas

But I don’t have enough time to make my goals happen?

A lot of people have been asking about not having enough time. Well let me tell you, you have all the time you need to accomplish what matters most. You do not need to do everything. It might be time to start saying no. It might be time to take some time for yourself. 

And the timing is different for everybody. One of the mantras in our community is baby steps and imperfect action. You might be ready to start taking action on your plan right now which is awesome! Some of you have plans and are going to launch tomorrow, others of you are going to launch in a few months. And that is ok too! What I really want for everyone watching this workshop series is to just take the next step. Whatever that next step is for you. 

My goal and our goal as a team is to help you get the clarity around what that is for you in your plan so that you can start moving forward today. No longer thinking about it, you have a plan, a vision, let’s go. No more planning or waiting for it. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. Your plan is never going to be perfect. The key is to keep moving forward. So huge high five to everyone who has already taken that next right step.

And I can’t wait for those of you who are going to do it in the next few weeks or months. 

6 Parts of Creating an Organized Plan

  1. Vision plan
  2. Annual Plan
  3. 90-Day Plan
  4. Monthly Plan
  5. Weekly Plan
  6. Daily Plan

 

So where should I focus for the next 90 days?

Examples: I know it’s always easier when you have examples, so here you go!

90-Day Focus to Find a New Career (if you don’t know what you want)

  1. Research potential career fields
  2. Create your ideal career vision
  3. Understand yourself better
  4. Get support and make time

Get Hired Fast Formula: Find a Dream Job in 90 Days

STEP 1: GET FOCUSED ON YOUR IDEAL CAREER

STEP 2: ASK FOR HELP FROM YOUR NETWORK

STEP 3: BE VISIBLE

90-Day Focus For New Entrepreneurs

  1. Identify market
  2. Grow your audience
  3. Identify what your ideal client wants
  4. Attract your ideal clients

90-Day Focus For Current Business Owners

  1. Grow email list
  2. Improve sales systems
  3. Build your team
  4. Increase your revenue

How To Complete Your 90-Day Plan

So how do you choose one thing to focus on when it all seems to be important? There are no wrong goals. You can’t do this wrong!

STEP 1: THREE BIG QUARTERLY GOALS

Look back at your annual plan and what you wrote down for the first 90 days. That’s what you are going to focus on!  

Quarterly Plan of Create Your Future Planner

STEP 2: IDENTIFY WHY DO YOU WANT TO REACH THESE GOALS?

I love the book: Start With Why by Simon Sinek and how he says that people don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

The inspired leaders and organizations think, act and communicate from the inside out. How we connect.

So why do you want to reach those 90-day goals?

STEP 3: CREATE 30-60-90 DAY GOALS

Break down your 90-day goals into 30-60-90 day deadlines. 

Break down your goals into 30-day increments so you don’t get overwhelmed.

For example, if you wanted to start a podcast: 

  • 30 days of research and learning and interviewing others who have podcasts.
  • 60 days, record first episodes, hire a VA, interviews. 
  • 90 days, launch and marketing plan.

CCG Free Printable 90-Day Planner

Let me give you another example. If you want to create an online course:

  • In the first 30 days, you’ll want to do market research, surveys, get feedback, and interview potential clients.
  • In the next 60 days, you’ll want to plan to launch your course so start an email list, start building your audience. 
  • And at the 90-day mark, you’ll want to launch, open a cart, create your sales page, and a way to accept payment and accept your first students.

This is the structure of your plan. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Remember, you are going to do this again in 90 days. And if you don’t complete all your goals, it’s ok. 

Many of us get worried about setting goals because then they will feel sad when they don’t come true. The truth is many of my goals don’t come true. 

Here’s the thing, plans can change, dreams don’t. Sometimes my goals weren’t the right ones to get me to my ultimate vision. I am living my vision right now as a happy working mama but I didn’t get here how I thought I would. There were a lot of wrong turns and pivots I needed to take to get here. So it shouldn’t feel hard. We are breaking it down into steps to keep it simple and not hard.

Questions:

One of the common questions people have is how to organize your time when everyone else needs to interrupt you. 

I hear you, sometimes it’s hard to even get any alone time. The key here is that we have to do our priorities in small sprints. It might be 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there.

As moms we don’t have a lot of time, so we have to make the time we do have productive. When you are using my planning system, those small 15 minutes of baby steps every day really do add up because you know what your focus should be for your day.

You do what you can, with what you have, where you are right now. You can do this. 

Another common question I hear is how do I find funding to finance my goals? 

If this is a roadblock for you, I’d challenge you to think of some actions you can take first that don’t require cash. For example, when I was printing my physical planners, I knew that I needed some upfront cost. But first, there were many things I needed to do before I needed the money. I needed to find a printer, know the costs, design the planner, hire a designer, and come up with the new brand, look and feel, font and colors.

All this stuff didn’t require money upfront.

So in your first 30 days, I’d write these things that don’t require money in your 90-day plan.

Then, I’m a fan of always selling a beta or selling a product that you are going to make to generate cash flow before you start spending money. There is always a way so don’t let this hold you back.

Ask around, learn as much as you can and you might find out that it’s a lot easier and cheaper than you thought to launch your dream career.

I am so proud of you for finishing the planning guide! Your next step is to download my free 90-day planner and get started!

Hi, I'm Anna!

I’ll help you create a career strategy and plan so you can finally have a job or business you love that supports the life you really want.

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90 Day Planner