How to plan your 2023 for maximum success
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Success won’t land in your lap. If you want to have a successful 2023, you need to make a plan! Here’s a simple step-by-step process to help you plan your 2023 for maximum success.
Hands up who would like to have a successful 2023?
Of course you would! Very few people in this world would say they do not want to have a successful 2023.
But here’s the cold hard truth… success won’t land in your lap.
And it won’t happen by accident, either.
If you want to have a successful 2023, you need to make it happen!
If you want to have a successful 2023, you need to make a plan AND then actually carry out that plan!
So many people will drift through 2023, being reactive not proactive, chasing after new shiny objects, falling down random rabbit holes and being buffeted by the whims of other people’s agendas…
Those people will get to the end of 2023 and wonder why they have had yet another unsuccessful year.
Don’t let that be you!
Ready to have a successful 2023?
In this article I share my simple 7 step process to help you plan your 2023 for maximum success.
Step 1: Define ‘success’
This is such an important step, but one that is so often overlooked! You cannot plan for success in 2023, until you have defined what success looks like to you.
So take a moment to close your eyes and imagine December 2023… Imagine you have had a ‘successful’ year… What does December 2023 look like?
Now grab a sheet of paper and a pen and write down what you imagined.
Step 2: Write down everything you *could* do to achieve that
Now grab another sheet of paper and write down everything you *could* do to achieve that vision of success you have just imagined.
I recommend you write down every conceivable possible task. Don’t filter. Don’t make any decisions about whether each task would be a good use of your time or not (we’ll do that in the next step). Just write everything down that comes to mind.
Step 3: Pick your 9 Most Impactful Tasks
Now, here’s the reality check… you only have 12 months in 2023. That means you can’t do everything!
That might sound depressing… but it needn’t be. It’s actually quite liberating…
Because here’s the thing… Not all the tasks you wrote down in Step 2 are going to move the dial by the same amount…
Some tasks will make a big difference.
Some tasks will make a small difference.
And some tasks will barely move the dial at all.
The secret to being successful is to focus the majority of your efforts and energies on just a small handful of activities – the tasks that give you the most bang for your buck.
Want to know the difference between successful and unsuccessful people?
Successful people figure out what their Most Impactful Tasks are and spend the majority of their time and energy on just a small handful of highly impactful tasks.
Unsuccessful people don’t… and as a result they end up running themselves ragged trying to do a little bit of everything.
If you feel you just don’t have enough time to do everything this is why. It’s because you don’t have enough time to do everything!
Let me repeat that…
YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO DO EVERYTHING!
So don’t even try.
Instead take a look at your great long list from Step 2 and ask yourself… ‘If I could only do 9 of these tasks this year, which 9 would I do?’
Because you can’t do everything, so you have to choose. And it makes sense to choose the tasks that are going to move the dial the most. I call these your ‘Most Impactful Tasks’ – or MITs for short.
Why 9? Well two reasons, first because it really concentrates your mind… if you can only pick 9, then you need to be really ruthless and really strict with yourself… selecting only the activities which are going to genuinely make a BIG difference.
But the other reason is a practical one… typically 9 activities is about how many activities you can fit into a year… I’m working on the assumption here that each of your Most Impactful Tasks will take you about a month to do. Of course, some may take 2 months, while others may take less time, but if on average each MIT takes you 1 month then 9 MITs in a year gives you a little buffer room.
Buffer room is good because it allows you to take time off… and that’s really important. Rest is one of the best productivity tools. But also, it gives you a little extra room, so if one task takes a little longer than you anticipate, then it doesn’t throw off your entire plan.
PRO TIP: If you find this hard, start by asking yourself ‘If I could only do 1 of these things, which 1 would I do?’ Keep going until you have 9.
Step 4: Plan when you will do your 9 MITs
So now you have your 9 MITs, it’s time to plan WHEN you will do those 9 MITs. Because unless you make a firm plan for WHEN you will do your Most Impactful Tasks, they won’t get done!
So take a look at those 9 MITs and ask yourself… ‘What’s the most logical order to do these in?’ Then rearrange your MITs into a sensible order.
Once you have decided what order to tackle your MITs in, the next step is to assign each MIT a month. Decide which MIT you will tackle this month… which MIT you will tackle next month… and so on… until you have planned out the whole of the next 12 months.
This is your Yearly Action Plan.
Need a little extra help with this? Then grab a copy of my ebook Blog Smarter Not Harder where I take you through this whole process in more detail – with examples and worksheets!
Step 5: Plan your first month
So now you have your Yearly Action Plan, it’s time to plan out your first month in more detail.
So, grab another piece of paper and write Month 1 at the top.
Right underneath, write down the MIT you’ve assigned to Month 1.
Next, write down all the sub-tasks you’ll need to do to achieve your MIT for the month.
Try to be as specific as possible. The more detailed you are here, the better your chances of success.
Once you have written down all the sub-tasks needed to complete your first MIT, your next task is to assign a week and a day to each sub-task.
For example: WEEK 1, MON or WEEK 3, THU.
This is super important!
Why? Because if you just have a list of tasks on a piece of paper, they are very unlikely to actually get done. But by assigning every sub-task a specific week and a specific day, suddenly this turns into a plan – a commitment, if you like. You can no longer look at your Monthly Action Plan and think ‘I’ll get to that tomorrow’. Now, every day you have specific tasks that need to get done THAT day, in order to achieve your MIT for the month.
Step 6: Plan Months 2-12
Now you have two options. You can do the exact same thing and write Monthly Action Plans for Months 2-12 right now.
You can make an appointment in your diary on the last day of every month to repeat this process for the next month, and plan a month at a time.
Step 7: Stick to your plan!
Now you have to stick to your plan!
You have defined what success in 2023 means for you.
You have figured out your 9 Most Impactful Tasks – these are the 9 tasks that will move the dial the most when it comes to achieving your definition of success for 2023.
You have created your Yearly Action Plan and your Monthly Action Plans.
Now you need to carry out your plan. Trust that those specific actions and tasks that you’ve picked are the ones that are going to get you to your definition of success by the end of 2023.
That means every day you need to do the 1, 2 or 3 sub-tasks you’ve assigned to that day. If you don’t, you won’t achieve your 9 MITs and you are very unlikely to have a successful 2023!
The trouble is life has a way of derailing your carefully made plans, right? Well, I have a few tricks to help you to make sure that it doesn’t!
Trick #1 Write Daily Action Plans
One of my favourite truisms is Parkinson’s Law… Parkinson’s law states that:
‘Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.’
Or, to put it another way:
‘Tasks expand to fill the time you give them.’
So trick #1 is to give every task a very specific and realistic timeslot. If you start the day with 8 hours stretching in front of you, you’ll feel like you have all the time in the world to get your assigned tasks done… as a result you’re more likely to procrastinate over getting started, get distracted over social media, emails and/or housework and, when you do get down to the tasks in hand, do them slowly and allow yourself to frequently be distracted by other things. As a result, either it takes longer to do the tasks you set yourself, or worse – you never quite get to them.
But if instead you write a Daily Action Plan, which details exactly WHEN you will do each task, you are much more likely to get your tasks done, and done quicker.
Trick #2 Write your Daily Action Plan the night before
You’ve heard of procrasti-planning, right? It’s so easy to waste the first few hours of the day procrasti-planning. My antidote to this is really simple. Write your Daily Action Plan the night before. This means you can hit the ground running when you start work the next day.
Trick #3 Get your MIT related tasks done first
If you start the day like most people – checking your emails, checking social media, checking your comments, checking your stats… you start the day in reactive mode, dealing with other people’s agendas, losing yourself down a rabbit hole and using all these things to procrastinate actually getting started…
And it’s easy to spend ALL DAY doing this and never actually getting to the tasks you assigned to that day… the tasks that will actually ensure you complete your MITs… the tasks that will actually help you achieve your definition of success by the end of 2023.
The antidote to this is simply to not allow yourself to do anything else UNTIL you’ve completed your MIT-related tasks for the day. You’ll be amazed how much less time you spend on emails and social media once you’re not using those things to procrastinate!
What about ‘everything else’?
Now, I know what you might be thinking… but what about ‘everything else?’
If you’ve only picked 9 MITs, that leaves an awful lot you haven’t planned in.
But here’s the thing… remember what I said earlier about how you can’t do everything?
Well… you can’t do everything!
Which is why you have to CHOOSE.
Your time is finite, which means you need to figure out which tasks and activities are the best use of your time… and those are your MITs.
But in order to make time to do the right things – your most impactful tasks – you need to remove pretty much everything else off your to do list.
I’m warning you now, that’s going to be painful. But it’ll be worth it!
Because you’re taking off GOOD things and replacing them with BETTER things – the things that will move the dial the most.
So, for example, for me that’s things like Instagram Reels and TikTok, most sponsored post opportunities that come my way and doing coaching calls, to name just a few.
Now, don’t get me wrong, most of those things are really good things! But are they the BEST things for ME to be doing with MY time? Are those the things that are going to give me the most bang for my buck? NO! So they need to come off my to do list to make way for the things that will move the dial the most.
Of course, you may come to completely different conclusions. Perhaps you are absolutely KILLING it on TikTok right now and that IS the thing that is going to give you the most bang for your buck. Again, you need to figure this one out for yourself. But be careful – it is very easy to start thinking that this kind of ‘busy work’ is somehow essential. It’s not. Remember you need to remove the GOOD to make way for the BETTER.
I imagine, after reading this post, you may have a few ‘what ifs’…
For example, what if a new opportunity presents itself midway through the year, that is too good to miss and can’t be put off until next year?
What about routine administrative tasks that just need to be done?
Or what if stuff happens that isn’t on your plan and needs immediate attention – like if your website crashes or your Google traffic takes a sudden nosedive?
I cover the answers to all these questions and more in my ebook Blog Smarter Not Harder. Fill in your details below and I’ll send you a free copy!
Blog Smarter Not Harder
Need a bit of help with this process? Then grab yourself a free copy of my ebook Blog Smarter Not Harder. In my ebook I go through this whole process, but in much more detail… and with lots of examples and worksheets!
Over to you!
I would love to hear how you get on with these steps! Let me know in the comments below.
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