I recently published a video all about how to find time to work on your business and not just in it. Today's video continues on that topic!
I'm here to talk to you about how to create a 90-day plan so that you can map out what areas of your business you need to work on, and then you can prioritize them and fit them into your daily or your weekly routine.
It's all fine and dandy freeing up time every day to work on your business, but when you're not spending that time wisely on tasks that produce the highest return on investment, you're basically just busying yourself, you're not really moving your business forward.
Watch the video or read on to learn how to create a 90-day plan for YOUR freelance web and graphic design business.
Do you set goals, and then never actually get around to doing them; or does it take you forever to get around to the goals that you set? Say you set one in January and you say you're going to complete it in January... do you end up actually doing it in April? Let me know the answer to that question inside the comments section.
For example, getting organized - a lot of freelance graphic designers say to themselves, "Right, I am sick of feeling stressed out, burned out and overwhelmed. This year, I'm going to get organized. In fact, I'm going to do it this month."
Then they just let other things get in the way, and they never actually do it.
Another problem that I see a lot is when you don't prioritize tasks that lead to either:
- More money, or
- More time.
If the tasks that you are busying yourself with tasks that don't lead to one of those two things, you're not being productive, you're just being busy.
There is a big difference between the two.
This is the point when I also want to talk about the 80/20 rule, to emphasize what I just said. 20% of the tasks that you do lead to 80% of your profits. So basically, 80% of the time, most people are just busying themselves with tasks that they think that they need to do, but they actually don't. They're just wasting their time on tasks that could be either streamlined, automated, or outsourced.
The solution here is prioritization. You need to choose the tasks that have the highest return on investment and PLAN how and when you're going to take action on them.
I am going to dive into my three step process to prioritizing your daily tasks so that you are wildly productive, and you profit more instead of overworking yourself!
01: Set three 90-day goals
The first step in this process to creating a 90-day plan, is to set three goals that you want to achieve in 90 days.
Setting worthwhile goals does not have to be as hard as people make it out to be. You do not have to answer a gazillion questions to figure out the best goals for your business this year.
I find that a lot of people over-complicate this process, whereas I like to just ask myself these three simple questions and create goals around my answers.
Those three questions are:
- How do you want to feel in your life and your business?
- Is there one big thing that you want to achieve?
- Is there something you want more of?
Remember, we're just thinking of the next 90 days. There's a reason we're not doing this for the entire year, and that's because I have tried that before, and it does not work. When you try to think in terms of an entire year, it overwhelms you. Besides, your goals will change within the next three months, I guarantee. What you think you're going to do six months from now will change over the next 30 days.
Just focus on the next 90 days, and don't even think about the time after that.
Let's dive a little bit deeper into these questions. The first one, how do you want to feel in your life and your business? Let's say, as an example, that I want to feel less stressed. I want to feel peace of mind.
Next question: is there one big thing you want to achieve? In line with my example, let's say that the big thing I want to achieve is organizing my finances because it's coming up to tax time and my receipts are one big mess.
The final question is, is there something you want more of? Again, in line with my example, let's say that I want more time.
When we analyze those answers, we can create solid goals based on them.
Based on this example, my three goals for the next 90 days could be:
- To not just get all of my receipts in order for tax season, but also to create a monthly bookkeeping day so that I don't feel stressed again next year.
- Organize my client process so that I can shave some time off of each client's project, and also feel more at peace with each client that I take on.
- Work four days a week instead of five days so I free up some time and contribute to my peace of mind.
See how easy that was? I have just created goals based around those three important questions, and they are goals that will help me to feel the way I want, achieve more of the things that I want, stay focused on my top priorities.
02: Write out all the tasks that you need to do to achieve your 90-day goals.
You need to write down anything that comes to mind for this. I want you to dump it all on a notepad.
Then I want you to read through those tasks and cross out the ones that are either duplicates or unnecessary.
I did this exact exercise recently. I'm relaunching my course, Organize & Automate, so I wrote out all of the tasks that I would have to do for this launch.
Unnecessary tasks that I crossed off my list were things that were great to do if have the time to do them, but if I don't, it's not going to hinder my ultimate goal.
For example, creating a sales page for Organize & Automate was an unnecessary task on my list because, even though I would love to create a new sales page, it's okay if I don't because I already have one.
03: Schedule those tasks on your calendar or in your project management system.
I prefer to use Asana to do this. I use Asana to manage my 90-day goals AND my client projects. I think that a lot of people hear me talk about Asana a lot when it comes to managing design projects with your clients, but you can actually use it to manage your entire business, and that's exactly what I do.
When I've written out all the tasks that I need to do to complete my 90-day goals, I open Asana and I write out those tasks inside Asana. I'll put them in order of how I would like to do those tasks, and then I assign due dates to them. (If you'd like to watch me do this, watch my video!)
The image above is a screenshot of my Asana project for my relaunch of Organize & Automate. I've taken all of the tasks that I wrote on paper and I've written them out in a project inside Asana, as you can see. I've also put them all in order of how I would personally like to do them.
Once you've put all of your tasks inside Asana like this is, you'll give each of your tasks due dates. (See the screenshot below!)
Giving your tasks due dates really makes sure that when it comes to your 90-day goals, you're not just setting a goal, and then never actually acting on it. You've set that goal, you've broken that goal into tiny stages, and then you've given those stages due dates.
If you're using Asana, it will add your tasks to your calendar after you've given them due dates.
As you can see in this screenshot, all of my Organize & Automate tasks (color-coded green), are now on my Asana calendar. I can see at a glance exactly when I'm going to be working on that 90-day goal, and I can tick things off as I do them.
That helps me to make sure that I'm taking action on my 90-day goal. I'm not just saying, "I'm going to relaunch Organize & Automate in March," and then never actually get around to doing it. I'm doing the things that need to get done to make my launch a success.
That is basically how you create a 90-day plan for your business! It's easier than you thought, right?
FREE 90-day Plan Guidebook
To download my FREE 90-day Plan Guidebook, enter your email address and you'll receive it immediately. It's a 3-page guidebook you can use every 90 days to create your 90-day plan!
The benefits of a 90-day plan:
- There is no overwhelm because you don't have to focus on the entire scary year ahead of you.
- Your weekly tasks are planned for the next 90 days. no more having to plan your weeks on a Sunday morning which is what I used to do. Now, I just do this at the start of every 90 days, and then my weeks are completely planned for the rest of those 90 days.
- A 90-day plan also makes sure that you're doing something that you know will give you a high return on investment. It makes sure that you are taking action every day or every week on the things that matter the most to your business and your happiness.
Now, creating a plan will help you actually achieve your biggest goals. But how do you make time each day to take action on your plan?
If you want to learn how to free up as much as four hours per day to actually spend time working on your business, and not just for your clients, then check out my other video: How To Make Time To Work On Your Design Business, Not Just In It.