The Best Laid Plans

Health and wellness practitioner

HOW TO GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER IN 2019

 
During a recent meeting with my fabulous friend and accountability partner, Lily, we came to a realization: lists create anxiety, while plans promote tranquility.
 
 
In other words, an endless list of tasks staring you in the face only makes you realize how much you haven’t done. But when you turn those tasks into a plan, with a thoughtful timeline and due dates, you are already on your way to completion. You can exhale.
 
I’m a huge believer in setting goals. As a yoga therapist and as a business coach, I have annual goals for the type of impact and income I want to make, as well as the balanced lifestyle I want to live. I’m a great goal setter.
 
I’m also pretty handy at breaking down my goals into tasks, giving them due dates which then automatically sync with my calendar. In my mind, that should be enough to get it all done, right?
 
Kind of.
 
I found that to complete my tasks by their due dates I often had to work way more hours than is reasonable. It felt harder than it should have, given how organized I was.
 
So here’s the secret that I learned the hard way – that some of you smarty-pants wellness practitioners might already know: a well-organized list does not a plan make. Even if you slap some random due dates on said list, it doesn’t magically turn into a plan.
 
Although I was getting it right on many levels, I had omitted a few crucial steps in my planning process. I’d love to share with you, wise health and wellness practitioner, the system I’m now using – with much greater ease – thanks to the patient tutelage of Lily.
 
Since we’re at the beginning of 2019, it’s a perfect time for YOU (yes YOU!) to make sure you’ve got a process in place to help you grow as a health and wellness practitioner and in your yoga, health, or wellness business this year.

Phase 1 – Big Goal Setting

As mentioned before, I like to set goals in three key areas:
 
· Impact
 
· Income
 
· Balance / lifestyle
 
You can break these down into much smaller pieces, but for now set your annual goals in these areas. So it might look something like this:
 
Impact:
  • Offer weekly free podcasts for yoga practitioners, getting at least 2,000 downloads/month
  • At least six private yoga clients/week
  • Lead one therapeutic yoga training, at least 15 participants
Income: $75K
 
Balance / lifestyle:
  • End workday at 5:30 every day, no weekend hours
  • More time with friends and family
  • Two vacations/year

Phase 2 – Quarterly Planning

What do you have to do each quarter to reach your goals as a health and wellness practitioner? What are the key activities you need to focus on and the key metrics you need to pay attention to?
 
It’s way too challenging to go from annual goals to daily tasks. Breaking it down by quarter is a crucial next step. And this is where a handy app like Asana or Wunderlist (my two faves) comes in.
 

Use a Project or Task Management Tool

health and wellness practitioner 
You need to have a clear visual representation for your quarterly plan. When will you do each task? Who will complete the task? How do your intended deadlines align with other things going on in your life?
 
This was the part that was cumbersome for me, but Lily reminded me that it only needs to be done once per quarter. Here are the steps I use:
 
1. Create a “project” level folder/list/board – whatever the tool you’re using calls it – for every project you’re working on, plus a “personal” folder if you choose.
 
2. For each project, begin with your intended quarterly goals in mind and then enter all the major tasks you will need to implement to reach the quarterly goals. For many tools, including Asana and Wunderlist, you can also enter sub-tasks.
 
3. Assign each task a deadline, date, and an owner. Then review each project with the tasks ordered sequentially, and make sure it flows logically. Modify as needed.
 
4. Set up your management tool to sync with your calendar (most platforms offer this functionality), and also look at your list by “calendar view” from within the app if possible. This is where I would often get tripped up. I would assign every task a date, not realizing until the day before that I had assigned 10 tasks to myself on a day where I already was fully booked. Hence I would end up putting in waaay more hours to finish it all.
 
5. By looking at the calendar view at the beginning of each quarter, you add more intelligence and intention to the process and will ensure that you have enough time blocked out to complete everything. Speaking of which . . .
 
6. Your tasks must by allotted work time on your schedule, not just appear as an “all-day event” or “task” on their due date. This means that you need to go in and reserve a block of time to actually do the work. And that brings me to . . .
 

Weekly Planning

On Friday of each week I review the following week’s work and deadlines. This is when I allocate a specific block of time to work on each project, and actually put it in my calendar. I prefer this method because it gives me the flexibility to accommodate a mid-day hike or dance class, etc., and schedule these things into the mix. I have a highly variable schedule with my coaching clients and yoga practice, meaning each day looks very different.
 
Some of you might prefer to set aside a work block at the same time every day. For the health and wellness practitioner this can be challenging because your schedule is most likely highly variable, like mine. But if possible, you can reserve a block of time every day, let’s say 9:00-11:00am for example, for “project time,” when you are cranking through the tasks that you’ve assigned yourself for that day. Afternoons can be reserved for classes, clients, new business development, and other tasks. Sticking to that block of project time can literally transform your business from one in which you are always playing catch up, to one that is more spacious, manageable, and FUN to run.
 
The specifics of how you want to fit everything in are up to you. I highly advocate a “week in preview” each Friday (don’t wait until Monday morning!), in which you are clear on the tasks you need to accomplish each day and exactly when you will complete them.
 

Other Helpful Hints for the Health and Wellness Practitioner

health and wellness practitioner 
· Batch as much as you can and put those tasks on auto-repeat in your project management app. For example, every Thursday I review the posts that my social media manager has loaded in SocialBee for the following week. If you schedule your own social media you might dedicate time every Thursday at 3:00 pm to create content for the following week and load it in your social media scheduler. This is much easier than scrambling to create new posts every day.
 
· Be disciplined with yourself about completing what you set out to. AND know that it’s okay to reschedule and reassign tasks as needed. It’s far better to know when your plan needs tweaking and make adjustments, rather than putting your head in the sand while overdue tasks pile up ad infinitem.
 
· Have an accountability partner, coach, or group to keep you on track. I can’t overstate how important these are to my sanity and success as a health and wellness practitioner and professional. In addition to my awesome accountabili-buddy Lily, I meet monthly with a small mastermind group where we offer each other support, brain power, and good old fashioned TLC.
 
In fact, I’m such a huge believer in the power of group support and accountability, that I’ve created my own membership community for yoga, fitness, and wellness professionals, The Impact Circle. This is a space where people freely share information, resources, and expertise, with a goal of uplifting ALL group members and their business. (Learn more about how The Impact Circle can you help you fast track your business here).
 

Regardless of who or what you use to support your business growth, it’s crucial to have SOMETHING in place that will consistently nudge you toward serving more people, earning the money you deserve, and living a life of contentment. So make the commitment to a well planned 2019 and see what happens. I’ll be cheering you on

Leave a comment:

As always, I like to make this a two-way conversation! Do you have a planning process that works well for you? Any project or task management tools that you want to share with other health and wellness practitioners? Tell us below – I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. Kelly in Toronto

    Very helpful and practical advice. Just starting a business with a partner and sometimes the tasks are overwhelming, but the long term goals are unclear. Need to rethink things a bit. Thanks so much and all the best.

    • Laura

      Glad you found this helpful Kelly! Good luck with your new business – very exciting. Keep me posted on how it unfolds 🙂

  2. Kelli Anders

    You are so inspiring and helpful, Laura! Grad school takes up most of my time right now, but as that winds down (I graduate in July), I will keep an eye on the programs and masterminds you’re offering – clearly have lots to learn from you! Keep up the great work!

    • Laura

      Thanks so much Kelli! I wish you a be-earlied congratulations on finishing grad school and look forward to staying connected 🙂

  3. Susan Anderson

    Hi Laura. Glad I read this piece. I’m definitely a “to-do list” person, but I do organize it in a planning sort of way and I feel like I have some of the planning pieces in my head. I’d describe it as a bottom-up versus a top-down approach to planning. I think I need to flip this approach on its head and you’ve given me a nice structure/framework to do this. Thanks!

    • laura kupperman

      Sounds like you are already well organized Susan (no surprise there!). See what you think about some of these changes . . . Thanks for reading!

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