Simple Yearly Planning Worksheet

Tool by Joan FriedlanderThe Simple Yearly Planning Worksheet is a great way to organize your thoughts around your goals and planned actions for the coming year. If you start the process by reviewing your progress for the past year (for example, what you accomplished, what you learned, and what you are grateful for), you will have a strong foundation for planning for the year to come.

All good plans start with larger scale objectives which then get brought into present time through defined actions. You can use the following process for both business and personal objectives. If you do decide to use it for both, I recommend creating two different documents. You can download the planning worksheet at the bottom of this page.

If you haven’t yet thought much about how to plan your year, you might start with an interim step once recommended to me. Write down 30 goals for the upcoming year. If you have time, do this again two weeks later and in a different location. You may come up with different goals. Review the list (or lists) and organize your 30 goals as follows:

  • The 10 goals you must accomplish
  • The 10 goals that would make the most difference but aren’t “urgent”
  • The 10 goals that would be nice but are not critical

Then use the planning worksheet first to record yearly objectives, then quarterly objectives or action steps for each area of your life or business.

Step 1 – List 5–10 overriding objectives or goals for the coming year. Look at what you want to accomplish, who you want to become, or how you want to be different. Consider desired outcomes, income, purpose and products.

Step 2 – Use the table provided on the worksheet to create a list of objectives for each quarter of the year. I’d suggest allowing more time for essential planning and ramp-up in the first quarter so you can build momentum throughout the year. By planning quarterly objectives and actions you’ll create a roadmap that greatly improves the likelihood you’ll reach your annual objectives, and in such a way that you’ll have a realistic handle on what you can actually do in any given quarter.

As you map out your objectives, projects, or action steps from quarter to quarter, ask yourself if you need to do something the previous quarter in order to meet that objective. You may also wish to note which month during the quarter you plan to work on certain projects.

By the time you’re done, you should have a solid plan to help you schedule your projects and actions throughout the year. You can further flesh things out by creating another table to help you plan your projects each month. And, as always, when you get into action you may learn new things that will impact your plans. The worksheet is intended as an organic document, meaning it can be adjusted as you get in action and get feedback from reality.

You don’t have to start this process at the beginning of the year. You can use the Simple Yearly Planning Worksheet for a specific project, or you can map out long-term goals at any time. One client used the worksheet to map out her strategies for goals she wanted to accomplish in the next nine months, starting in the fourth quarter of the year.

Don’t be fooled by the apparent simplicity of the Simple Yearly Planning Worksheet. The power is in the process of systematically thinking things through and designing strategies and actions that build upon each other in order to achieve your goals. Rather than collapsing under the pull to “do everything now,” you’ll prepare advance guidelines for where you need to be each quarter! Rather than worrying about what you’ll do and when to do it, you’ll have a plan. Plans are good.

Make it a great year!

Simple Yearly Planning Worksheet (Word)

Click on the title above to open in your browser window.
To download, right click and choose “Save Target/File As.”

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