By: John Colovas

As a new year approaches, it’s never a bad idea to establish goals and create a mental image of what you want the future to look like. However, planning for an entire year is often stressful, time consuming, and can be difficult to organize. Due to a year being such a long period of time, keeping goals and visions concise and realistic will help with limiting complications and keeping the planner organized. Also, when planning for the future, it’s important to consider the accomplishments and shortcomings of the previous year. Past experiences and outcomes will create a guide for the planner, as they allow him/her to highlight new potential focuses for the upcoming year. Annual planning may be overwhelming, but have no fear, AKHIA is here to help!

Before I discuss a few tips that will turn annual planning into a breeze, I would first like to point out the importance of planning for the future. Not only does it reduce stress and simplify organization, but also, planning for the future allows you to focus on improvement, develop a clear vision, and keep finances in check. Without planning ahead, it’s easy to make simple miscalculations with finances or schedule overlapping meetings/events which could then lead to complications for the business. Ultimately, annual planning plays a key role in any organization as it establishes the framework to ensure that all operations perform efficiently with minimal unexpected difficulties. Now, let’s get a little more specific and discuss a few tips that will help you keep you and your organization on track for another year.

  • Make a calendar with important milestones – Creating a calendar for the upcoming year can be a bit tricky, but scheduling what you can is a great start toward staying on track. When creating your calendar, it’s beneficial to start with key points, such as, upcoming announcements, product launches, or events you know you’ll be attending throughout the upcoming year. Of course, as you are planning for an entire year, some events may not play out exactly as planned, but that’s okay! Just be sure to go with the flow, and take every option into consideration.
  • Use last year as a reference – It’s almost impossible to improve your organization without first knowing where improvement is needed. Although refining the weaker areas is crucial to success for an upcoming year, it’s equally as important that you identify where your organization excels. After deciphering your strengths and weaknesses, you can then figure out ways to maximize the utilization of your strengths while taking time to improve on your shortcomings as well.
  • Clearly define your goals for the upcoming year – Identifying your goals for the future is one of the most imperative steps in the annual planning process. It is important to make sure that each team within the organization has a set of goals that align with one another. Being on the same page while working to achieve a common goal will give team members the guidance they need to complete even the smallest of tasks. Sharing a common goal will also inspire employees to work for a purpose which can increase teamwork and productivity.

Although there are more factors to consider when planning for the year, these few takeaways are certainly a good place to start. Never underestimate the importance of planning ahead, and don’t panic if things don’t go as planned! With every new year comes new opportunities to improve and make the changes you’ve always wanted to make.

What are some complications you have faced when planning for a new year?