For Step Four we’re going to be focusing on how you can find focus and build a plan of action each quarter in your business. I’ve found that for us to work intuitively in our business, taking things a quarter at a time can be the best place to start.
This section has some practical exercises and questions, alongside some reflective questions like in Part 1. My hope is that it can help you develop the best process for you when it comes to mapping out a quarter in your business.
Why quarterly plan?
As much as I like to look at a year in my business as a whole, I’ve found that most of us have so many a-ha moments, fresh ideas, and evolutions throughout the year that it’s almost impossible to really plan that far ahead.
But with a quarter just covering 3 months in our business, it gives us enough space to make something tangible happen, to stay focused on some core goals, without overwhelming ourselves with too big of a chunk of time.
Breaking our year down into four 12-week stretches gives us enough space to refocus, reflect, and recharge throughout the year - and can be a great way to tackle our big picture goals without feeling too overwhelmed or losing momentum along the way.
Setting priorities, areas of focus, and goals each quarter
First step is to look at the quarter as a whole and map out what you’d really like to make happen with the next 3 months ahead. Ask yourself:
- What would I like to make happen this quarter?
- What are my income goals?
- How many clients would you like book? How many customers would you like to attract?
- Are there any new services, products, or offerings you’d like to launch?
- Are there any creative side projects you’d like to make space for?
- Any personal development and further learning you’d like to prioritise?
- Three months from now, how would you like things to look in your business?
Hopefully, once you’ve explored your answers to these questions, you can start to outline what your priorities, core areas of focus, and goals are for the next quarter ahead.
Outlining your responsibilities & workload
To truly work intuitively, we need a clear picture of what we actually need to make happen in our business. Looking at your quarter as a whole, outline:
- The projects, tasks, and deadlines you need to tackle this month
- The core priorities in your business this quarter
- The responsibilities you need to honour in your business this quarter
This can hopefully give you an overview of what your workload is going to look like this quarter - though it’s good to keep this flexible and open to changes and new additions as the quarter goes on, as sometimes new projects, opportunities, and tasks pop up along the way.
Exploring how you want to feel this quarter
Working intuitively is as much about what we get done as how we feel while we’re getting things done. Ask yourself:
- What do I want from this season of my life?
- How do I want to feel as I navigate my business this quarter?
- What do I want to prioritise in my life this quarter?
- What would I love to discover in this season of my life?
- Are there any new habits I’d love to explore and experiment with in this quarter?
What you can hopefully start to discover here is what your intuition wants you to prioritise in this next season of your business and creative life. This can guide you when it comes to working in a way that is fulfilling and productive at exactly the same time.
The things you do and don’t want to take with you this quarter
Time to take a few minutes to reflect. Looking back over what you’ve learned, experienced, and discovered in the previous 3-6 months in your business and creative life, ask yourself:
- What didn’t feel good during the past 3-6 months in my work and creative life? What would I like to leave behind and not take with me into this next quarter?
- What are habits, processes, and routines that I’d like to leave behind?
- What are lessons you’ve learned in this last season of your life that you’d like to honour and continue to make space for moving forward?
Working through these exercises at the end of each quarter gives you space to reconnect to what it is you really want in your creative life, and keeps you moving forward in a fulfilling and meaningful way in your business.
Building a quarterly action plan
To wrap up Part 4, it’s time to build your quarterly action plan. Each quarter, map out:
- Your core goals, priorities, and areas of focus for this quarter
- Your specific workload, projects, and deadlines for this quarter
- How you want to feel in this season of your life
- What you’d like to leave behind and what you’d like to take with you into this quarter
Once you start to build this habit each quarter, you can start to find the best groove for you. It may seem simple - and even a little boring - but these are the foundations for an intuitive workflow in your business.
Next up we’re going to explore how you can use your quarterly plan as a jumping off point for your monthly plan...