1. It will take longer than you think.
Planning for the year involves more than just jotting down a few to-do items. Crafting goals with meaning, relevance, and that lead to impact takes time. So does thinking through the right projects, planning for them, and getting a feel for how you’re going to fit everything in on top of running your existing business/day job/family commitments. I start thinking (just thinking!) about goals for the following year in August. Give this process the time it deserves now because…

2. The holiday madness is fast approaching.
We just crossed the Autumn equinox. Blink and you’ll be finishing your Thanksgiving dinner and scrambling to get everything ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Blink again and you’ll be cranking away, getting into last-minute gift guides and fulfilling holiday orders. Not to mention the holiday whirlwind of family visits, parties, and social obligations. 2014 prep and planning? Fuhgeddaboudit.

3. Getting organized now ensures that you’ll get the year of to a strong start.
Having a plan of attack from the get-go will allow you to hit the ground running during those first precious months of the year when you’re full of vim and vigor. This burst of energy that gets us all into the gym in January should be used for ACTION, not planning. It’s a point in the cycle that should be seized and used for what it’s meant for.

4. Percolation time.
Even when we take time to come up with excellent goals, thoughtful projects, and spot-on plans, it’s always best when they have time to percolate. You might have had the experience of setting aside a design, a program, a painting for awhile, then having the “a-ha!” moment or some clarity on how you tweak it to make it just that much better. If you finish a “first draft” of your prep before the holidays, you can put the finishing touches on it in the lull between the holidays and the New Year.

5. You’ll have enough time for course corrections.
Despite all of the points listed above, course corrections will be required. That will always be the case. Starting the year with a solid game plan keeps you from finding yourself disoriented and confused about your direction in March — or worse, starting from scratch when it’s already the beginning of the spring. Adjusting an existing blueprint is way better than paving the road as you drive. I’m mixing my metaphors, but you get the idea!

If you’re ready to get organized and get your game plan for 2014 on, sign up now for the Steal This Process Project and Time management Course. The course is a six-week program that walks you through setting the right goals for your business, all the way through defining the right projects, estimating them, planning everything out and getting it all done.

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Hurry, the course starts on Sept. 30th and registration ends on the 29th!

Original image courtesy of comedy nose