How I’m Changing My Business Planning Process for 2022

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Hello friends and welcome to the new season of the Broadening Horizons Podcast as well as a whole new year! happy 2022! 

I want to start off this podcast by giving a brief apology for how I ended last season. that was not the way that I intended to in last season just kind of dropping off the face of the planet as of October but if you’ve been following along on our Instagram journey you know that the fall of last year it was just heartbreaking for us. we had three major losses in our family And it was just one of those things where the podcast just had to be put on hold. I was not in the right headspace to sit down and record like this. so right now we are back and I’m so excited to be with you guys I hope that everyone is having an absolutely fantastic 2022 so far!

I know I have a lot of hopes and dreams for this year and with each new year I think that this is a fresh opportunity for us to look at what we’re doing, how we are showing up, and really what we want to bring to the world. I have certainly been doing that a lot over the last few months. I took all of December off, which was definitely needed for my mental health, but it also gave me a lot of time to just sit and think.

If you were like me and you’re already in a introspective person sometimes that’s just necessary to just sit down and think about these things. I just decided this year that I needed to reevaluate how I plan to show up for my community, what I want to be know for, and what I need to leave behind me in the year 2021.

The biggest thing really right now is how I’m kind of planning out all of those goals for the new year. I always have some sort of plan as I move forward into a new year just so I kind of have my ducks in a row but this year my planning process has looked a little different. and again if you read my last blog post about my yearly goals you’ll see that my goals look really different this year too. 

Usually it is very work related. I usually have things planned out by month or by quarter to hit certain marks in my business whether that’s monetary goals, sales goals, or amount of inquiries that I have coming in. all of those things I usually keep track of. But this year my planning and my goals all together just look different and impart that’s due to kind of what we’ve been through over the last few months but also I think just where we are in 2022. I mean let’s be honest these last couple of years have been bizarre for everyone and there’s been a lot of things that have changed in our business. 

If any of you were in the same kind of space that I am in where you’re feeling very introspective, you really want to approach your business from a place of wellness instead of “girlbossing” and hitting those next goals, and this whole mentality of like “hustle culture”, this episode is for you!

01

The first thing that’s kind of changing my planning process for 2022 is, just with the grief that we’ve been through, I’m trying to give myself a lot of grace during this grieving process. 

Taking off all of December was already something that I had planned for my business but it ended up being absolutely necessary. I had planned to take that time off in order to work on themes and to be honest I didn’t work on anything just because I was not in the right headspace after losing our baby to be able to work. I think that if you’ve ever experienced grief like that surely you would understand. It’s impossible to feel productive and it feels like you’re beating yourself up when you’re trying to be productive while also grieving.

I have just taken that as a way of easing myself into 2022 I feel like I don’t have to make sure that I am at my fullest potential every single day, every hour of every day. I’m really trying to pay attention to what my body needs every day. and so that means that I am not filling my weekly calendars or even my monthly calendars to the brim because I know that there will be days I will wake up and they will feel really heavy and I will need to take that day to journal and exercise and eat yummy food and just look after myself and that’s OK. and I think that we really need to get to a place in entrepreneurship of recognizing that that’s OK and that you don’t have to have a full schedule you don’t have to have 1 million meetings lined up in fact you don’t have to have like a million and one inquiries coming in in order to be doing a good job in your business. and that’s such a hard thing to learn. but when you say something like grief you do learn it because you have to learn it. there’s no other way to handle these things.

I guess some people would throw themselves into their work when they’re grieving I have just found that it has been better for my mental health to kind of let work take a backseat.

I’m starting there I’m not feeling my filling my days up, I’m not filling my months up, or my weeks up with 1 million to-dos. and that’s very different than how things I’ve looked in past years where I just wanted to go go go and I had all these ideas and I was planning them out months in advance.

This year I’m taking it easy. I do have ideas but I’m bringing my favorite ones to the forefront, the ones that make me feel good, the ones that I think I need to get off my chest, like this podcast. I felt like this was really fitting to start this year off with just how I am changing and how I am letting that impact my business.

02

The next big way that I’m changing my planning process is keeping things more flexible by using a digital planner.

Now this podcast is not sponsored by Notion but I just decided to start using Notion this past year kind of towards the end of the year. I needed a platform where I could dump all of my ideas but also linked to other things that I have going on and be able to share things with my assistant and just keep it all in one place. and I found that I had a lot of different things that I was using in order to collect my ideas. I was using Trello for all my blog post ideas and social media content. I was using a GoodNotes and a paper planner type thing on GoodNotes, I mean it was digital but I was still writing in it on my iPad, as my daily planner. I was using Asana to dictate what I needed my assistant to do in any meetings and things that I had going on. and basically last year I just said “OK this is not working. I need it all in one place. I need all my zoom links in one place. I need all my content planning all in one place. I need all my meetings and my to-do list. I need to just be able to click on one link and have it all there.”

I’m still going into 2022 using Notion as my digital planner I have it on my iPad and on my desktop.

I think that if I write things down they somehow feel more concrete while digital planning allows me to delete things and move things around a lot easier and organize my thoughts in a much more free-flowing manner than if I’m writing things down and have to erase them or copy them somewhere else.

I just type faster than I write. I think that probably most people do. but notion is allowing me to have everything at a glance, all of my goals, my reading list, my habit tracker, all of that, but I have a bit more flexibility in how I set up my schedule and what I want my weekly planner to look like or what I want my contents planner to look like. It’s also saving me time because I could always design up a PDF or a paper planner like I’ve done in the past to handle all that stuff but I just love the flexibility of just being able to type things out make lists make a checklist do whatever I need to do, move it around and just keep things more flexible this year.

03

The next thing that I’m doing to kind of change in my planning process is only planning one month at a time.

For some of you that may sound like more planning than even you’re doing and that’s totally fine! if you want to just plan like one day at a time or one week at a time by all means do what works for you! I used to be one of those people that I would plan, especially my content, many many months in advance. and what I started to find last year with my podcast is that helped for things like interviews but it did not help for things like what I was going to post on Instagram because if I planned even two months in advance by the time I got to that second month I wanted to post other things than what I had planned or I had new content from client work or sketches that I had done that I wanted to show off. and I just found that planning that far in advance ended up being kind of a waste of time because again I was changing my mind by the time I got there.

Right now I’m really only planning one month at a time and that’s purely just so I can still batch content, I can take photos in one sitting and have enough photos from my Instagram feed, I can make sure that I know what podcasts are coming out that month so that I can do graphics for them, and honestly I did all the content for the blog and podcast and my Instagram in one Sunday. like all the visuals in one day. and that has just save me so much time. I know what’s coming out for each week on the blog and podcast and I think that will also help me just be more on top of things.

Again towards the end of the year last year things were kind of getting away from me with trying to grieve some of the things we are going through but also trying to make sure that I’m staying in contact with my clients, make sure that I was putting out content and at the end of the day something just had to fall by the wayside and it was the content to promote myself. all the fun stuff that I do purely for me and for you guys to nourish this community.

Obviously with my client work I had to stay on top of that and I was also trying to protect my own mental well-being so I just didn’t add on any extra work on top of what I was already doing, so that meant not putting out blog posts or podcasts. 

I’m hoping that was planning one month at a time like this I can go ahead and record the couple of podcast that will come out each month. I’m gonna do them biweekly now just to kind of give me some breathing room and I know what blog post will come in between those, or maybe I have a couple of blog posts coming out each month, depending on how long the month is. That allows me to like I said batch content for those different podcast for those blog posts and just go ahead and have them ready for you guys so that I am putting out content.

Planning one month at a time like this I think it’s going to hold me accountable while also giving me more of that flexibility so that by February I can reassess what I want to talk about on the podcast and how I wanna show up on Instagram. That just gives me a lot of a lot of freedom while also feeling like I’m prepared because we all know I like to be prepared.

04

The next thing I’m doing to kind of change my planning process is planning vacation at the start of the year.

I have already blocked off the time that I want to take off this year which is so so freeing. I found that taking off December last year, even though I had planned to still work, just not on client work, in December, I found the actually taking it off completely made me so much more ready to start in January. I know that that’s a privilege that I can take off a full month at a time but I think that it’s necessary. If you are working nonstop and taking no breaks throughout the year it is so hard to keep showing up and keep being excited for your work even if you love what you do.

Believe me, I absolutely love what I do! I would not be doing any of this if I didn’t. But I was getting burn out last year and again part of that it’s just me feeling like I had to be productive in the face of grief and that’s just borderline impossible I think for most people. so making sure that I’m taking time for myself, and taking time to do things with Mike, and taking time to just do the things that I love to do: whether that is writing for fun, or reading for fun, I want to work out for fun again. I feel like working out is such like a taboo thing because we all know we’re supposed to do it but it’s usually not fun.

We put this pressure on ourselves to perform and I honestly do that in so many areas of my life I put such pressure on myself to be great at whatever I’m doing. I’ve just reached a point where I’m like I just want to do it for fun. I just want to dance in my living room. I wanna watch TV and lift weights and just be like not super serious about it, like I don’t have to count every rep. I just want to have fun, do things that I enjoy, play tennis, go for a swim, do you all the things that I would do when I was a kid that are still considered exercise.

That’s kind of getting off-topic but basically taking that time for yourself is so so important. So I have already blocked off December again for this year because I just know that by the end of the year I’m gonna need that refresh again. The holidays are always kind of hectic. We didn’t really see many people around the holidays. We spent Christmas with my in-laws and we didn’t see my family until actually this past weekend. We spaced those Christmases out just so we could be Covid conscious, but it was still so necessary during all the kind of typical hustle and bustle: ordering gifts, trying to make sure that we were checking everything off for the holidays, while also looking after ourselves because last month was when we lost our baby. and so there was a lot going on.

And I just know that this coming year I’m gonna need that again even if nothing tragic is happening in our life. I know that I’m gonna need that little mental break from client work and from feeling like I have to be productive. so December is already off the books.

I’ve also already decided, kind of with Mike but also with the approval of my therapist, to take off the time that I had already allotted for maternity leave. and I’m not gonna take the full-time necessarily but I will take a few weeks I think towards the end of April. so I’m kind of expecting that May, or at least a large part of May, I’m gonna take some time off. We may just maybe do a bit of traveling and by traveling I mean just like driving to other cities. Again, we’re very Covid conscious when we travel. so it’s not like we’re just gonna go like party it up at bars in other cities. I think that if we take a trip this year it’ll probably be somewhere out west were we can just stay in a Airbnb for a bit to get away and just take some time for us again to read and write and do all the things that we love to do.

So I’m already planning on taking that time off kind of in the middle of the year and then again at the end of the year. I already know when I’m talking to potential clients that those dates are full. Already right now, we’re basically full for the spring as far as client work, which is crazy to me! So a lot of inquiries that I have coming up you know I’m just gonna have to be honest with them and say “OK well I can’t take on this project until probably mid summer” because I am making sure that I’m taking that time for myself. 

I know that the end of April is going to be really hard because our little girl was due April 28 and I just want to acknowledge that and do something to celebrate her life and also do some thing that makes me feel good about where we are when that date comes because I know that that’s gonna be really really hard for us. I’m not trying to take on client work during that time. I’m not trying to hustle through that. again acknowledging that there is grief in life and trying to give myself grace during those times, going back to my first point, that’s kind of part of these vacations that I’ve already allotted for myself.

I think for anyone, regardless of where you are in life, give yourself time off. just go ahead and put that on your schedule when you want to take time off. talk to your partner or even a friend and decide if you’re going to go spend a week at the beach just lounging in the sand or something and do something for you! and just take that vacation.

I promise work will still be there. I promise that your clients will understand.

I had kind of this epiphany this year when we went to Paris, where we actually found out that we were pregnant and I posted about that on my Instagram if you didn’t see that, but I determined when we were getting ready to take that trip, at first I was thinking “We can’t take this trip. I haven’t taken a trip like this in a while. I can’t be away from work” and then I just thought “Wait… all of my clients that I’ve worked with this year have taken vacation. They have taking time off to be with their children or husband or whoever.” so I don’t know why that’s such a weird thought that like I’m allowed to do that for myself!

Even if you’re not comfortable flying right now, which I totally understand that, (it probably was not smart for us to fly to Paris last year we just had to get away because we were kind of losing our minds with all that was happening in our life) but I feel like sometimes it’s so hard to just like give yourself the credit that you deserve and say like “yeah like I’m allowed to do these things for myself. I’m allowed to take a vacation”

So go ahead and tell yourself “hey, I’m allowed to take time off this year” and give yourself that time off. Just go ahead and write it in your schedule and make sure that you do it. Make sure that you stick to it. Don’t let deadlines, or client work or whatever you have going on keep you from looking after yourself.

05

The last thing that I am doing to kind of change my process this year is create from a place of my own personal taste.

What I mean by this is when I am planning out my contact for the year, whether that is for the blog, whether that is for Instagram, weather that’s for the stuff that I send to my clients even, I want to create for me again. and this goes hand-in-hand with the I wanna work out for fun again, I want to read for fun again, I wanna write for fun again, I want to create for fun again!

 I feel like I started this business with the idea that I would get to create pretty things all day long and it would all feel like me and I feel like I was getting to express myself. and so quickly I have fallen into the right of feeling like I have to keep up with other designers, feel like I have to put out educational resources all the time, and I still do want to put out educational resources I just want them to be topics that I actually care about. I’m kind of done trying to play the game of trying to have the most SEO friendly blog posts or the most pin worthy whatever.

I have just found that a lot of that hasn’t made me happy and I have just felt like I’m trying to create what I think other people will like instead of creating what I like.

This is really funny because I was talking to my assistant about this last week that actually a lot of people have found me and my blog from doing monthly mood boards and in fact some of you that are listening may have found me from Monthly mood boards. Those purely started just for me wanting to create them. No one asked for those. No one was telling me “hey this will be a great asset for your blog”. I was just sitting there thinking “OK I really love creating mood boards for my clients. A lot of people really love to keep them after the project is done. What if I did that for each month? What if I had kind of a style for the month or a color scheme or show whatever I was inspired by that month? What if I just showed that to people in a mood board?”

So I just started creating them! And if you followed my blog for a long time you’ll remember that I used to have a topic for the month but that only lasted I think about like three or four months because I started to get tired of the sticking to a strict topic and I felt like my contact was starting to not make sense because I was trying to fit them within these topics.

But I used to come up with like a topic like say “connection” and my mood board would have to do with “connection”. I would create this like small little logo for the month of “connection” and all of my content for the blog and Instagram would all be about “connection”. that was years ago and that’s kind of how it started though. I wanted to have something that I could show people that was purely just created from my head, not filtered through a client project, not changed in any way to make a project brief work or whatever, it just purely came from me.

Obviously my style has evolved through the years and I just started doing these monthly mood boards and putting them out there because it was just something that I really loved and something that I was really drawn to.

And wouldn’t you know it, that’s what a lot of people find me from! They find my mood boards on Pinterest, they love that style, and I end up getting contacted for that. I can’t tell you how many people reach out to me and say something like “I love your mood boards, I’m obsessed, I wanna work with you!” which is awesome because that just came from my brain and again not from a client project that a client tailored to fit their needs or that I specifically did fit a clients needs. It’s just from me. 

So my thought process going into creating and planning for this year has just been planning more content and creating more content that I want to create.

So this month has really started off with me wanting to draw more and I just started doing like little illustrations and you’ll see some of those illustrations in this blog post. I just wanted to draw again. I just wanted to create cute little sketches, things that I’m thinking about, things that I think would work well for my content that I’m putting out there. 

Right now it’s taking the shape of these little sketches. I don’t know how it will evolve through the year I guess depending on whatever I’m feeling. I could see this just kind of shaping my whole process and how I present myself online which I’m kind of fine with, you know?

I think that creating from a place of personal style and personal taste that is how we set ourselves apart from one another. If you’re trying to look like someone else, if you’re trying to emulate a certain style, it’s gonna be harder to stick with it then if you were to just do what makes you happy and really hone those skills. A lot of times that’s how designers or singers or any artist, that’s how they find their style their signature style that they become known for.

I just encourage any of you out there that I may be feeling kind of stuck in a rut, or not sure how to approach this next year, I would love for you to kind of look back through the different things that you’re creating, the different things that you’re putting out there, and just see if it’s things that you personally would consume. Are they things that you would want to pin? are they things that you would want to engage in? are they things that you would want to create if you felt like you could just create anything?

Actually a friend of mine asked me a years ago “if you could post anything on Instagram, and you didn’t feel like you had to post a certain type of thing to attract clients, what would you post?” and I actually did not have an answer for that back then. I was just like “I don’t even know.”

I was such in a mindset of “I have to post what is going to attract most people, what’s going to get the most engagement, what’s going to be educational”. and I’m still gonna do some of that but I’m also going to tailor it to what I would want to see. what I’m feeling called to create at that moment.

So as far as planning for 2022 again and keeping things very loose and flexible even with this episode I’ve just kind of rambled but I’m hoping to create a space that really feels like me and that really honors where I wanna be in this business.

I think I just reached a point where I’m tired of pushing myself to the point of feeling like I’m struggling. and I can’t do that this year to myself. I think that Mike and I both have just been through the wringer and back and we need a year to just feel like us again. So with the planning of my business that’s where we’re headed.

To kind of recap:

I’m giving myself grace during grief and I encourage you if you’re going through anything or even just a low point to also give yourself some grace and don’t feel like you have to keep hustling. You don’t have to keep being productive. you can take a moment to breathe and you can allow yourself to refocus at a later date. You don’t have to have it all figured out right now.

I’m also keeping things more flexible by using a digital planner. If you don’t use Notion find a digital planner that works for you or something that you find really user-friendly and exciting and play around with it and just keep your planning as flexible as possible this year. Don’t set things in stone and feel like you have to hit these markers. Right now the world is kind of crazy and while you’re giving yourself grace also be flexible. Let yourself expand and move and try new things this year.

Also I’m just planning one month at a time and I encourage you to do something similar. Maybe a month sounds really long to you, but plan out whatever comes naturally to you and don’t feel like you have to be coming up with ideas way out in front or booking projects way out in advance. Take it one month or even a couple of weeks at a time and find the pacing that works for you so that you can continue to feel inspired and create content that’s really exciting.

I’m also putting in vacations at the start of this year. My assistant already knows they are off the books and I encourage you to do the same thing. Just find time this year for you. Find time for you and friends. Find time for you and your partner. Find time for you and your pets even. Take time to enjoy life because again these past couple of years have been rough for all of us and you need time for yourself.

Finally, I’m creating from a place of personal taste this year and I just encourage you to do the same thing. If you’re feeling burnt out with your industry or with your business, reevaluate what it is that you actually want to see and what you think is missing out there. and just explore and find your voice. Find what really makes your heart sing. I think the creators that are doing what they love, it really shows. You don’t have to compete with anybody else. You don’t have to do what anyone else is doing. You don’t have to “keep up with the crowd or the industry”. I think doing things that you enjoy and that you’re passionate about that’s going to be more fulfilling in the long run.

so I have rambled enough I think for this Monday morning but I hope that you all are having a truly wonderful 2022. We have big hopes for this year and my hope for you is that you are able to find peace and a sense of wellness and security in 2022. I hope that there are good things to come in the future. I know that the future is always a bit scary just with the unknown and the world can be a crazy place, but my hope is that 2022 is going to be good to all of us.

I also hope that you all can continue to tune in for this podcast throughout the year. I’m hoping to bring a lot of new in exciting things to this podcast. Again, I don’t have them planned out super far in advance but I’m just hoping to create a space that is really exciting for you guys, that’s really nourishing for you guys, while also being nourishing to myself and looking out after myself.

After all, this idea of wellness in business and taking care of ourselves starts with us. It doesn’t start with our clients. it doesn’t start with anyone else in our industry. It starts with how we run our business. So however you’re choosing to plan for 2020, look out after yourself. If you feel ever during 2022 that things are just getting a bit too much and you’re in over your head, take a step back and reevaluate and figure out how you wanna move forward, because YOU are the one taking care of you and your business.

Again, happy new year and thank you so much for tuning into the Broadening Horizons Podcast I hope that this will be a wonderful and fulfilling year for all of us!

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