How to Effectively Plan Four Times A Year

It’s that time again. New Years resolutions will have been made and many organisations will have entered month 1 of their new budget year with all the targets and budgets beautifully set out for 2024. The sensible ones will have measurable goals, maybe even using the SMART method and everyone has twelve months in which to get everything sorted.. The big problem is that tomorrow is always there and there are 11 plus months available to enable us to achieve our targets. The urgent can now overtake the important. Come November how many companies will be chasing like crazy to meet budget and individuals will be regretting another year has disappeared and they are no further forward? The truth is 12 months is too long a period over which to set plans, so let’s look at how to effectively plan four times a year.

If you want to get great detail on this then please read the book by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington called the 12 Week Year. It is excellent and there is no point me trying to reproduce it here – with one exception. The problem with having four 12 week periods is that your year will not end on 31st December and increasingly you will have planning periods that fail to relate in any way to the normal calendar. Instead, my suggestion is the 13 Week Year.

Plan over 13 week periods and you will see your level of success increase greatly.

If you only have 13 weeks in which to achieve something you are much less likely to try and do everything as you can clearly see that you won’t have time. This means you can set fewer targets (I would suggest a maximum of three, never more than six ) that if achieved in full will move you toward your ultimate objective. You can then easily use the The Ivy Lee Method to help you stay on track. Three objectives leaves you four and a bit weeks in order to achieve each one.

If you are successful with this method you should be able to successfully achieve 12 things ( 3 times 4 periods) in a calendar year. Using this technique you are much more likely to be successful that if you set the same 12 objectives at the beginning of a 12 month period and give yourself 12 months to get there. It also means you can review and amend objectives four times a year. The shortness of the period gives you a sense of urgency and focus on a continuous basis as against once a year.

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