You already know I value my sleep. I’ve talked about ways to structure your days to be more effective and how crucial rest is for having a successful day.

I’ve even given you some questions around defining your ideal week.

If you’ve read all of that it’s not going to come as any surprise to you to learn that when I got my huge NeuYear Calendar (check out everything they do as well) the first thing that went on my calendar was vacation.

Why Vacation First

Two, maybe three, years ago the first thing that would have gone on my calendar would have been client deadlines. That tactical, down-in-the-weeds stuff simply overwhelmed my day-to-day business.

Second on the calendar would likely have been a bunch of ‘stuff’ to do — again more tactical stuff sure to overwhelm me.

The things I gave priority to illustrated the insanity that I was suffering. I had no one to blame but myself.

[Tweet “What you put on your calendar first illustrates the insanity you live in.”]

Now, I know that the most important thing to schedule is time off with my family because first, I’m a husband then father, and only after doing those jobs successfully am I a business owner.

I can already tell you I’m planning to shut down business on December 14, 2015 and not come back until January 4, 2016.

I can tell you that I’m taking a camping trip with my family in September (which is a family tradition) and I’ll take all the regular holidays throughout the year. In the past, I’ve worked many regular holidays because if I didn’t work, I didn’t get paid. Paid holidays were one of the few perks of being someone else’s employee.

Now I can plan

Once I’ve blocked time off on my calendar I can start to schedule my big goals. For January I’ve got 2 big items:

  1. Document my business processes so that I can bring people on and not do all the training from scratch every time.
  2. Release the manifesto (which is in design as I write this in early January, and you can get it free on my email list).

February is all about:

March is about:

  • Reviewing my yearly goals
  • Planning Q2
  • Starting on my marketing funnel revamps
  • Releasing the email product

Will there be other ‘client’ work during these first three months? Of course! Client work is my main source of income. But the reason it doesn’t get priority on my calendar is that it’s way too easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day stuff and my big calendar is all about the big picture related to my goals for 2015.

Its purpose is to keep me focused on the things that will make my year successful and set me up for doing better work, without needing to worry about hunting down every client. That’s because I’ll have marketing funnels in place to bring in leads.

What makes you step back?

Do you have something in place that really makes you step back and see how you’re doing with your yearly goals? Do you have time planned for the big picture work in your business or does it just fit in around the frenzy of day-to-day client work?

[Tweet “What’s your plan to take a step back and look at the big picture?”]

Did you start the year by scheduling your vacation FIRST?

If you don’t (and I know that most small businesses don’t) then why on earth not? You want to be successful, right? You’ve got big plans and dreams, right?

What are you going to do today to better focus on making those dreams a reality?

photo credit: enigmabadger cc

2 responses to “The First Thing on My Big Calendar”

  1. CJ Andrew Avatar

    This is a well timed post. Very much so, for me.

    I happened to stumble upon something similar at the end of this past year.

    Even though it was unplanned, I stopped work on December 19th 2014, to January 10th 2015. It kind of just happened, and I think it is the best thing I did for myself, coming into 2015.

    At the time, I just felt that I could improve what I was doing: almost like I was running around in circles. So I stopped, and took a step back to evaluate my actions.

    Stopping for a few days to look up from “work”, allowed me see the wood for the trees.

    I was able to reach some resolutions that will help me improve myself and what I do, going forward.

    Stopping for a while, also gave me the opportunity to discover this blog and your videos; something that I’m grateful for.

    I think I’ll make it a habit to stop at designated points in the year; if only to take stock and plan ahead.

    I like how the 19th Dec to 10th Jan time frame worked for me, so I plan to do same this year too.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      And it’s not just stopping for 2 days, it takes a week for me to really get away from the business so I can take a look at it properly.