Late last year I sat down at my laptop to finalize business plans for the new year. I opened a Word doc and started typing…and then I stopped. Having recently tried a couple new and creative business planning methods, typing my goals into a black and white Word doc just didn’t cut it anymore.
I looked around my office at the supplies I had on hand. I wanted to focus more on process than product but I did want something that was visually inspiring (to me). So I gathered up some supplies and in less than an hour I created this:
A portable, visual business plan. I call it my Ambition Agenda.
My Ambition Agenda hangs on my bulletin board at eye level so I see it every time I sit at my desk. I flip through it at least once a week to remind myself of my word for the year, my overall goals for 2015, my quarterly goals, etc. The more I look at my goals, the more do-able they seem. It’s really helping me stay on track this year.
I can reorganize and add to my Ambition Agenda as needed, and it’s small enough that I can take it with me when I travel or just head out to my neighborhood coffee shop.
Since February is the new January, it’s not too late for you to make one of your own!
Don’t have a business? Why not make one for your personal, travel, re-entry or global life goals? Whatever you want to accomplish this year, an Ambition Agenda will keep you on track.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
I used items I already had in my office:
// ProjectLife cards. I used the smallest size because I had some laying around. You can use whatever you have within reach – index cards, postcards, card stock paper cut to size, even playing cards with post-it notes on top.
// Hole punch. I used my 3-hole punch because that’s what I had in my office. I punched holes in the cards before writing on them so I wouldn’t inadvertently write where the hole needed to be.
// Pens. The Sharpie worked the best when writing on the washi tape.
// Embellishments. One of the reasons I use ProjectLife is that I’m not especially crafty and I like that the cards area already “pretty.” Adding some washi tape was about as crafty as I wanted to get but you can get as crafty as you want! Just remember that in this case it’s more about the process of creating, documenting, and reviewing your goals than what the actual product looks like. But if creating a unique work of art helps you articulate and reach your goals, go for it!
What do you have on hand that you could use to create your own Ambition Agenda?
Step 2: Write Down Your Goals
Decide which pages you want in your Ambition Agenda and what you want to write on each one. What you put in your Agenda is totally up to you. Here’s what I have in mine:
- My word for the year
- My business goals for the year
- 5 things I’m looking forward to this year (e.g., travel, going to the beach)
- 3 personal growth things I’m working on this year
- 3-5 things I want to make sure I do each workday
- Primary projects for the year
- Quarterly goals
- Quarterly projects
- Website metrics
- A couple blank pages for notes
- A couple inspirational quotes
That’s what’s in my plan right now but I’ll probably add a few pages as we move through the year.
What do you want to do this year? What do you want to learn? How do you want to grow? What inspires you to stay on track?
Step 3: Get Creative
I used a little washi tape, a few SPS stickers that I created through Moo.com, post-it notes, and a cute paperclip to embellish my plan. I probably could have gotten a lot more creative, but I was determined to stay focused on the process and not be overly concerned with the product.
Step 4: Bind the Pages
I had a metal binder ring left over from another project, so I used that. I think a metal ring works the best because it makes it super easy to add and rearrange the pages, but in a pinch you could use a paperclip, twist-tie, yarn, ribbon, etc.
Step 5: Look at Your Ambition Agenda!
This is the most important step! Keep your Ambition Agenda where you’ll see it frequently. Flip through it on a regular basis to remind yourself what you’re working towards this year. The more you look at your goals the more they’ll seem realistic and attainable, and the more you’ll see opportunities and resources that will help you reach your goals.
I have mine next to my desk and I often throw it in my bag before heading out to a coffee shop to work. If you don’t work from home, keep yours in your purse or bag so you can review it during your morning bus commute or over your lunch break. Or hang it on the fridge so you’re sure to see it when you go to make dinner. What would work best for you?