Too often we start (or at least finish) new year planning far too late.  By the time your plan is locked in (whether that’s in December or even early in January) you have zero time to actually prepare for the numbers you’ve already committed to for the new year.  And when you’re still planning or preparing come January 2nd, you’re already behind and it’s near impossible to catch up.

This year, start your planning now and commit to a working plan completed by the end of September.  That way you have the entirety of Q4 to hone the plan, get things setup, and be ready to hit the ground truly running come January.

I fully realize this takes foresight and some discipline right at the time when you’re simply trying to grind out your Q3 number.  But you’ll never get on top of those numbers unless you devote time to evaluating what you’ve done, prioritizing what’s needed next, and committing the resources required to get it done.

This doesn’t have to be onerous.  Even a few hours locked in a room can give you perspective that the daily fire drills make impossible.  You’ll still have plenty of time to focus on today’s fire drills and Q3’s metrics.  Just commit the time (in September not December) to get ahead of yourself and the new objectives headed your way.