BACK TO SCHOOL PART THREE: THINKING IN QUARTERS
You probably already know that businesses typically use 'quarters' to break up the financial year. These three-month chunks are abbreviated to Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4, with earnings and dividends reported at the end of each one. Whether you're running a business or not, quarters are a really helpful way to plot your progress throughout the calendar year: Three months is enough time to make real progress, but not so long that you'll lose track of your 'big picture' goals along the way.
I think that it also makes sense to align your goals with the season. Whilst some tasks (email, admin, book-keeping) must be completed whatever the weather, others are best suited to certain times of year. There's not much point in trying to launch a womenswear brand in August when the entire fashion industry is on holiday, for example. Equally, it makes sense to run beauty and wellness promotions in January, when people are in self-improvement mode. Trying to get people to kick into action just before the Christmas holidays can be impossible, while September is a great time of year to offer educational tools and services to coincide with the 'back to school' kick... You get the gist!
If you like the idea of this way of thinking, I've listed a few more guidelines below. Happy Autumn, and happy planning!
HOW TO PLAN YOUR CAREER (AND LIFE!) IN QUARTERS
- Set annual goals.
- Take care of admin.
- Use social downtime to work on personal and creative projects.
- Take advantage of New Year staff turnover and apply for jobs.
- Focus on self-improvement goals (educational, cultural, physical), and launch any products or services in the same vein.
- Revitalise your social and professional calendar: Reach out to contacts new and old.
- Pitch for sponsorship and partnerships for projects you want to implement later in the year.
- Start a new wellness regime.
- Undertake any work or research trips to gain fresh inspiration for the summer and autumn.
- Travel in August, when the working world slows down across the Northern Hemisphere (or use the quiet time to work on something new!)
- Use midsummer to check in on the goals you set back in January and assess your progress.
- Reorganise and regroup. Go 'back to school' in September with a new working routine that fits the changing season.
- Revisit sponsorship or partnership requests - marketing teams will be deciding how and where to spend what's left of their annual budgets.
- Decide what you really want to get done before the year is over, and plan how you're going to do it.
- Double down and work diligently to execute any remaining goals you have for the year.
- Make allowances for the lag in response times in December, when people are taking time off for Thanksgiving (in the US) and winding down for the Christmas/New Year break (worldwide).
- Start plotting for the year ahead!