*updated for 2024
If you have been around here for a bit, you know that I LOVE planning. Like, I really love it. I teach it in my course, I teach it in Instagram live’s, I teach it to friends and family. I literally love planning. And because I love it so much I just have to share my favorite planning tools for 2024.
As you can imagine, starting a new year and setting goals and getting things all mapped out is LITERALLY one of my favorite parts of the year. There is just something so invigorating about starting a new year, with a clean slate, and exciting goals ahead that literally lights me up.
Today I am sharing with you some photography education resources. These are my 5 favorite tools for planning and also, 3 bonus tips to help you move the needle with your goal setting this year. Let’s dive in!
Yearly Wall Calendar
If you are a business owner, this is a game changer. It is SO important to be able to see your entire year at a glance so that you can plan intentionally for different marketing campaigns, vacations, launches and time off. You never want to “sell” all the time in your business and being able to see a big picture of what is coming ensures that you can build in plenty of time where you aren’t out right selling anything.
In 2024, I am using Kat Schmoyer’s printable calendars in both the yearly and quarterly spreads and I am OBSESSED. In past years I have used this wall calendar from Emily Ley and it is equally as great just a different vibe. You can have either one printed at Staples or Office Depot for super cheap. They are both simple and effective and you can also frame it and use it like a dry erase board. In years past, I have used a simple calendar like this one. But when given a choice, I will always choose something with a pretty colorful vibe.
This is a tool that I have been using for my podcast for the past year but I am taking it a step farther in 2024. This year I’m still using it for the podcast but will also be using it to get all of my social media content planned out and organized along with tasks for my team. Asana allows us to keep the content organized and be in contact with each other throughout the week to keep my business running smoothly.
There are a lot of brands out there so whatever you choose, just make sure you have something to see an entire week and an entire month at a time. Whether you are a digital planner person and prefer something like Google Calendar or a paper person like me, it is important to have a place where both your business and personal plans live together.
Yep, call me extra but I DO use a yearly, a weekly and a daily planner. Using all 3 really helps my brain stay on top of both the big picture plan and also the nitty gritty of daily tasks.
To be honest, I avoided the daily planner for a long time. I tried to use just the weekly planner and a daily to-do list and it just wasn’t cutting it for me. I always had a million sticky notes with to-do lists for various days and finally realized that I was just creating a messy version of a daily planner, so I decided to grab this additional product from Hustle Sanely and I am LOVING it!! It keeps me focused and on track for the day.
This is where I prefer to make all the spreadsheets and watch my business goals come to life. In today’s digital world, I am sure Google Sheets are not news to you. But, in an effort to be transparent about what I use and what works for me, this is a daily part of my business.
I use Google Sheets to track all the parts of my business on a month over month and year over year format. I also use it to map out goals and ideas. Man, I love a good spreadsheet and one of the things I love about Google Sheets is the ability to access them from my phone in a pinch!
In addition to business planning, I also use Google Sheets for vacation planning, budget planning and all sorts of other things.
3 Tips to Move the Needle
SCHEDULE TIME TO CHECK IN MONTHLY
Here is where a lot of goal setting goes wrong. You set goals and then don’t revisit them. These goals end up becoming this long-forgotten idea you once had and there isn’t any follow through.
When I set goals at the beginning of the year, I pencil in a day every single month to check in. On those days, I revisit the goals, I input any necessary numbers or data and just check in. Doing this keeps me focused on the goals.
The key is not to just say you are going to check in every month. You have to actually pencil in the dates onto your calendar now. For the entire year. Set yourself up for success and commit to that time now.
BREAK DOWN GOALS INTO ITTY-BITTY STEPS
I want you to set big, lofty goals. Especially if you are an entrepreneur. Big goals are often what keep us inspired and growing and moving forward. One big part of having success with big goals is breaking them into small enough pieces.
You want each step to feel super duper manageable so that you don’t lose confidence. When you are able to continuously make small steps in the right direction, over time your momentum gets bigger and faster.
Think about any time you have gone on a diet. The first 2-3 weeks seem like you aren’t getting anywhere. And just when you are about to give up and scrap the entire thing, you take a progress photo and some measurements. And you are shocked at just how much progress you actually made. And then things start to snowball. You are even more motivated because it is working and you keep going. And then the exciting things happen- clothes are loose, people are taking notice, you are gaining confidence in your own skin.
Setting big goals is the same thing. Small steps. Be consistent. Gain momentum.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE YOUR GOALS AS YOUR YEAR SHIFTS
This is where I want to be honest with you, it is very common to set a goal for yourself or your business at the start of a new year and then 6 months into the year, your heart isn’t in it anymore. You feel guilty for not meeting the goal or wanting to give up.
I want you to drop the guilt. It is totally okay to change your mind about goals. Life happens. Business changes. Ideas shift. You grow. Your goals and ideas and dreams won’t always stay the same.
Give yourself the freedom to be honest and tell yourself that you are no longer interested in reaching that goal and to pivot. Just scratch the thing off your list, and set a new one. Choose one that feels more aligned with where you want to head and start again. No guilt. Just forward progress.
I hope this post has been helpful. If you are inspired to start planning and setting some epic goals, leave me a comment below. I would love to cheer you on.
If one of your goals is to start a photography business this year, or to buckle down and get serious about your photography side hustle, grab my FREE Photography Business Blueprint here. It will make sure your business is setup for success right from the start.
Legal Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.