I don’t know about you, but I am a super visual person. When it comes to planning, this means I do way better when I consistently have calendars and to dos and lists of activities right in front of my face.
This is part of the reason I’m an analog person and why I have a giant wall calendar in my office to map out every single quarter. Y’all have been asking, so today I’m spilling all the details on how I plan using my Quarterly Creative’s Calendar!
More of a video person? Head to the bottom of the post to watch the video version!
Now, before we get too far into this, let me just say you can adapt this system to work with any large wall calendar. The one I use and love is the Quarterly Creative’s Calendar from Lindsay Letters, but you can tweak and implement the steps in this process whether you’re using that calendar or not!
THE QUARTERLY CREATIVE’S CALENDAR
I have a slight obsession with basically everything Lindsay does (I have five of her canvases, eight of her prints, two bags, a mug, and this calendar) and I had this calendar on my wish list for nearly two years before I picked it up at the end of 2018.
For those curious, I have the Classic (30×24) with the Modern Gold frame.
There are four different sections to the Quarterly Creative’s Calendar:
Monthly Layouts — This is the bulk of the calendar. There are three months (one per month in the quarter) that you can update every quarter with space to fill in the month, the quarter, the year, and the individual dates.
Notes, Ideas & To Dos — This section fills out the square with the monthly layouts and provides space for you to write whatever you want.
Goals— Along the right side of the calendar is a column for writing your goals, which you can use for quarterly or monthly goals.
Important — And finally, along the bottom, there is space for you to write whatever you deem important and want to be reminded of during a particular quarter!
The calendar can be written on with wet or dry erase markers, so it’s super easy to update at the beginning of each quarter and throughout as things change!
HOW I PLAN WITH THE QUARTERLY CREATIVE’S CALENDAR
Now that we’ve covered some of the administrative aspects… let’s dive into the nitty gritty of how I plan my quarters using this tool!
Note: I obviously use and love the Quarterly Creative’s Calendar, but my hope is that I’ve broken down this process in a way that allows you to tweak and implement it in your own life and business regardless of the particular calendar you’re using!
STEP 1: FILL OUT THE QUARTER
First things first… in order to use the calendar, it has to be filled out!
As simple as it sounds, this is the first step to turning the page from one quarter to the next.
Since I use wet erase markers for my calendar, I start by removing any pieces of washi tape (I’ll explain what those are for soon!), clean the whole thing off with a wet rag, dry it off, then go back through filling out the months and days of the next quarter.
STEP 2: MARK OFF TRAVEL DATES, IMPORTANT PLANS, BIG FYIS
After the quarterly dates are prepped and ready to go, it’s time to mark off anything big that’s already on the calendar.
I do this using the Happy Stripe Washi tape from Emily Ley, as this allows me to have consistent color coordination between Google Calendar, my Simplified Planner, and the Quarterly Creative’s Calendar.
This could include things like travel (personal or business), time off for a birthday or holiday, a reminder about something important (like when quarterly taxes are due) — basically, it’s anything big that you really want to make note of.
After you’ve marked off the big stuff, then it’s time to make note of additional upcoming events or special things. This could be something like your business birthday, a day trip, or a regular meeting.
Depending on what I’m noting, I either do this with the Happy Stripe Washi Tape, or I just make a quick note using the wet erase marker — whatever I feel works the best.
STEP 4: SET QUARTERLY PROJECT
Once all the calendar related things are taken care of, it’s time to shift into planning out and recording some more intentional things for business growth, starting with a quarterly project.
In order to prevent myself from overloading my scheduling, I only allow myself to choose one major project — like a rebrand or new product/service launch — to focus on each quarter.
I tentatively map these out at the beginning of the year, so I pull up my Google Calendar to check on the project focus for that quarter, and write it onto the calendar.
Yes, it already exists in Google Calendar, but that isn’t something I have open every single day. Since it takes up a lot of real estate on my office wall, I see my Quarterly Creative’s Calendar literally every day, so it helps remind me of what I’m supposed to be focused on!
Similar to the quarterly project, I also choose one focus for each month. This is a smaller project like setting up Tailwind or updating an opt-in.
Right below the quarterly project, write down your focus for the month, again as a reminder on what to focus on. Doing so is super helpful for my often squirrely brain!
STEP 6: SET UP WEEKLY, MONTHLY, AND QUARTERLY POST-IT NOTES
With the calendar, monthly, and quarterly projects recorded, it’s time to move onto the tasks associated with all of those projects and I do this with post-it notes!
There are three post-it notes that go onto my calendar (in the Quarterly Creative’s Calendar, it’s in the Notes section) where I write out my tasks for the quarter, my tasks for the month, and my tasks for the week. Obviously, the monthly and weekly ones get updated at their corresponding intervals, while the quarterly one stays up there until the next time I’m updating the calendar.While I do use digital tools like Trello to manage certain aspects of my tasks and projects, the analog process of literally writing them out and having them in front of my face all the time is really helpful for keeping my brain on track!
Tasks, calendars, and projects in place… it’s time to set the sales goal!
Similar to quarterly projects, I map out tentative sales goals for each quarter at the beginning of the year, so this is another example of recording it in a place where I see it every day to help remind me of the goal!
STEP 8: PREP PROJECT SLOTS
Finally, it’s time to prep any project slots.
If you’re a service-based business owner like me and you have a certain number of project slots available for any month or quarter, then write down each month and the clients that are booked for that month.
Just like with all the other pieces, it’s that visual reminder of what’s coming up in a place where you see it every single day!
Using the calendar in this way has been incredibly helpful in keeping me more focused on the big picture of what’s going on in my business and life and made it so much easier to make major progress in the little and big things!
Do you have any kind of wall calendar that you use for longer-term planning? I’d love to hear about it and your process, so sound off in the comments!