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304: How to Plan in Uncertainty

Welcome to April and the beginning of a new quarter! This is the time where we usually make plans for the coming three months and review the progress we’ve made so far this year but…everything is weird. How do we do that now?

In the Starship this week, we’re doing Map Making – making a plan for the quarter. You can learn more about the Starship here and/or start making your own map with my book, Map Your Business.

I know, nothing is normal right now. 

You are staying home, no one in your home is ever leaving it, you may not be able to get the supplies you usually do, you may not be selling where you usually do, people are buying less because some people are losing their jobs. 

And yet. 

Now is the perfect time to plan the new quarter. 

I’ve actually talked about planning during uncertainty already – back in episode 254, I gave suggestions for how you can plan when YOUR life is uncertain. Add back in episode 291, I shared how I was planning the New Year while my life is so uncertain (as a foster parent). 

Well, guess what? Now you’re joining me in everything being up in the air and nothing being normal!

It’s really uncomfortable isn’t it? 

One of the things I find myself wanting to do is just wait….wait for it to feel normal. Wait for things to be ok. Wait for everything to be how it was. 

Well, that’s not going to happen.
We may very well need to limit social contact for quite a long while until this is completely past. 

But beyond that, life WILL be different.
Some of the people who lost jobs, won’t get the same ones back.
Some businesses won’t open back up. 

I don’t say any of this to scare you, but so that you can be honest with yourself – things have changed and we don’t when or if what we consider normal is coming back. 

What we can do is move forward with what we do know. 

What we can do is embrace today for being today. We can accept our current reality and find ways to live within that. 

And look, I know, it’s scary. Change is really really hard. And never before have we all been going through change at the SAME TIME. It’s so disorienting! 

Waiting until everything is normal isn’t going to work. 

Accepting where you are right now is the only way forward. Now it may take days or weeks or even a month to really feel ready to accept it. To even understand what the new reality is. It’s certainly taken me a week or two to get used to having two girls home from school every day and feeling out what our schedules are. 

 

But once you’re accepting it and through the fog a bit, it’s time to plan. 

 

So how can we plan when we don’t know what’s coming? 

  1. Look at your goals and dreams again. Get reoriented in where you want to go. Ask yourself which you still care about. Which still matters?
  2. Forget the old way of getting there and look for new ways.
    Maybe you were going to do a craft show – what about finally starting that shopify shop?
    Maybe you were going to grow your email list at a craft show, what about creating a PDF download to drive subscribers?
  3. Focus on systems, not outcomes.
    If you find yourself stressed that people aren’t shopping as much now (although I’m not sure this is true? Surely online shopping is surging) – stop focusing on the outcomes of your goals,and focus instead on setting up the systems of your goals. What technology do you need? How consistent will you be? What do you have to do in order to stay consistent? 
  4. Be Realistic.
    Yes, work on your goals, make a plan, but also really practice accepting the time and energy you have. I know I have about an hour a day, as long as my girls aren’t in school. I wish I could do more in my business, but that’s the extent of the time and energy I have.

    So I’m making a plan for the quarter – I’m looking at the systems and products I want to create, knowing I'll be doing it in about 5 hours a week. I will consider it a success if I use those 5 hours well, to create and publish this podcast, hold the weekly Starship chat and go live in my Facebook group. That’s it. 
  5. Be gentle on yourself.
  6. Along with being realistic, give yourself a break. I HAVE more hours than just naptime – I could get up early or work after bedtime…but I need that rest and recovery. I don’t know about you, but I find myself more on edge, more exhausted, more short-tempered than usual. So don’t make your business and your goals another thing to stress yourself out, another thing you should be doing. 

 

We are going to get through this. THings may not look the same afterwards…but what if that was a good thing? What if you set a goal for the quarter and reached it despite all the chaos? How awesome and grateful would you feel? 

One way or the other time will pass, the virus will pass and there will be shopping and craft shows and retail locations making orders again – will your business be ready for it? 

300th episode! Q+A – your questions with my husband

It's the 300th episode of the podcast! OMG!

Celebrate with me in this episode as my husband and business-encourager asks me YOUR questions. We discuss the very twisty journey that brought me here in my business, how I plan my weeks, and how I order my coffee.

Listen in by pressing the play button below or see our adorableness by watching the video above. 

Questions were asked by Starship Captains Theresa Burich of Serenity Ranch Handmade and Dawn Craig of Fairy Tale Yarn Co.

Help me celebrate by:

  • Leaving a review on your podcast app! (Here it is on Apple Podcasts)
  • Joining the free Facebook group where I'll be going LIVE this week with a celebration!

Explore Your Enthusiasm episode 300