Sometimes the best planning tools are a blank calendar, a pencil, and a hearty eraser.
These are my favorite tools, anyway, because I tend to be an under-estimator when it comes to the amount of time a project requires. (I’m also an over-estimator when it comes to the amount of time I think I have to give, but that’s a different problem.)
I like the blank calendar because I’m deadline oriented, and I can set a deadline and back-date from there. For example, if I know I have a book signing on May 13, I might think I need to promote it for 3 weeks, beginning on April 22. But what types of promotions do I need to have in place by April 22? Graphics for the website and newsletter? If I allow 2 days to create the graphic design, and another day for proofreading, yet another day for edits, and a final day for posting, now we’re talking April 15. But if I want to brainstorm something fun for the event and work through all of those details, I’d probably need a few meetings away from the sales floor for that, and to find a time to schedule meetings away from the floor, I need to allow 3-5 days to work that in. So now I’m starting the planning around April 8. Do I want to include book ordering timeline, potential reviews in the store newsletter, outreach to customers? These can all be included on that master calendar, which is probably flipped back to March by now.
Which is why I also like to use the pencil and one heck of an eraser. Plans change, timelines shift, but I’m a firm believer that even a heavily altered plan is better than none.
Here’s a 2019 Blank Calendar for use throughout the year. Print the whole thing. Print just the months you need. Print it over and over.
I hope you find it useful.