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Synopsis

"Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential," as Winston Churchill famously said. Next year, take your planning to the next level with our 89-slide 2020 Calendar deck. Set goals, schedule events, highlight important dates and mark key metrics to keep a leading position in life and at work. And never say that you didn't follow through on your New Year's resolutions again.

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Slide highlights

Slides such as this one can help you to plan for a month and add brief actionable or encouraging notes for yourself, your family or your work team, so it's easier to visualize your goals and stay on track.

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If you need more space for detailed notes, this slide will come handy. You can add business idea blurbs or inspirational quotes to your plans. Consider this one: "Your limitation – it's only your imagination."

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To highlight important dates, such as birthdays, vacations, doctor's visits, kids' soccer tournaments or project delivery deadlines, use this slide. This simple act will make you feel more in control.

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Overview

Your odds of succeeding significantly improve if you create a success plan, "Entrepreneur" reports. A plan gives you clear direction, eliminates distractions, prevents scatterbrain and allows you to keep yourself accountable on the way to achieving goals. "To be successful, you need to know what your next step is. It should be a clearly defined process. It all comes down to your plan," the article states, "Success is created by making plans for the future, then acting on that plan every day. If you have clarity, then you can move faster. This doesn't mean that things won't disrupt your plan or make you change them. Your plan is your guide, your blueprint."

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Application

To help you plan all 365 days of the year better, employee absenteeism management platform, Engage, put together some tips for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly planning.

  • Daily planning – before the end of the workday or before you go to bed, spend 15 minutes planning the next day. "Ask yourself what you need to achieve during the next day, block set times to look at email and deal with phone calls, get an overview of what meetings or other scheduled activities are already planned to try and imagine the flow of the day in advance," Engage team recommends.
  • Weekly planning – set aside 45-60 minutes on Sunday to plan your week. See what you would like to achieve by the end of next week and make sure to talk with your parents, roommates or partner and children to align schedules.
  • Monthly planning – monthly planning should involve big projects at work, holidays or other more significant and time-consuming aspects of your life, such as doctor's appointments and check-ups and travel plans. "At work you might want to ensure that you start blocking off the time you need to finish that big project looming ahead," Engage team says.
  • Annual planning – set and review your goals for the upcoming year and determine what resources you will need to achieve them. Also, when planning your year, remember that "nobody has said that a year needs to follow a calendar year. You could easily decide to start now with your annual planning – no need to wait until Christmas," the experts from Engage say.
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Expert advice

Dorie Clark is a marketing strategist and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Clark wrote the book "Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You, and Stand Out" and in her article for "Harvard Business Review," she offers advice on planning professional development for the year. "Professional development – improving yourself at work beyond meeting your specific performance goals," Clark says, "is too often left to the rote box-checking of annual performance reviews. To successfully move to the next level, we need to ask ourselves: How can I ensure I'm more valuable at the end of the year than I was at the beginning?"

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Professional development comes in three main forms: learning, connecting and creating, according to Clark. "Creating your learning goals starts with identifying the gaps in your current knowledge or experience. […] If you've moved into a new job or functional area, you may want to do basic research so you can be conversant with the canonical literature of the field," she writes.

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To develop your connecting goals, look at where power resides in your organization. Ask yourself: who has control over my professional future? Your boss does, but often, a decision to promote you doesn't come solely from that person. Identify who else has influence and who are the people your boss listens to the most. "Your goal for the year should be to improve each key relationship by a color; i.e., turning red relationships yellow, and yellow relationships green," Clark recommends.

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Finally, take care of your creating goals, which is, unfortunately, one of the most underused forms of professional development, as many people think of professional development as a more passive form of skills building. Creating content and sharing your insights is actually a valuable form of professional development. The act of writing, giving speeches, making podcasts or producing videos forces you to crystallize your knowledge into a form that's engaging to others. Also, "one key element of developing yourself as a professional," Clark writes, "is cultivating your personal brand. When you share your knowledge publicly, your expertise can be recognized – and you'll reap the benefits in the form of new client inquiries, respect from your peers, and opportunities you likely can't yet imagine."

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