Let’s discuss annual planning

If, like me you are in the middle of your annual planning process you might find these steps useful as a way to reduce the feeling of overwhelm…..

At the moment everyone seems to be busy planning for the year ahead,  working on calendars, scheduling events, courses and generally trying to fit in all activities that they want to get done in the coming year.

I myself am in the middle of planning and I’ve noticed how overwhelming it can feel, so I have taken a step back to apply some of the techniques I have learnt in the corporate world to help me get clarity and progress.

There is so much to do at times it really does seem unmanageable, but a simple step by step approach has really helped me keep focussed and gain momentum.

Step 1

Write down all the ideas you have for the year, these can include the following but you may have many more, so just jot down whatever pops into your head. Once it is out of your head you can see the wood for the trees and more importantly make some informed decisions of which items you want to pursue.

Step 2

Using a priority rating of 1,2 or 3, with 1 being the most important, rank each item. So for example, if you have already signed up for an Art Fair and paid the fee this might be ranked as 1, alternatively if you haven’t yet checked out the Art Fair to know if it fits your work or schedule then I would suggest ranking it as 3.

Step 3

For each priority 1 item you need to think about what does each one actually mean in terms of tasks that you will need to do to achieve them, taking the Art Fair example. Add these as steps beneath each item. For example here are a list of tasks when considering Art Fairs:

  • Research the art fair venues and organisers
  • Make a decision on which location suits you best based on location, cost, dates and any feedback you can gather from other artists you know.
  • Understand what will be available on the day; table, light, stand to display your work
  • Think about creative ways to display your work; step ladders or small easels
  • Do you need help at the fair on the day?
  • Do you already have the work available or do you need to create work
  • Arrange Insurance
  • Arrange transport & parking 
  • Think about food and drink on the day
  • Order labels and price your work
  • Order business cards or flyers to give to customers
  • How are you going to market the event
  • Will there be promotion done by the event organiser, maybe you will need to provide a brief statement of your work.
  • Do you have packing for purchases made at the event
  • Do you have a method for collecting for contact details

Step 4

Review your priority ratings now you have a fuller understanding of the amount of work for each activity, you might feel that there is too much to do, or you simply don’t have enough time to carry out all the tasks, in which case you might decide to change the priority or in the example of the Art Fair you might choose to select a different date.


By breaking each activity down into tasks, you are creating a manageable  ‘To Do’ list that makes it easy to see what work is involved for each task, and will keep you on track. It is always nice to be able to tick things off a list and things will seem far more achievable. If you find that you have forgotten something, just add it to the list, and by having said list you can clearly allocate tasks to other people to help, therefore further improving your productivity.

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