Using your Summer to Plan for the Coming Year

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One of the ways we can use the summer months is to plan for the next 12 months. Whatever our gigster identity is, we should all have a plan in place that provides the following insights: Reflection, Strategy, Plan, and Execution.

Reflection
Look back on your previous year to see what went well, what went okay, and what didn’t work at all. Hopefully by now you are writing in a journal your plans, thoughts, and accomplishments so you have a good idea of how things are going for you. During the summer, reflect on your journals and develop a big-picture view of your year. This will help give you some idea of what your goals will be for the upcoming year.

Strategy
Now that you have a sense of your year, that next step is to identify some goals ou want to work on. What areas could be improved up? Who should you follow up with? Where else can you look for gigs? Essentially you are figuring out what you want to accomplish this upcoming year that is different from last year. Write down all of your answers to these and other questions you can think of. From this list, pick the top three things that you can reasonably set in motion with a plan.

Planning
For each thing you chose to address this summer, identify all the things you need to do to accomplish your goals. Set up a three-month schedule and identify all the things you want to accomplish for each goal on a weekly basis. Once you have your ideas laid out by week, take out your calendar and plug in those ideas where they best fit. Be realistic about what you can accomplish. You are not a failure if you do not get all the steps to your goal accomplished as scheduled. Sometimes you may be able to get something done sooner than expected…which is great! Remain flexible. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

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Execution
Now that you have your top three goals identified, and all the steps to get them accomplished plotted on your calendar, you must follow through. Make the phone calls, plan your next workshop content, follow up with a colleague, make that appointment. Don’t let life get in the way of you accomplishing your goals. As Collegiate Gigsters we often struggle with time management because there is no one to be accountable to but ourselves. We must remain professional and consistent in our personal dealings that are related to our gigs. This is part of our persona and the impression we leave behind with employers.

You will see on my sample schedule that one of the columns is labeled Personal. We must never forget to make time for ourselves. Whether that means reading a book, taking a walk, playing with our pet, spending more time with family, we must schedule in time for personal goals. Our connections with the people we care about and care about us is important to our emotional well-being. Fostering these relationships helps create a cheering section for us a Collegiate Gigsters.

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This blog post is part of a newsletter I publish weekly called The Gigster 'Zine. It is a production of the Colégas Group, an organization that seeks to offer new opportunities for anyone with a college degree. To learn more about us, to receive valuable strategies for improvement, and to find innovative employment opportunities, sign up for the complete newsletter at colegasgroup.com.