Being prepared for the new year doesn’t start on Jan 1 for me. I like to plan ahead, and in fact go into that new year already in full swing. Whether it is certain habits that I want to change or adopt, or certain things that I’d like to have accomplished before January 1st, being prepared is the biggest battle. I have written several different posts on goal setting, and every time I have, I talk about how you can help yourself succeed simply by preparing differently. And that involves looking ahead.



Last year I adopted a new quarterly planning template for both Keegan Michelle and Manor Designs content roll out and have stuck to it. Now because of that I am able to look months ahead and see what needs to be done going into those months for that execution to be successful. I’m applying that same thought to the New Year so that I can maximize the last of 2021.


1. Marking key dates

Making note of due dates, important dates, or simply when something needs to be done is huge for me. Marking those in huge red letters allows me to remember, then plan accordingly. I create a work back schedule with tons of mini goals leading up to it so that when the time comes, the big project is as prepared and finished as possible. Usually I even mark those key dates a week or two early knowing how life goes, I give myself a buffer. “If you’re not early, you’re late”, or in other words, if you’re running on time and everything is going smoothly, life will likely chuckle and say “hold my beer”.


2. Do my research

Knowing what to come will help you act proactively instead of reactively. Whether that’s home trends, holidays to act around, bestsellers to push, new products to announce, projects to reveal, having that research done means I can plan ahead for those instead of feeling two steps behind. I have a few design projects that won’t be done until end of 2021 so doing research as to what changes people are making to their homes, or home buying trends is going to be huge to making Manor Designs as successful as possible.



3. Mood Boards

I don’t care if it’s a digital board on Canva, or a physical pinboard, you need to do this. I create an inspiration board for every single room, wall, corner, or photoshoot that I do. I think that it’s important to keep things from getting stale as well as to really curate the look and feel that you want to execute. Now that I have more design projects I have physical pinboards for each project with specifics: paint samples, fabric swatches, inspiration pictures, and floor plans to get a visual of it all sitting together. This is particularly important for home design since many rooms have line of sight and they must have a sense of cohesion.

Not to mention it’s great to look over every now and then to remind myself or perk the creativity when you see a board full of beautiful images.




A little more about my quarterly planning template that I mentioned early? It isn’t anything fancy, or savvy but to be honest I think that’s why it works for me. I have a google doc so that I can access it on my phone, my laptop, or my desktop at any time. I break the months up in half so I list out January 1 – 15 then January 16 – 31 (for example). Then under each of those two week increments I list out the following: Blog Posts, Reels, Newsletter,  and TikTok. That’s where the planning comes in. I take a look at the quarter, what’s going on, what’s the weather like, what are people likely doing or thinking about and plan out those items well ahead of time so that I can be sure to capture and prepare as much as possible for each. Right now I have planned through the beginning of Q3 and even have all of my newsletters drafted.

Now, will everything go perfectly and each newsletter remain unchanged and go as planned? Heck no! But not I have laid the ground work to be able to adapt easier and still execute in the best way possible.




I’m not going to go off and tell you how to lose 10 pounds or how to earn x amount of money more this year. These are just the tools that I’ve used to feel a little bit better about my productivity and how I’ve spent my time year over year. I could set a ton of unrealistic goals, but my game is to be a little bit better than the year before. I already have some big projects planned for 2022, so now it’s on me to execute on those projects to feel a little better about 2022 than I did about this year.

2022 is going to be a big year for everyone, I only hope that I am giving myself the best chance to succeed so that when I’m writing about going into 2023 (geez that sounds funny), I’ll be able to talk how amazing I feel about what I have accomplished. And I wish the same for you.

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