Just like there are reverse dictionaries, there is a reason to create a count down calendar. A count down calendar starts with Franklin Covey’s philosophy, “start with the end in mind.”
The biggest advantage to a countdown calendar is that it makes you think and focus harder as well as makes the planning easier.
First, you write down the exact results you want or expect. Let’s say you have a teleclass, seminar, speaking engagement you are delivering on X date. This becomes your D-day — sort of speaking. It may be end of the event planning, however, it can also be the beginning of your follow-up plan. For simplicity sake, let us stop at the D-day point.
Now you can prepare a count down calendar in several ways. One way would be to use a calendar with the days of the month filled in. You mark down the D-day and then you back track from there to today.
Count down the days until __________. Number of marketing days to go until __________.
Example: Count down days until seminar. 20 marketing days to go until seminar.
Any doesn’t matter which calendar method you use, you will need to write down your measurements or your mini-results that will deliver the end results you want. I use the pivoting question, “What is it going to take to…” to get my thinking moving in the right direction. I like to think through and write these on the back of my calendars. This gives me a bird’s eye view for that particular commitment that my software does not provide.
Another way would be to use a blank form like this with the appropriate number of days in between. Then cross out the days that you will do any marketing — say Sundays or days filled with other requirements. For my teleclass programs, my D-day back to Day 1 is always 3 weeks, so I have created a regular calendar for these. In fact, I use green color paper to print out the calendar.
If you don’t want to create your own, visit your local office supply store, they have countdown calendars available for purchase (blank planning books).
A third way to complete a countdown calendar would be to complete it in a linear form.
Day 21: Speaking event results I desire — describe those results.
Day 20: Get handouts printed at Kinko’s.
Day 19: Write and send out reminder e-mail to organizer.
To Day 1: Today.
Again, if you have a reoccurring countdown, like teleclasses, you can create a linear countdown calendar like the one above. Eventually you will see a consistent pattern of to-dos.
At that point, don’t stop doing this with the thinking you have it down pat and you don’t need to. This will jump up and bite you in the assets fairly quickly by bogging down your mind and making you wonder if you are missing something. If that occurs, jump back into the habit, it is a great one to have. Even if it is frustrating because it takes thinking time.
Once you have your count down calendar completed then you can enter it into your automatic reminder calendar, like Outlook or Act. This will track all your deadlines, goals, and projects. You will have a separate count down calendar for each one.