No matter how you slice it – this is the central truth of planning: the more time you put between you and any goal… the more power you have over it.

That’s why we’re so focused on pre-planning over here at the Lifehack Method! We pre-plan our weeks, months, and even our entire YEAR ahead of time!

You might be thinking… three different levels of pre-planning is excessive – aren’t they all the same? 

Nope! As we move down the list from annual to weekly, we move from strategic into tactical. Executing on an epic year requires a mixture of both – we need to be able to see the big picture and map our attack plan… but we also need to take massive action and get shit done. 

It ALL starts with annual pre-planning, because we’re setting the guide rails that your train’s going to run on all year long.

But in order for your annual pre-planning to be worth your time and energy, you have to avoid some of the easiest traps we see our clients falling into again and again. 


Wish Listing happens when people treat their annual pre-planning like it’s their Christmas list. 

There are a million things that all of us dream of accomplishing in the next year – I know I sure would love to learn how to play guitar, run a marathon, travel for 6 months, and double our revenue!

It’s easy to make a plan where you get everything you want without any sacrifices. 

But deep down, we all know those dreams aren’t all realistic. 

A good annual pre-plan doesn’t just make a plan for what will happen this year… it helps you get very clear on what won’t happen.

It requires summoning some everyday courage, making tough choices, and focusing your energies onto your most leveraged Yes’s.


The second most common mistake we see our clients making during their annual pre-plan is not learning their lesson! 

We like to call this stepping on the rake

We had a client, Lana, who used to challenge herself every year to finish 52 books. She never got close! 

Not only was it sucking a bunch of time out of her schedule, it was an information overload that was preventing her from actually taking action on ANYTHING she actually wanted to do! 

And the fix for this was such a simple one: put the books down, and turn what you KNOW into what you DO! 

Lana was stepping on the rake. She was making the same mistake over and over again, not taking the time to reflect. 

Most of us are moving so fast that we, too, aren’t taking the time to reflect on what’s working, and what clearly isn’t

Sometimes it’s as simple as reading less and doing more.

If these common mistakes resonate with you, you are not alone! We’ll be talking way more about these mistakes – along with all of our other tips and tricks for annual pre-planning – during our Best Year Ever Challenge this January!

>>> Join the challenge here! <<<

Demir & Carey Bentley

Demir and Carey Bentley are the founders of Lifehack Method, WSJ & USA Today bestselling authors, and executive productivity coaches. They've helped thousands of people avoid burnout and soar to their highest level of productivity. Read more about them here.