Creating an action plan for your goals is a great way to overcome feelings of overwhelm and frustration. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by everything you need to do to reach your goals. And it’s even easier to become frustrated when you’re not making the progress you think you should be. I’ve been there, and it’s not fun. You have so much to do that you don’t know what to do first, so you never even get started!
One of the best things I’ve found to do is to create an action plan. This is a step-by-step deconstruction of the work you need to do to reach your goal, and it’s a way to get yourself focused on your goal and knowing what each step along the path to completion is. At its simplest, an action plan ensures that you know exactly what to do, so you have less opportunity to become overwhelmed or frustrated if things aren’t moving as quickly as you think they should. It also gives you a roadmap of exactly what to do next.
Here are 7 steps for creating a simple action plan:
Step #1: Define your goal
Make sure to describe it in clear, specific terms. Don’t use generic terms such as “Get project A done.” Write something such as “Finish project A by X date with 75% or better completion score.”
Step #2: Write down all the steps to getting there.
Break it down into small, achievable steps. Each step should ideally involve only one action.
Step #3: Prioritize the steps and give them deadlines
Which step needs to be done first? Which ones must be started early because they take a while to complete? When does each one need to be finished so you can complete the whole project on time?
Step #4: Set your milestones
Milestones occur when significant parts of the goal have been reached. Identify at least two or three. Every time you reach one, celebrate! It means you’ve come a long way towards reaching your goals.
Step #5: Gather your resources
What do you need to get to complete your action plan? Record and gather everything you need now so that there won’t be any surprises later.
Step #6: Make your action plan visible
Copy it down into a visual and easily accessible format. Make it easy to read with clear markers. Keep it somewhere you can see it constantly. I have a whiteboard that hangs by my desk when I need it to keep me focused on the project and the plan.
Step #7: Monitor and evaluate as you implement
Monitor your action plan as you implement it. You might find some bugs that need to be worked out. That’s normal, especially when you’re new to action plans. Evaluate your successes and failures and decide what to do differently for your next action plan.
This process might seem simple but doing it consistently will help you create plans for reaching your goals that won’t overwhelm or frustrate you. If you try this and it works for you, keep doing it for every goal you want to achieve, and every project you want to finish. Have a clear path to follow really does make it easier to stay focused on what you want to achieve.
More Info on Creating an Action Plan