How to Create a Plan of Action
Now that you’ve begun setting yourself up for success by attending Kickoff events, considering where you want to take yourself in 2016, and performing the necessary steps to contact new customers and Team Members, how do you bring all these new pieces of information and ideas into one cohesive whole to reach your goals? Action planning and goal setting are some of the most productive ways to reach your potential as a business owner.
There are many ways to create an action plan. Each one is unique, but in order to create the best action plan for yourself, there are a few crucial steps you need in order to remain productive.
Specify the Goal
As you start to plan, be certain that you know exactly what you to accomplish. If you don’t set clear goals for the short-term and long-term future, you’ll never be able to tell if your preparation is working, or if it’s even worth pursuing in the first place.
TIP: When setting your goal and working through your plan, be sure to keep a record. Keeping a record helps you organize your thoughts, gives you an idea of how you are progressing, and keeps you accountable.
Remaining realistic isn’t meant to dampen your drive for success. Rather, it’s used as a tool to reduce stress that may come with missed deadlines, extraneous circumstances, or even being plain exhausted. Being realistic lets you proactively accomplish goals without becoming discouraged when interruptions inevitably happen.
TIP: To stay realistic and productive, set milestones that are measurable and simple. Allowing yourself to reach specific levels of production keeps you motivated and intent on continuing with your plan.
This cannot be stressed enough. If you’ve spent time on a task and you’ve finally finished, mark it off. Visual confirmations, such as checkmarks on a list, help you to keep track of what is done, as well as what still needs to be done. Plus, physically checking off a task is incredibly satisfying.
TIP: Binders may seem outdated, but they still serve an important purpose. If you or your computer are prone to forgetting or misplacing information, keeping hard copies in binders is a safe alternative (or back-up) to keeping your important information safe and easily accessible. Just don’t lose your binder …
Without setting legitimate timelines, small tasks get pushed back, or even forgotten. When this happens you may find yourself neck deep in projects and you’ll end up stressed. Establishing a realistic timetable keeps you accountable and allows ample time to think ahead. So if you’re not certain how long something will take, give yourself an extra hour just to be sure. If you finish your task earlier than expected, great! You can move on to the next one without feeling rushed.
TIP: Include breaks in your timetable. Setting time aside to relax helps your brain from getting burnt out and lets you stay focused without feeling overwhelmed. Set aside lunch/coffee breaks where you can unwind for an hour.
Don’t Stop Once you’ve established a plan, coordinated with your team (if applicable), and goals are set, the final step is the simplest and most important. Keep working!
TIP: Sometimes, unanticipated events happen. If you feel the need, change some dates around. Don’t get discouraged. Review and revise your plan, but never give up on your goal!