How to Create Effective Action Plans

When you have goals that you want to achieve or if you want certain people to achieve their goals, then you won’t be able to do that if you don’t have any direction as to how it’s going to happen. A lot of people have made the mistake of just choosing whatever goal they think they can accomplish and end up putting it behind them when they realize that they can’t reach it.

So, you need to be able to come up with a detailed plan that will help ensure that your goals are achieved in a manner that can help you track your progress and help you remain determined in achieving them. This article will focus on how you are going to go about creating your own effective action plan.

How to Create Your Action Plan

If there are things in your life that you want to accomplish, whether it’s for your career or for personal reasons, you need to have an action plan that will help outline what you need to do and how you are going to achieve the goals that you have set out for yourself. So, here are the steps that will help you create an action plan that should be able to help you:

Know What Your Goals Are

If you don’t even know what it is that you want to achieve, then creating an action plan is pointless.  If you’re not clear on what you actually want, then don’t expect that your plan is going to be effective either. You need to understand what it is in life that you want to achieve. Is it something that you want for your personal life such as saving for that trip that you’ve always wanted to go on? Or is it work-related wherein you want to be promoted to the position of a Human Resources Assistant? You want to be as specific as possible when you list this down on your action plan so that you’l know what it is you want to achieve and it will help you remember why you want to achieve these goals in the first place.

Do Your Research

Once you have an idea about the goals that you want to achieve, then it’s best that you do your research. You’re going to want to do this so that you’ll be able to figure out the best way you will be able to achieve the goals that you have set out for yourself.

  • You can make use of online forums as these places usually have discussions about a variety of topcis. Who knows? You might just find a couple that are in direct relation to the goals you are trying to meet.

Consider All of Your Options and Choose the Ones that Best Serve You

After you’ve done all of the research, you should have a good sense of what each result of any goal achieved is going to look and feel like. If you think that this is something that you want to do and complete, then you should put that down in the list. If you think that it’s something that you don’t really need to do, then skip it and find the ones that matter. This should make it much easier for you to choose the path that will best serve you in what it is you really want.

Be Aware of the Things Related to Your Goal That May Affect You

This will include both the positives and the negatives. You know that completing a particular goal will always give you that feeling of satisfaction and there’s always going to be a benefit or two for you. However, you also have to know that there will always be a couple of things that could hinder your progress. This can be anything from exhaustion, lack of will, or even unexpected circumstances that could heavily and negatively affect your goal completion.

Be Flexible

Your goals may change as you move towards them. So you need to allow room for your goals, as well as yourself, to develop. That being said, it’s important that you don’t just give up because you think that it’s too hard. You should do what you can to stay positive that you will be able to achieve your goal.

Be Specific and Realistic in Your Planning

If you already listed down what your goals are, then the next step is for you to make sure that how you are going to achieve them is written down specifically and realistically. So that’s everything from how you’re going to start, how you are going to progress, and the final outcome. This is all about being pro-active in terms of reducing stress so that you will be able to avoid missing out on important goal deadlines and exhausting work hours. Also, you need to be sure that the time you’re going to accomplish your goals are realistic as well. There are  some goals that may take you a month or even a year to accomplish, so you can’t put it down in your action plan that a 1 year project will be finished in a month’s time. If you think that it’s something that you can do within a certain time period, then put it on the action plan.

Set Measurable Milestones

Setting up milestones is one of the best ways to help you achieve your goals.  Create milestones easily by starting at the end (the accomplishment of the goal) and then working your way backwards to the day that you’ve started trying to accomplish the goals that you have set out for yourself along with your current circumstance.

  • By creating these milestones, it will help you remain motivated by breaking your goals into smaller and achievable chunks until you have manage to complete it. This way, you don’t have to wait until you’ve  actually finished your goals to reward yourself or feel that you have accomplished something.
  • Don’t leave too much or too little time in between each milestones that you have setup for your personal or work-related goals.

Make a Schedules List

Make a list of all the tasks that you will need to do and complete in order for you to reach every milestone. Once you’ve written down all of these tasks, the next step is for you to put all of your tasks in a timeline wherein you will be able to accomplish all of them in a realistic manner. If you have a lot of large tasks that you need to finish, then it’s best that you break them down into smaller ones so that it will make it much easier for you to handle all of them in a timely and appropriate manner.

Place a Timeline on Everything You’re Going to Do

If you don’t come up with a timeline or deadlines for when you have to achieve your goals, then there’s a very big possibility that you will never see them accomplished. Having a deadline will help keep you motivated and remind you that you have to finish something within a set period of time.

  • No matter decision you make for certain phases in your action plan, it’s important that you keep up with the personal schedule that you have created to complete every single task on your action plan.
  • Just because you’re trying to make sure that you achieve your goals within a specific timeline and deadline, it doesn’t mean that you should cut your rest time entirely. You need to be able to rest if you want to have the energy to actually finish what you have started. So always remember to take breaks when available and if necessary and don’t forget to take meals and stay hydrated as you do not want to head over to the hospital just because you neglected your personal health.

If you think that you need it, then you should consider creating a visual representation of your plan. This will include the actions that you have set and the timeline that you’ve set them all in. You can do it via the means of a flow chart, Gantt chart, or any other business tool that will help you create one. Be sure that this visual representation is in a place that’s easily accessible such as in the wall in your office or in your own private study if it’s possible. This way, you’ll have a visual reminded that there are certain things you need to be able to do do within a specific period.

Mark Things Off as You Go

Every time you complete a task, mark it off the things that you need to do. This is very satisfying to do and it’s also the best way for you to keep track of the tasks you need to do to achieve your goals, lets you forget what you have already done.

  • This is especially important if you’re working with other people. If you’re going to work with other people, then you should consider sharing an online document where everyone will be able to have access to it no matter where they may be. Also, it helps them keep updated on what needs to be done and what has already been done, so it’s highly suggested that you make this.

Never Stop Until You’ve Reached All of Your Goals

When you have established your plans and you’ve already shared it with your team (assuming that you have one or if you need to), and your milestones are schedules, then the next thing you are going to have to do is to take action in ensuring that you are able to achieve the goals that you have set out for yourself. Be sure that  you’re fully committed into achieving them as you may be tempted to hold off a few tasks just because you think you have more time than you need. This is a common mistake that most people commit as they just end up being lazy and forgetting about their goals. Try to finish everything by their deadlines or even better, finish everything before the deadline so that you will have more time to relax and reward yourself for all of the hard.

If You Need to, Change the Dates on When You Should Accomplish Your Goals

There will be occasions wherein you will encounter unforeseen events or circumstances that may prevent you from meeting the deadlines of your goals. So long as these reasons are ones that are unavoidable, then you can always change the dates of when you have to accomplish your goals. Because lets say that you got into an accident that landed you in a hospital, you don’t expect yourself to actually be able to finish the tasks  you’ve set out for yourself if you aren’t physically and mentally able to now won’t you?

  • In the event that something like this does happen, then you shouldn’t let it discourage you from your plans. The moment that you are able to do so, revise your plan and continue working on your targets. Be sure that you keep moving forward and don’t let anything prevent you from attaining the goals that you have set out for yourself.

Get Yourself a Good Planner

You need to have a planner to make sure that you are able to keep track of your schedule for every day and every week until you have completed your goals. You can stick with the traditional planner where you fill it up via a pen, or you can download an app on your phone if you’re the type who prefers to make use of technology. All you have to do on your end is to make sure that your plan is easy to use, easy to read, and something that you’re always going to use.

  • Studies have shown that physically writing things down on a physical planner will make you more likely to do them. So it’s suggested that you use a physical planner rather than one you can just download on your phone. Although, ultimate the decision is up to you, so just go with the one that you think will help you get things done and the one that you’re most comfortable with.

Don’t Make Use of To-Do Lists

You know that there are a lot of things that you have to do to achieve your goals, but when are you actually going to do them? Having a to-do list is not as effective as you scheduling out the tasks that you need to do. When you schedule when you’re going to complete your tasks, you  actually make the time to get them done. If you just put them on a checklist, then you’ll feel as if you can keep putting it off until eventually you might just forget all about it.

  • When you have specific time blocks in which to work, you’ll also find that it’s much easier for you to procrastinate. Basically, having a to-do list will just end up with you most likely putting things on hold until when it’s convenient for you. The problem with that is that you’ll never know when it might just be convenient for you. If you set up a schedule where you have a fixed time of when you have to accomplish something, then it will make you want to achieve it as soon as you possibly can.

Schedule Time for Leisure and Breaks

We’re not robots where we can just continually work and never feel stress. You need to schedule a couple of breaks in between your tasks so that you that the stress doesn’t pile up. Because it won’t help that you’re working 50 hours a week, only to see that you’re even less productive due to being burned out.

  • If you’re deprived of sleep, then that will just end up killing your productivity. Be sure that you sleep at least 7 or 8 hours a day so that you’ll have all of the energy you need to perform your daily tasks.
  • It’s best that you put in breathers in your schedules such as workouts, brief naps, meditation, or even stretching. You should incorporate these into your day so that you’ll get a boost to both your productivity and your health.

Set Aside Time to Plan Your Week Out

It’s suggested that you schedule your time right from the very beginning of the week by planning out what you’re going to do. Figure out how you can use each day to work on achieving the goals that you have set out for yourself.

  • You must take into account all of the work and social obligations that you have. If you see that your schedule is too tight, then you may just need to drop a couple of plans that are of low priority and ones that you think you don’t need to push through with.
  • No  matter how busy you think you may be, you must never find an excuse to drop social activities. It’s always important for you to keep u with your friends and make sure that you don’t break any important relationships in your life. You need these people to help support you during your problems, so don’t lost any of them.

Schedule for Problems

Not every plan will go smoothly, you’re bound to run into a couple of problems every now and then. Build a little extra time into every time block that will take into account a slow work day or an unexpected interruption. One of the best things to do is to double the time you expect it will take you to complete a particular task. If you’re already comfortable with your tasks, or if you already have a good sense as to how long it’s going to take you to complete them, then you can shave your time down. However, you have to remember that it’s always a good idea to have a small buffer as you never know when something might pop up and disrupt your plan.

Be Flexible and Gentle With Yourself

This is true especially if your’e just starting out with achieving your goals. You should always be prepared to make a couple of tweaks to your schedule as you’re going about it. Its a part of the learning process. You may find it helpful to blot out your time in pencil.

  • You also might find it helpful to spend at least a week or two recording everything that you have done every single day into your planner as you go about the timeline. This will give you a better understanding how you are using your available time and how much time it will take you to compete your tasks.

Disconnect

This is something akin to taking breaks, but it’s where you totally disconnect from your schedule and just relax. You need to set some time for you to check your personal emails or go through your social media accounts to keep you updated on your friends, family, or any relevant news. Just remember not to do this too often as you may just end up spending hours on our phone and forgetting that you have things to do.

Be Positive

If you don’t do what you can to stay positive, then it’s very likely that you’ll never be able to see your goals achieved.  You need to be able to believe in yourself and the people around you. If you think that you have any negative thoughts that you just can’t get rid off, then you can always talk to your friends and family to help you out during these tough times.

  • In additional to staying positive, it’s also beneficial for you if you surround yourself with people who are generally optimistic. If you spend time with people who are positive, then chances are that you adopt their habits. However, the same thing can also be said if you hang out with people who always look into the negative side of things. Be sure that you choose your company wisely and go with the ones that are willing to support you and stay positive.

Reward Yourself

You need to have something you look forward to every time that you are able to complete a task or reach a milestone. Give yourself tangible rewards. For example, you can treat yourself to a movie if you are able to hit the deadline on particular goal or you can buy that meal you’ve always wanted after reaching a particular milestone. There ares some cases wherein people hand their friends money and instruct them that they can only give it back to you if you have finished a specific task within a set period of time. If you don’t finish a task, then your friends will get to keep the money. Something like this will make you work harder for your goals and plus, you don’t really want to just give your friends money for free now wouldn’t you?

Gather Support

There are just some things that you cannot do alone. At some point, you may feel like you’re breaking down and feeling that you can’t do it. This is where a support group will definitely be of help to you. It’s important that you build connections with people who have similar goals to you. This way, you will be able to support each other and help make sure that all you stay focused on what needs to be achieved. If it’s not these people, then you can find comfort in your own family and friends. These people know who you are best and they might just give you the advice and support necessary for you to keep on track with what you need to do.

Goals are always nice to have, they’re what drives people to work hard and they give them something to look forward to. However, if you don’t have a plan that will help you achieve what it is that you want, then there’s a very high chance that you’ll never see the day that you’ll accomplish them. This is the main reason why an action plan is very important as it will provide you with an outline of everything that you need to do, when you need to do them, how you’re going to do them, and the moment that you are going to complete them. And once  you are able to meet with all of your goals? Then you will be able to feel fully satisfied. Just remember to stick to your action plan and make sure that you solve every problem you encounter in ways that won’t deter you from your goals.

If you would like to learn more about how to create an action plan or anything related to this particular topic (such as how to create a business plan for achieving your business goals), then all you have to do is go through our available articles until you find the information that can help you and your business out.

 

 

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