Having an action plan makes all the difference to boost your productivity, have an organized life and achieve your goals quicker.
Today, we will talk about the importance of an action plan, its benefits and 3 simple steps how to create one. Whether you are a stay-at-home mother, a student, or a businessman, we all search for productivity hacks now and then and a way of achieving our goals faster. However, we often get lost in our daily life and we spiral back into procrastinating. Finding the best solution can be easy. But sticking to the solution is the real challenge. An action plan can play an important role to keep you focused on your goals and live a more fulfilling life.
What is an Action Plan?
An action plan includes the steps and milestones of any task that you need to get done, whether it is the house chores or a university assignment. In other words, an action plan consists of strategic planning to achieve your goal. You make a list of the steps that you need to take to get to the end.
Benefits of Having an Action Plan
We cannot rave enough about the importance of having an action plan. Here are some benefits that you can yield when you use an action plan.
- Organization: When you right down all your activities in an action plan you release your mind of all those thoughts as you do not need to remember what needs to be do. It is there, written down. It helps you to stay calmer and focus on what matters.
- Focus/Productivity: As you have your activities written down, and hopefully prioritized, you can focus in one activity at the time. It will help you to get more things done throughout the day.
- Commitment: Another benefit of an action plan is that it helps you to commit to a series of activities. You know the activities, the time and effort that you need to put in to achieve your goal. So, you will become committed to your work.
- Motivation: Sometimes, we procrastinate because we don’t know the magnitude of a task. We don’t know how much effort and time it will take. Sometimes, we even underestimate or overestimate the time it will take to do a task. In either case, we end up procrastinating. So, an action plan will help to increase your motivation to get done with what you want. It will give you a clear direction of how you need to work and prioritize things to get to your end goal.
- Progress: As you cross things from your action plan, you will be able to track your progress and celebrate your wins. You can see your progress, how much more time and tasks you need to get to the end goal. If your progress is not good, you can reassess your daily/weekly activities and readjust it accordingly.
- Happiness: When you have an organized and scheduled plan, your are committed to do the work, you track your progress and develop good habits, you will, inevitable, to live a more harmoniously and happy life.
How to Create an Action Plan?
By now, hopefully, you are convinced of the importance of an action plan. It will, definitely, help you convert your dreams into reality. So, how can you create a good action plan?
- Step 1 – Define your goal: The first step in creating a good action plan is to define a clear and achievable end goal. What do you hope to achieve in the end of the day or of the week? The end goal will drive your activities. Now, many people make a mistake here. They have a huge goal at the end that might seem impossible to achieve. So, you need to make sure that your goals are smart, smart in the capital: SMART. This SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
- SPECIFIC: It means that you should have a clear and well-defined goal in your mind. For example, if you want to graduate college with a gold medal, you need to make a specific goal: improve your semester GPA. This is a clear goal that has measurable steps.
- MEASURABLE: A good goal needs to be measurable. It should have a series of well-defined steps that will help you track your progress. Continuing with the GPA example, you can define this goal in terms of the assignments and exams.
- ATTAINABLE: Next, you have to judge whether your goal is attainable or not. Sometimes, we define a goal that is not achievable in terms of your current resources. So, you need to make sure that the goal is reachable.
- RELEVANT: Your goal needs to be relevant to your life and can be realistically achieved. Ask yourself if you are able to commit to achieving the goal.
- TIMELY: The last attribute of a smart goal is to make sure that it is timely. This means that you need to define a finishing time for your goal.
- Step 2 – Design the action plan: On a daily or weekly basis, whatever works for your, define your action plan following the suggested steps below.
- LIST OF ACTIVITIES: Make a list of the activities that you need to go through to achieve your daily/weekly goal, which was defined in step 1. Focus on the activities that will move you towards your goal.
- PRIOTITIZE THEM: The most important ones come first. Work with 6 main activities for each day.
- ACT ON THEM: Do one task at the time. Use the focus laser technique, which is, disconnect yourself of everything and focus solely in one task and only move to the other one when the first one has been accomplished.
- Step 3 – Track your progress: Cross out all the activities completed. It will help you to keep motivated. Do not worry if you didn’t get all those activities done in that day. But be sure that you did all you could and you finished even one activity that will move your forward.
How to Stick to your Action Plan?
The action plan is useless if you don’t take action on it. Will power, self-discipline combined with aggressive action will be required for you to stick with your plan and, therefore, achieve your goals. There will be times when you don’t feel like working on your action plan. At times like these, you can use your intrinsic or extrinsic motivation to help you. At other times, you will need to use disciple to stick to your goals. Even if you don’t feel like doing it, you need to start. When you start something, things will fall into flow. As you achieve a small goal, your mind will get motivated to get done with the task. You will feel confident, proud of yourself and feeling that your are moving towards your goals and dreams.
I suggest you to get a Planner to help you with those activities. They are amazing tools that I use in my personal live. It has showed to be extremely effective for me.
By now, you cannot underestimate the importance of an action plan to live a better productivity and organized life. So get your planner and start it today.
Let me know if you use a planner and how efficient it is for you. Leave a comment below and check out some planner options.