How to Turn Plans into Action

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So you’ve made yourself a plan—now what? Your ability to take action on your plan is just as important as the planning process itself. As the old saying goes, even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

We love it when plans come together
Photo courtesy TV Fiends

The planning process is your launching pad for achieving success. Here are some guidelines for turning your plan into action and getting better results:

Make a Better Plan
Developing a strong plan of attack is the cornerstone of getting done what you seek to accomplish. Plan thoroughly, making certain that your planning process includes the following:

  • Create time constraints: Give your activities specific beginning and end times
  • Break down tasks: Tasks are more easily accomplished when you create small actionable steps
  • Estimate your capacity: Decide how much you can realistically accomplish in one day and plan no more than that
  • Check your balance: Mix together a variety of daily activities from different aspects of your life to maintain enthusiasm and avoid burnout

Review Your Plan
Spend a few minutes at the beginning of your day reviewing the plan you’ve set for yourself. Refresh your memory of your tasks and appointments, and put yourself in the same mindset you had when you made the plan. This activity allows you to make last-minute adjustments and helps you draw motivation to get all of the things done you have planned for yourself.

Set Yourself Up for Success
All good plans need quality preparation. Make certain your plan includes time to gather the resources and tools that will help you see it though to success. Imagine how a day planned with a series of sales calls could go south in a hurry if you left your phone charger at home. Set yourself up for a successful day. Make special lists and reminders to augment your ability to perform certain tasks.

Have a Tangible Outcome
We often begin tasks without knowing how to end them. This can create some frustrating and unproductive moments. Be sure you have a specific and tangible outcome for each of the activities you have planned. For example, if you are planning to work on a presentation, decide ahead of time the acceptable amount of work from which you can walk away. Don’t allow your activities to become tedious. Create expectations for yourself.

Quite possibly the simplest of steps—and often hardest to achieve—is the actual act of following-through on your plan. Achieving success requires you to avoid the ugly creatures of distraction, avoidance and procrastination. To do this, you have to see your plan as a promise, a commitment you’ve made to yourself. Remind yourself that your plan is based on a bigger picture that includes your goals and values. There is no greater principle than being impeccable with your word. Don’t cheat yourself—follow your plan.

Report Your Progress and Success
Seeing your plan in motion is a wonderfully motivating and rewarding experience. Chart your progress by keeping notes and checking off tasks in your day planner. This is a key process of your planning system because it records your activities for future reference. Look back and see what you’ve accomplished and when you accomplished it.

Follow these guidelines on a consistent basis and you’ll find yourself turning your own plans into action.

How do you make sure your plans are actionable? Share your best practices, thoughts and ideas here.

Get more tips on planning, organizing and productivity for every facet of your life by visiting the AT-A-GLANCE Success Center.

[photo courtesy TV Fiends]

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