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Did you know that the distance between your dreams and reality is ACTION? Developing a strategic action plan can help you turn your vision into reality, and achieve anything you desire.
What is an Action Plan?
An action plan outlines the detailed steps for the journey you’ll take to reach your destination. It describes how and when you will achieve your goal (aka destination) using a step-by-step process. It provides a mechanism to track and measure your progress, and helps you get back on track when you miss a deadline or milestone.
Components of an Action Plan:
A brief description of the goal to be achieved
Specific tasks that need to be completed to reach the goal
People who will be accountable for each task
Timing to complete each task
Measures to review and evaluate progress
So, Why is this Important?
Your action plan becomes your roadmap for the journey you’re taking towards your destination. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there? Specifically, your action plan gives you clear direction, motivates you to stay committed to your goal, and helps you prioritize your tasks based on effort and impact. With an effective action plan, you can boost your productivity and keep yourself focused.
Five Easy Steps to Create An Action Plan
1. DEFINE YOUR GOAL: Start by defining where you are and where you want to be. Then, utilize the SMART criteria to write down your goal.
Specific: Clear, concise, and well-written
Measurable: Utilize measurable indicators to track progress
Achievable: Realistic and achievable with resources, time, and money available
Relevant: Aligns with other goals
Timely: Specific deadlines
2. LIST THE STEPS TO FOLLOW: Create a rough template to write down the tasks to be performed, people responsible for each task, status, due date, and any additional commentary. Be sure to include your team members in your action plan to encourage engagement and team work.
3. PRIORITIZE TASKS: It’s important to review and reorganize the list by prioritizing your tasks. You’ll want to sequence the tasks and steps in logical order to help you effectively and efficiently complete each task.
4. SET MILESTONES: Milestones are mini goals leading up to the main goal at the end. Setting milestones gives you something to look forward to and helps you stay engaged and motivated even though the final due date is far away. As a best practice, you can space the milestones two weeks apart. This helps you stay focused on achieving small wins along the way.
5. REVIEW AND EVALUATE: Allocate time to review and evaluate your progress. You can mark tasks that are completed as done on your final action plan, and check status on tasks that may be pending or delayed, and then update your action plan accordingly.
It takes time to create a good plan, but with proper planning and execution you can achieve anything you desire. With focus, determination and action, your dreams truly can become your reality!
“Dreams are reality waiting to happen.” ~ Nick Jonas