“I know I should, but don’t have the time”. It’s a common belief when it comes to planning. The truth is that taking some time to plan is the best investment of your time. It provides the focus and clarity you need to achieve what you want to be, do, have, and accomplish – in business and in life.
7 Ways To Make Planning Effective and Easy
Don’t Strive for Perfection. A plan acts as a roadmap but results come from doing. Spending countless weeks and months trying to create the perfect plan comes at the expense of taking action. Doing creates learning and you can adapt along the way. A plan that is 80% perfect and implemented now will always outperform a perfect plan that is never executed.
Focus on What Not How. Don’t let the how to kill your dreams. One of the biggest roadblocks when it comes to long-term goals is linked to our practical nature. If we can’t figure out how to get there today, we simply change the goal to something in our comfort zone. It’s okay if you don’t have a perfect picture of how you will achieve your long-term goals. Don’t change the dream, simply look for opportunities to appear and act on them.
Start With a Purpose. Your business should support your life, not the other way around. Whether you call it a purpose or vision, it helps to have a picture of what you want your life to look like down the road. How do you spend your days and your free time? What do you have in the future that you don’t have now? And why is this important to you? Jot down your thoughts. Then write down your vision. Use paragraphs, bullets, or combinations. Remember, it should be compelling to you, so don’t worry about what others would think. Keep it visible and review it often.
Set Goals. Your goals are simply the outcomes (results) or activities you need to accomplish over time to achieve your vision or purpose. Goals act as milestones along the way to measure progress. Ideally, your personal goals should cover important areas of your life: financial, personal, relationships, spiritual, health, and community. Your business goals should include all the important areas that drive growth and profit, not just sales. Be specific because vague goals create vague results.
Take Action. Goals without actions are nothing more than dreams. Whether you want to lose weight, earn more money or improve your business, your ability to get there comes down to one thing – doing! You must take some action each day, week, and month. Identify the tasks you need to do, prioritize them, and schedule time to do them. Think to-do list and enjoy checking them off when accomplished.
Don’t Keep It In Your Head. Put your goals and key activities in writing. For most of us, commitments we put in writing are stronger than verbal ones we make with ourselves. Create a simple action plan. Be concise and clear. And keep it short so you can review it often!
Build-in Accountability. Once you commit to your goals and develop a simple plan of attack, share them with someone who will hold you accountable to yourself – your personal accountability partner. This may be a spouse, friend, colleague, or coach. But it should be someone who has a vested interest in your achievement of the goals and will support and push you to do what you need to do. Click here to learn more about my accountability program.
Don’t let fear, dislike, or attitudes about planning prevent you from reaching your full potential – in business and in life. Keep it simple, but do it. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish with a little planning.
Need help? My Ultimate Action Planning Guide helps you create a roadmap for success. But if you prefer to work with me virtually – and build your plan together – then check out my Action Plan 2023 Program.
About Joan Nowak. As a business improvement expert, business coach, and consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My common sense approach empowers clients and drives business improvements in key areas including revenue, operations, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.