Making things happen – in both our business and in our lives – takes planning. But, do you ever notice how planning can sometimes (dare I say, often) get totally derailed? You’ll have a good solid intention, but things happen and you either get completely off track, or (gasp!) say forget about it and just throw in the towel?
It happens to all of us. But, there ARE things you can do to set yourself up for success.
What makes a “good” plan? One that gets you in ACTION, making all the things happen that you most want – for your biz and your life? Read on for some tips and strategies to help you stay the course…
1. Clarity of Purpose
First off, you must be clear about WHY you’re working on what you’re working on. This is so important and so often skipped over when launching big stuff. Grounding your actions in VISION and dreams and purpose will seriously save the day when push comes to shove. If you solidly know why you’re working your tail off, then on those days that you just “don’t wanna” – you have a place to come back to so you can remind yourself why staying in the game is so important to you.
You want to be smart about how you’re going to accomplish your goals. Think about the most direct, simplest way to get to where you want to go. If you want to get to Paris from New York, walking there is probably not the best strategy, right? Be thoughtful about HOW you plan to make your dreams happen, taking into consideration your strengths, resources, and energy.
3. Clear timeline
This seems obvious, but giving yourself a distinct deadline sets up the game. If you’re working hard to build something, knowing that you have 1 month to do it vs. 2 years changes the playing field and how much of yourself you’re going to commit to the project.
4. Keep it simple
You don’t want to overcomplicate your planning. If color coding your actions and synching up a team calendar is what gets you in action, then do that. But don’t do those fancy tricks if they are going to distract you or cause you to avoid getting to work. Too many details and too many parts to manage will keep you from doing that actual work that needs to get accomplished.
5. Be realistic
Don’t bite off more than you can chew and don’t set goals that are pie in the sky, nearly impossible to accomplish. You want your goals to be DOABLE and you want to feel confident that you’ll be able to make things happen.
6. Measurable results
Know EXACTLY what it is that you’re bringing to life. Someone else should be able to look at what you did and say very clearly – yes or no – that you accomplished your goals. Measurable, specific, real results – avoid being vague or conceptual about what you’re working on.
7. Bite sized actions
As much as possible, break down your actions into small, bite sized pieces. If your todo list says – “Finish website” that doesn’t give you a real sense about how long it will take or what all you need to do. Instead, look for the smaller steps. “Write about page” “Choose a website theme” “Create logo” — Those are actions you can actually plan for in your calendar.
8. Time allotted
Once you have your bite sized actions, get them into your calendar! When are you ACTUALLY going to work on your plan and how much time do you think you’ll need? Whatever you do, don’t leave you plan neglected in a notebook somewhere. Figure out when you’re going to get your stuff DONE!
9. Be flexible and adaptable
Here’s the bad news about planning – you ready? >> Things very, VERY rarely go exactly to plan. Things take longer than you expected, you might have to wait for something from someone else, there will be extra steps that you didn’t know about from the beginning, etc. One thing I see – so often! – is people throwing in the towel the very second that something doesn’t go to plan. Don’t do this. Instead, get in there and adjust your plan, rework your strategy, adjust your calendar. Lather, rinse, repeat. The better you get at doing this, the more you’ll accomplish – in your life and with your business, pinky swear.
10. Accountability + Support
One of the best things you can do – to make sure that you stick to your plan and make those goals happen – is to get some kick ass support and accountability. Whether you hook up with a buddy, hire a coach, join a coaching group, or publicly announce that you’re launching something by a specific date – do SOMETHING to make sure you’re on the hook! This makes a huge difference and can often be the difference between success and failure.
Here’s one warning I’ll give you about planning – don’t get obsessed with your plan! It’s super easy to get mesmerized by the whole planning process, trying to get it perfect and fiddling with the details, instead of GETTING TO WORK. So plan enough to get yourself into action, but don’t make it all about the plan, if that makes sense. The point is to accomplish some killer goals, not to have a sexy plan 🙂