Action Plan Template
Author: Catherine Pulsifer, ©2017
An action plan template is more than a useful tool. The usefulness
of your action plan outline
must first be designed to encourage forward
movement firmly rooted in completing each step before advancing any further.
Misconception In Action Planning
There seems to be a misconception about putting accomplishment
before action. To some very unfortunate thinking people, the belief that
one can accomplish anything of value without taking significant action is
Thinking Is Not Action
For some, action towards the accomplishment of a goal,
or anything for that matter, means that they start to think about it.
And, while thinking is a key component towards moving forward
with whatever it is you want, it is by far the least likely to get you
anywhere at all. The act of thinking without putting one's thinking
down on paper in terms of an action plan template or a strategic plan
or an outline of action steps is not better than dreaming.
The act of dreaming simply means that there is a vision of something
new or different that you want to have or think you should have.
Before Action Comes Planning
It is hard to take action that is meaningful unless you first write down
what each action will accomplish and a time line attached to each action.
Otherwise, you are just like a person setting sail across the lake without
a rudder or a sail.
And, others believe that action means that they take one step and
only one step to changing, moving, or acquiring whatever they need or want,
and, then they stop. They stop for a number of reasons that we will talk
about in other articles, but, for now, let's just say that this one action
seems to be all they think is necessary. And, this one action is no more
than comparing taking one action towards learning any new skill then
stopping. You obviously know that it takes a lot more than one action
to learn a different skill.
Outline Of An Action Plan Template
The first order of business is to know what the essential components
of an action template look like.
Here are the main points or headings
1) Objective (of taking the action)
2) Action (clear statement of what action or actions are required)
3) Resources (required specific needs/resources in order to carry out action)
4) Target date (for completion of the action step)
5) Responsibility (name, and/or team member name)
6) Status (completed; on-going; delayed)
Every Action Does Not Have The Same Value
Then, there are those who believe that any action counts and is
significant towards the end goal or accomplishment. Well, unfortunately,
any action won't cut it. The action needs to be directed specifically
towards a specific end or task, and each action that follows
must compliment the preceding. These actions, therefore,
accumulate to keep you moving forward, not sideways, or backwards,
or something of little vale - but moving forward.
Every person unfolding a plan of action can take action but one has
to evaluate the merit of spending time and energy in doing so.
An action is only meaningful when it helps to advance a plan.
For example, if you are in the process of working a plan to establish
a hot dog vending business, you are wasting your time to scout for
a suitable property unless you have first secured the funding for your
equipment. You can, in essence, spend hours and hours looking at
Internet properties or driving to potential sites but if you haven't got any
money to buy your equipment, scouting for properties won't move the
yardsticks one little bit.
Efficient And Effective Use Of Time
Let's look at action from a different point of view related to the
aforementioned statements in the preceding paragraph. There are countless
people who use their time effectively, that is, they do not waste time
socializing while at work, or use every minute of spare time at home
to advance their action plan but fail
to use their time efficiently.
So, what is the difference?
Effective use of time pertains to the notion that busyness means productivity.
We often see this dimension in work place environments. Let me give you
an example. If you come into your work space each morning and
spend the first hour going through your email, you are spending
your time effectively. That is to say you are using up time to perform
a task but the question is whether the time your spend on going through
your emails is accomplishing or dedicated to something whether that
is a task or an assignment that has priority? The obvious answer would
be no you haven't.
On the other hand, if you arrive at your work place and immediately
start to work on a priority assignment or task, then you are using
your time effectively. Do you see the difference?
Final Success Does Not Always Automatically Flow From Actions Taken
For those of you who have taken action over and over again,
have written a goal plan, have written and followed specific
targets and timeframes, and have yet to succeed, I have these
words of wisdom.
There are many, many examples of people who have strived to succeed
over and over again but always seemed to hit the proverbial brick wall.
Nevertheless, the beauty of a lot of these stories, real people stories,
is that they continued to prevail where perseverance
prevailed over resistance. They did not give up -
they did not fail without
learning what didn't work and building upon this knowledge to find,
that which did work. Edison and Lincoln are two historical figures
that cemented these continuous actions without giving up.
You Need To Decide To Take Action Before Accomplishment
So, action may mean different things to different people. But, the main
point to remember is that there are actions that can bring you closer
to whatever end goal you have in mind and then there are actions
which simply waste time without moving your game plan forward.
Devising An Effective Action Plan To Accomplish What You Want
The first step, then, is to make a detailed list of what it is you want to
accomplish. This list, in fact, may only have one item or it may have
several items listed depending on what it is you are looking to achieve.
Then, the next step is to make a draft plan. The focus at this point
is not to try and be too specific. Instead, just generally outline what
steps you can think of.
The next step is simply to put your draft action plan away for two days.
What are doing during these two days is to let the ideas about your
plan swim around in your head without trying to even think about them.
In fact, it would be better to engage in another kind of activity that
takes your mind off your plan. In this way, you will accomplish
what has been labeled as "going to zero" so that your subconscious
mind has free will to bring relevant issues or actions to the surface.
The next step is to sit down again with your draft action plan and start
to outline specific and detailed actions that you will need to take
to get to the final goal. Next, assign specific times to each task or
action so that you have an outline of how long it will take you to
accomplish your entire plan. Bear in mind, however, that each step
will not automatically fall into place because there likely will be issues
or obstacles that pop up as you go along.
You should also be aware that there might be certain steps that
have to be completed in conjunction with another step so that whe
n they are both finished you can move on to the next.
Do Not Forget This Valuable Step
There is nothing so lonely as trying to implement an action plan,
especially a complicated one, all on your own. To help overcome
any anxiety or stress
resulting from the feeling of being overwhelmed or unsure if you can
accomplish what you want, now is the time to find or seek out a person
or persons who have already accomplished either the same thing
or something similar. The reason the importance for this person
or persons is that they will provide critical feedback on your plan
and/or will also be able to motivate
and encourage you as you travel along the path to accomplishment.
to take action to accomplish what you want or what you deserve
is entirely up to you. No one is going to seek you out and no one
is going to do it for you. It's your move.
"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe." Anatole France
"Remember, once you have started your journey towards change, the only things that separate those who succeed and those who do not are perseverance and determination." Ian Tuhovsky
"Be willing to change your ways, not to sacrifice how you do things, but to explore new possibilities." Noelle C. Nelson
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