Action Planning that Really Works!

If you have spent any time with my Agave planning system, you may have noticed that my Action Plan page is totally blank. This is not because I don’t have an Action Plan method, but because the Action Plan method that I use cannot be confined to a one size fits all process. I have actually tried for years to get the method I use to Action Plan on paper, but it always comes up short. The truth is that every goal and every goal setter is unique. Some goals are short term, and others are long term. Some goals have just a few simple action steps, and others have multiple action steps, with sub-steps, and sub-sub steps. Some goals are going to have multiple barriers that you will need to overcome. Others will not. Maybe you are a detail oriented person that needs to see all of the steps, or maybe you get lost in too many details and simply need to see the big picture, or the next step right in front of you so you don’t get distracted. I don’t know your goal, and I don’t know you. But I do know, that I have a method that will help you develop a clear plan that will get you from where you are now to accomplishing your goal.

The question is, how? What do you do with the blank Action Plan page you have before you? How do you develop an Action Plan that really works?

Step One: Get some sticky notes – I suggest starting with the regular square size. If you are a very detailed person, you might eventually want some bigger sticky notes. If you are a big picture person, the regular size will be fine.

Step Two: Write all of the action steps you will need to complete in order to accomplish your goal. Don’t worry about writing them down in order (that’s why we are using sticky notes!) Just write down everything you can think of – one task per sticky note. We are going to use the bottom of the sticky later in this process, so write your task in a line across the top.

Step Three: Start organizing your action step stickies. If you have multiple actions steps that fall under the umbrella of a larger action step, group those together horizontally. (For example, when I set a goal to get the Agave planner out into the world, there were several steps under the larger action step to “print the planner” such as: find a printer, format the document in the correct way, design the cover, etc) If you don’t have sub-steps, or if this level of detail is confusing to you – skip to the next step.

Step Four: Organize your action step stickies in the order that they need to be accomplished. Put your last step up at the top of the page, and work backwards so that the first step you need to do is at the bottom of the page. Now, you are likely going to have more stickies than can fit on the page fully, so this is where you overlap the stickies. The key in doing this is that the only sticky that fully shows is the one on the bottom, the first step you need to focus on.

Step Five: Now you are going to look at your first step and write down how you are going to make that happen. Maybe you need to make a time commitment. For example, if the step is to write a book, you are going to commit to write for an hour a day. Maybe you need to brainstorm ideas on how to do something you don’t yet know how to do, or who you can contact and enlist to support you. Maybe there are sub-tasks that you need to list. Or maybe this is something that you have tried a million times before and failed. Maybe this time you need to think about what is going to get in your way and how you are going to overcome those barriers.

Step Six: DO IT!!!! As a planner, I could seriously plan forever. What I love most about this process is planning. I could sit and plan out my dreams again and again. I could create Action Plans for the rest of my life and feel great! But then, I wouldn’t actually accomplish anything. An Action Plan is useful, but it is only a tool. You have to take action! You have to follow the plan. You cannot plan the life you were designed to live while sitting on your pretty little booty and doing nothing. You have to step out and live!

            So, enough reading! Now you have an effective action plan in front of you. Let’s get to work! If you would like to try this method and have a printable version of these instructions, subscribe to my emails and I will send you the FREE Agave Starter Pack, including the Action Plan Worksheet! Leave a note in the comments to let me know what action step you are going to work on today!