Are there a lot of things that you need to get done? Do you know how to make an action plan that will help you achieve your goals?
We’ve been sharing different ways to help you Manage Your Time Better for some time now. Perhaps you’ve already written all the things down that you want to get done using a Brain Dump method, Or, maybe they are still in your head. Chances are, either way, you need to make an Action Plan to get all those things done.
If you’re like me, you have the best intentions, but there are so many different things that you need to do. It’s just so hard to do it all.
I’ve been there. I promise, I have been in your shoes. Struggling along, never seeming to get near enough things done each and every day.
But, I’ve found a tool that has been super helpful. Making an Action Plan is often the absolute best thing that I can do. It helps me get so many more things done. And, in a timely manner.
Now, before you tune me out and simply stop reading, let me tell you what happens…..
When you Make an Action Plan
It encourages you
It motivates you
It inspires you
If you are asking “Why?” The main reason is that it simplifies the tasks in front of you. It gives you a doable step by step plan for getting all.the.things done that you need to do.
And, when you get the things on your Action Plan done, day after day, it feels super good. Nothing inspires me more than to be successful at what I’m trying to do.
And each success motivates me to try to reach that super good feeling again. Are you with me now?
Okay, great! Let’s talk about what you need to do to make an Action Plan that will work for you.
First, look at your list of things that you want to accomplish this week. If you did a Brain Dump then you’ll have a great list to start with. If not, go ahead and make a list of the items you want to get done this week.
How to Create a Simple Action Plan
Prioritize Your To Do Items
When we create lists of things that we want to do, we often include quite a variety of things. We need to determine how important each of those tasks are, In other words, how important is it that they get done this week?
The easiest way to do this is to rate each item by importance or priority.
5 – Essential or Urgent (this must be done this week)
4 – Very Important (this really needs to be done this week)
3 – Important (it would be great if I could get this done this week)
2 – Semi-Important (it would be nice to get this done this week, but it could be done some other time instead)
1 – Not important at all (just something you think that you want to do)
Using this rating system, assign a number to each of the items on your list. This is an important step in the Action Plan process.
Assign a Time Value to each Task
Now, look at those items and assign a time value to them. How long will they take to do? It’s important to know how long a task will take from beginning to end.
An estimation is fine, but remember it’s better to err on the side of thinking it will take more time rather than less. For example: I know it will take 45 minutes for me to mop all our floors, so I set a time value of 1 hour for that task, just in case an area needs some extra attention.
Once you’ve rated each of the items, and assigned a time value, it’s time to create a new list.
Make Your Weekly Action Plan List
Take a sheet of paper and divide it into 8 sections and name each section for one day of the week (or use 2 sheets of paper so you have plenty of room to write). Leave the 8th section empty for now.
First, if you have any appointments for the week, list them on the appropriate day. After all, your appointments should be a top priority. That’s why you scheduled them in the first place, right?
Second, look at all the items you marked with a 5
Add these items to your Weekly Action Plan List. Spread them throughout the week as necessary.
Third, add the items you marked with a 4 to your Weekly Action Plan List.
Fourth, add the items you marked with a 3 to your Weekly Action Plan List.
Note: With your 5, 4, and 3 priority tasks, be sure to spread them throughout the week as necessary. You aren’t going to be able to get them all done in one day.
May I add a note here to encourage you. We are all human. We have interruptions and unexpected things happen almost every single day. That’s okay.
If we create Action Plans with flexibility and some open time each day, these things don’t need to interfere with our ability to get things done.
We’ll be sharing some tips for dealing with distractions and interruptions in a future post.
What to do with the Low Priority Items
Finally, take a look at the items you marked with a 2 and then the ones with a 1. And consider these questions:
- Do you have a lot of open time in the week where you could add the 2’s?
- If so, go ahead and add them.
- If not, ask yourself if they really need to be done this week?
- Consider moving them to your list for next week, or even next month (you decide, it depends on what the task is, where you can move it)
- Can you delegate the task to someone else?
- If so, do so. Won’t it be nice to have one less thing on your list.
- Does the task really need to be done? It’s so low on your priority list. It’s very likely that doing this task won’t add any value to your life and it really doesn’t need to be done.
- If that’s the case, just cross it off your list and forget about it.
- If it does need to be done, then consider moving it to next week.
Create a Maybe Section
What about the remaining items?
For all those 2s and 1s that you couldn’t delegate or remove from your list, create a MAYBE list in the 8th section of your list.
This section is for those things that don’t have to be done this week. But, if you happen to find some extra time, you’ll know exactly what task you’ll want to take care of. Then you won’t have to move it to the next week.
Weekly Action Plan
Now you’ve completed your Weekly Action Plan. Go ahead and take a few minutes to review it and make certain that you have the tasks spread throughout the week in a manner that will work for you.
Some Weekly Action Plan Ideas (or To Do List Ideas)
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, a Weekly Action Plan is simply another name for a To Do List. Did you know that some people hate to do lists? But, if you call it by another name, well, they don’t seem to dislike it near as much.
I love them no matter what they are called. Crossing things off my lists makes me happy. I hope you will feel the same way. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Here’s some additional tips:
- Do a Brain Dump first
- It’s important to add the Priority Ratings
- Be sure to estimate how long a task will take
- If there are several small tasks that need to be done for a larger task, consider breaking it down into several tasks. Add a small task or two to your list each day until it’s complete.
- Try these simple Action Plan process for a couple of weeks and determine how helpful they are.
- Did you get most of your tasks done?
- Tweak the steps if something isn’t working for you.
I know that you are a busy person and I want to help you.
It’s my goal to help you simplify your life by helping you find ways of getting things done. I want you to have more time in your life to do the things that you enjoy. Like spending time with your family and having time for a favorite hobby or pastime.
If you are striving to Manage your Time Better, there are so many different things that you can do. In addition to doing regular Brain Dumps and creating Weekly Action Plans, I love using the Pomodoro technique to help me get things done. I’ll be sharing all about this fantastic method in the next post.