An action plan is exactly what it sounds like:  A plan for action.

It’s a detailed proposal you create to help you achieve your goals. 

It contains all the actions that you have to take, arranged in the order that you need to accomplish them in.

You can think of it as a roadmap, if you like.

One that’s specifically designed to move you from where you are now, to your desired outcome.

What is an Action Plan
An action plan is your roadmap to clarity.

Adjust Your Action Plan as Needed

No plan is set in stone. Think of your plan as setting a general intention.

Life will always offer unforeseen challenges that will force you to make adjustments as you go.

So, you have to be flexible.

But the beautiful thing about an action plan is that it keeps you on course, always headed for your goal.

You just need to keep referring to it to stay on track.

How to Make Your Action Plan

To make your action plan, you have to consider all the main steps you need to take to accomplish your clear and specific goal.

I recommend setting aside some time to properly focus on this so that you can get the tasks out of your head and onto paper or a screen.

How to make an action plan
An action plan moves you closer to your goals.

Put the Main Steps Into Your Action Plan 

I encourage you to get into the details and write out as many of the most important steps as you can think of.

A total brain dump.

This will make the next stages easier.

So that means:

  • Conversations you need to have. 
  • Decisions you need to make. 
  • Physical actions you need to accomplish. 
  • Skills you need to learn.
  • Materials you have to purchase.

Prioritize and Schedule Your Action Steps

Once you’ve listed the main action steps, put them in order of priority.

This will allow you to start scheduling them and making appointments as necessary.

Every task should have a deadline.  Because it’s the deadlines that will help force you to take action.

Use Accountability as a Secret Weapon for Massive Action

Deadlines are powerful, but if you really want to make them work for you, I recommend that you let someone else know about them.

Someone to hold you accountable.

When you do this, you’ll feel an extra pressure to meet your deadlines, and your accountability coach will be there to encourage and remind you of your goals and commitments.

Remember, It’s an ACTION Plan

I sometimes see this happen (and maybe I’ve even done it a few times)… 😉

People get caught up in the planning stage and never get around to taking action.

And that’s because it feels like you’re doing something when you’re planning.  And you are, but it’s not the kind of action that is going to move you closer to your goals.

Eventually, you have to stop planning and start taking action.

Benefits of an Action Plan

  • It gives you clear direction.
  • You always know what you have to accomplish each day.
  • It helps you defeat overwhelm.
  • Keeps you motivated and committed throughout your project.
  • You can track your progress toward your goal.
  • Reduces the possibility of forgetting tasks.
  • You become more responsible and professional in your behaviour.

Example of an Action Plan

Let’s say your goal is to build an online business that will generate income within six months.

Now list the main steps to achieve this goal.

There’s more than we have space for here in this article, so I’ll just provide a few to give you an idea.

  1. Purchase domain name.
  2. Prepare customer avatar.
  3. Get hosting.
  4. Build website or find a designer. 
  5. Write investors.
  6. Hire copywriter.
  7. Prepare lead magnet.
  8. Content marketing blast.

And on it goes. 

The list will quickly grow, and you’ll discover that each step has one or more sub-steps and new steps will always appear as you learn more.

Now take the highest priority step and give yourself a deadline to accomplish it, and let the action begin.

Example of an action plan
Stay in action mode by making a plan.

Deadlines and Organization

A word on deadlines.

They’re not meant to live in your head.

Put them in your calendar or task-planner app to keep yourself organized.

And if you’re not organized, then you have to take care of that weak link.

I wrote this book to help you build your organizational and productivity habits from the ground up.

Action Plan Best Practices

  • Set clear goals.
  • Schedule tasks and set deadlines.
  • Use accountability to compel action.
  • Spend the “right” amount of time on the planning stage.   
  • Review your action plan regularly and course correct along the way.
  • Print out your plan.

Time to Make Your Action Plan

There you go.

All you need to get started on your own action plan.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed or want some professional help in your corner, you can always arrange a free consultation with me to get you started in the right direction.

To your success!

Nigel Cook
Accountability Coach