Success in any activity relies on self-motivation, time management, and a well-defined action plan. It is the best way to avoid challenges or problems and turn vision into reality.
Additionally, an action plan increases efficiency and eases gaining self-discipline, goals, and objectives.
So, what is an action plan?
An action plan is a sequence of activities that to be taken to reach one or more goals. Developing an action plan is beneficial for individuals and businesses too.
The benefit of an action plan, it allows executing a structured plan to achieve the goals. For a team, an action plan creates a bond within a group, where individuals are aware of their roles and presents the essential information to problem-solving and ensure the project’s success.
What are the elements of an action plan?
An action plan describes the goals to be met and includes essentials tasks that are broken down as action steps. The key elements include:
What are the best ways to develop an action plan?
Creating an action plan seems pretty straightforward, but there are few vital steps to be followed with discretion for best results. Here are a few practical, effective ways to develop an action plan.
1. Defining End Goal:
Without knowing the precise end goal, all actions can lead to failure. Hence, defining the end goal is the first step to create an action plan. Writing down the end goal helps understand the journey toward success. Include the following while jotting down the end goals.
2. List Down Steps To Be Followed:
If the end goal is clear, create a list of steps to be followed or performed. Ensure to include due dates beside the tasks.
Make sure all tasks are precisely defined and are achievable. For larger or complex tasks, break them down into smaller ones that are easy to execute and manage.
3. Prioritising Tasks And Meeting Deadlines:
Here, discipline is the key to progress while prioritising the tasks. Prioritising helps understand placing tasks in proper order or as per the urgency of the tasks. It also helps remove blocks, if any, on other sub-steps. Aside from prioritising tasks, adding realistic deadlines ensures tasks are completed in time.
4. Setting Milestones: Consider Milestones As Mini-Goals.
They lead the individual to the main goal at the end. The advantage of adding milestones, they give the individual an opportunity to look forward and stay motivated, although the due date is away. While setting milestones, it is good to start from the end goal and work way back.
5. Identifying Resources:
Before starting the project, it is crucial to ensure having the resources required to complete the tasks. And if they are not available, plan to acquire them, including the budget. Assign a column of the action plan to mark the cost of each task, if any.
6. Visualising action plan:
This step aims to create something understandable at a glance.
Whether the action plan comes in the shape of a flowchart, or a table, ensure it communicates the elements — tasks, task owners, deadlines, resources. The document should be accessible and editable.
Monitoring and assessing: Allocate some time to evaluate the progress.
Mark tasks that are complete as done. It brings attention to the progress toward the goal. It will also bring out the pending or delayed tasks, help identify the problem, and find suitable solutions.
Remember, an action plan is always a WIP (work-in-progress), and get the best out of it; it works best when you revisit it often and make necessary changes as and when required.