It is possible that you might have a lot of goals in your life and it is also possible that you do not have a clear action plan that would provide a detailed outline of the tasks that you need to do in order to accomplish all of your professional goals.
With an action plan, you will not only be able to determine the steps you need to take in order for you to reach your goals, but it will also enable you to break down these determined steps into actionable and manageable sizes based on the given timeline you have set for yourself.
Whatever goal you might have, be it geared toward your promotion at work or toward self-development, having a simple action plan could certainly guide you in making sure that you would have a clear road map in getting to the place where you want to be. It would also support efficiency by making sure that a time frame has been decided upon each of the steps that should be taken to complete the process.
Action plans would also provide the possibility of you to easily track your progress, your little success and failures, keep projects on time and according to the schedule, and stick to your projected budget.
While having a basic action plan is important, it is also important to make the action plan SMART. A SMART action plan means that you will then have to incorporate these five important characteristics: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
Before you should get started in creating a SMART action plan, we must first know how to create a basic action plan:
One characteristic of an action plan is that it should be comprehensive enough and it should never be abstract. Therefore, it should contain elaborate and detailed steps that you must follow in order to complete a task and eventually achieve a certain goal. This only means that when you would be designing an action plan, it should have a format and the right contents so that will be easy for you to understand and comprehend.
While you can just use the free action plan examples we have here in this article, you may take note of the following suggested format and contents should you want to reconstruct the examples we have here to suit to your needs or when you would be creating your action plan from scratch:
1. Have you chosen an appropriate goal? Then you should already be able to clearly define your objectives. While it is important to take into consideration the importance of your goal, you should also put into mind whether you could or could not reach your better goals. And when considering whether you could or could not reach your goals, you have to think of the time frame and the resources that you have and that you would have to work with.
2. If you are creating an action plan for an organization, you could make use of a team that could help you in creating your action plan. Remember that that action plan is created for the team and while it is not possible that you would already be knowledgeable about your team, it would not hurt if you would decide to consider the sentiments, opinions, and insights of the other people involved in the general action plan that you are creating.
When you would decide to consider the other members of the organization or of the team as you would brainstorm for the possible contents of your action plan, it would result in creating a stronger action plan.
3. If you are creating an action plan for your own endeavors, you can still seek help with it. Having a fresh perspective will enable you to consider other ways or steps on how you are going to achieve a particular goal. You may also ask other’s opinion on the plans that you already have in mind since they could see something that you might have overlooked. You may also see business action plan examples.
4. Make sure that you would decide on actions that are not only attainable but are also concrete and measurable. Another thing you should make sure is that it should be well-defined and not random or vague ideas. It is in having concrete and attainable steps that enable your goals to also become concrete and attainable. You may also like strategic action plan examples.
5. If it is a team action plan, make sure that you will be able to determine who is responsible for each of the action steps that you have plotted. If you are tasked to head the entire process, make sure that you will keep an eye on them. It does not mean that if someone is already assigned to a step that you would not anymore do anything. You have to make sure that you will supervise and support every member as they undergo each of the steps. You may also check out employee action plan examples.
6. Have a clear time frame or schedule of when you should be completing the steps in the action plan. You may have a goal that is short-term and this could just take for a month or two. For your long-term goal, it might take more than a year, this is why it is suggested for you to have short-term goals to complete each month in order for you to attain your long-term goal. It is very important for you to break down the time frame or the schedule for each step along the way because this also helps you in tracking your progress
7. Have a list of the necessary resources you need in order to accomplish each of the steps you have plotted out. This is helpful when it comes to instances wherein there will be a shortage of resources and you will be able to identify what resources you would need. You might be interested in work action plan examples.
8. It is very important that you would continuously review and update your action plan because any change may arise and this can definitely affect your action plan steps.
9. As you create more progress and even create more failures, you have to make sure that you will be able to communicate about these with the key people.
Whatever you put on your action plan, make sure that it answers the following questions:
While SMART comes from SMART goals, it is possible for you to have a SMART action plan for your SMART goals. What you apply with your SMART goals can also be applicable to your action plan:
Having specific action plan steps will help you achieve your goals because being vague and broad brings nothing good to you at all.
For example, your goal is to decrease a few pounds. It will not be helpful if you would just state in your action plan “to eat less.” What exactly are trying to eat less? Less oily food? Less rice? Less meat? Less meal proportions? You may also like teacher action plan examples.
You could, instead, write down on your action plan what exactly you are going to eat less because the tendency of not being specific with your steps is that you will not be able to accomplish that step in the end. Avoid, at all costs, setting unclear or vague objectives because this is a pitfall. You may also see restaurant action plan examples.
By making your goals measurable, you will be able to easily assess how far you have gone. You have to know when you have achieved your goals and you could do so by using numbers, dates, and times.
For example, you would like to become a head of a department, you would then have to determine what and the number necessary training courses and relevant experiences you have to take and complete within a certain span of time. You may also check out corrective action plan examples.
When setting your SMART action plan steps, you have to make sure that it is attainable or achievable. This means that you should keep your steps realistic as much as possible in order for you to become successful in your endeavor. It must answer the questions “How can I accomplish this goal?” and “How realistic are these steps based on other constraints like its financial factors?” You may also see one-page action plan examples.
For the similar example stated above, your goal is to become a head of a department in the company you are currently working on. In order to make your general SMART action plan steps realistic, you have to analyze first yourself whether you already possess the necessary skills for you to become qualified because even if you have taken the necessary training but you do not have the right skills and the capability to do the job, then your training will still be useless.
You also have to assess whether you could afford to undergo a lot of training that usually requires a fee.
Make sure that your action plan steps are relevant to your goal. Make sure it is also aligned with your other relevant action plan steps. A relevant action plan steps would answer some of these questions: Are these steps worthwhile to take? Is this the right time? Do your action plan steps match to you other efforts or needs? You may also like research action plan examples.
For example, you want to get promoted but a promotion means that you would have to relocate to another state or country and that you would have to leave your growing family behind. Will it be just right if you consider that goal at the moment? Or can you just pass that goal later on when your family will already become settled and stable? You may also check out sales action plan examples.
It is very important that you would be able to set a time frame for each of your basic action plan steps or else you might be taking too much time on a single goal. Ensure that you will be able to set a flexible and realistic deadline for each of your action plan step. Having set a time frame can also help in keeping you motivated to reach your goal.
For example, you are saving up for a professional camera because you do not want to use your credit card or pay for it monthly. By making your action plan steps toward that goal time-bound, save up for one year and in each of the months in that year, you have to save up a particular amount that makes it possible for you to buy that professional camera you have always wanted at the end of the year.