Creating an Action Plan? Easy. Implementing It? That’s a Whole ‘Nother Story.
I was researching quotes about action today for my ezine, and I came up with several that felt like they were written just for me:
- All know the way; few actually walk it. (Bodhidharma)
- Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. (Peter Marshall)
- Doing things is not the same as getting things done. (Jared Silver)
Is it just me, or do those make you cry, “Owie owie owie!”?
As entrepreneurs, it’s really easy for us to come up with great ideas for products, programs, and services. When it comes to action planning, that’s a bit trickier, simply because we typically have so damn many great ideas; how do you figure out which one to start with? But even that’s a piece of cake compared to coming up with an implementation strategy.
What to do?
I can always tell when I have too many ideas swirling: I start looking for a security blankie and a nice corner to curl up in. When this happens, I’ve found several approaches that slow me down and calm me down.
- Move (not out of state, just out of my office chair). Taking time out for some stretches or even a quick walk decreases my stress level, gets the blood flowing, and gives me just enough time away so that I come back fresher.
- Map it out. Very often, sketching out what feels overwhelming allows me to get a better mental handle on the situation. For me, “sketching” has nothing to do with drawing pictures. Instead, I just jot down words representing the primary swirling thoughts, then see how or if they connect to each other. Doing this enables me to see more clearly which one of my proposed courses of action is more important than the others; this, in turn, gives me a starting point for creating my action plan.
- Talk it out. I’m fortunate to have two separate Mastermind groups I can turn to for input. Very often, I can get a clearer understanding of the situation as I hear myself talk.
- Chunk it down. This is probably my favorite sanity saver. So many “action steps” are in reality enormous tasks that simply can’t be done all at once. In a case like this, it’s far easier and more motivating to take that big honkin’ step and break it down into a whole series of smaller steps, each of which feels (and is) far more manageable. For example, “update website” might be only a single item on your To Do list, but how many sub-steps do you actually have to take to accomplish that task? You’ve got a much better chance of moving toward this goal by breaking it down into tiny steps that you’re actually willing and able to tackle. Far better to make small but consistent steps forward than to paralyze yourself so much with a huge task that it never gets done.
So what have you found that helps you with goal setting, action planning, and implementing? Let us know! It would be great if we could all become poster children for the following quotes:
- Action is the antidote to despair. (Joan Baez)
- The best way out of a problem is through it. (Author unknown)
- Action always generates inspiration. (Frank Tibolt)
- Success will never be a big step in the future; success is a small step taken just now. (Jonatan Martensson)