How to write an action plan

When writing an action plan to achieve a particular goal or outcome, you can get much help from the following steps.

  • Clarify your goal. Can you get a visual picture of the expected outcome? How can you see if you have reached your destination? What does make your goal measurable? What constraints do you have, like the limits on time, money, or other resources.
  • Write a list of actions. Write down all actions you may need to take to achieve your goal. At this step focus on generating and writing as many different options and ideas as possible. Take a sheet of paper and write more and more ideas, just as they come to your mind. While you are doing this, try not to judge or analyze.
  • Analyze, prioritize, and prune. Look at your list of actions. What are the absolutely necessary and effective steps to achieve your goal? Mark them somehow. After that, what action items can be dropped from in the plan without significant consequences for the outcome. Cross them out.
  • Organize your list into a plan. Decide on the order of your action steps. Start from looking at your marked key actions. For each action, what other steps should be completed before that action? Rearrange your actions and ideas into a sequence of ordered action steps. Finally, look at your plan once again. Are there any ways to simplify it even more?
  • Monitor the execution of your plan and review the plan regularly. How much have you progressed towards your goal by now? What new information you have got? Use this information to further adjust and optimize your plan.

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