How to Turn Your Best Plans into Action

So you’ve made yourself a plan – now what?

Your ability to take action on your plan has as much to do as your planning process itself. As the saying goes, even the best laid plans of mice and men/women often go awry.

The planning process is your launching pad for achieving success.  Here are some guidelines for turning your plan into action and getting better results:

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Make a Better Plan

Developing a strong plan of attack is the cornerstone of getting done what you seek to accomplish. Plan thoroughly, making certain that your planning process includes the following:

    • Create time constraints – give your activities specific beginning and end times
    • Break down tasks – tasks are more easily accomplished when you create small actionable steps
    • Estimate your capacity – decide how much you can realistically accomplish in one day and plan no more than that
    • Check your balance – mix together a variety of daily activities from different aspect of your life to maintain enthusiasm and avoid burnout

Review Your Plan

Spend a few minutes at the beginning of your day reviewing the plan you’ve set for yourself. Refresh your memory of all tasks and appointments while putting yourself in the same mindset you had when plans were made. This activity allows you to make last-minute adjustments and helps you draw motivation to get everything done you had planned.

Set Yourself Up for Success

All good plans require good preparation, so make certain your plan includes time to gather resources and tools for reaching success. A day with sales calls could crash to a halt if you leave your phone charger at home. Set yourself up for a successful day. Make special lists and reminders of the tools needed for specific tasks.

Have a Tangible Outcome

Starting a task without knowing how to end is a commonly frustrating and unproductive activity. Be sure you have a specific and tangible outcome for each of the activities you have planned.

    • For example: if you are planning to work on a presentation, decide ahead of time the acceptable amount of work from which you can walk away.

Don’t allow your activities to become aimless tasks. Create expectations for yourself.


Quite possibly the simplest of steps, and often the hardest to achieve, is the actual act of following-through on your plan. Achieving success requires you to avoid the ugly creatures of distraction, avoidance, and procrastination.

To do this, you have to see your plan as a promise, a commitment you’ve made to yourself. Remind yourself that your plan is based on a bigger picture that includes your goals and values. There is no greater principle than being impeccable with your word. Don’t cheat yourself, follow your plan.

Report Your Progress and Success

Seeing your plan in motion is a wonderfully motivating and rewarding experience. Chart your progress by keeping notes and checking off tasks in your day planner. This is a key process of your planning system because it records your activities for future reference. Look back and see what you’ve accomplished and when you accomplished it.

Follow these guidelines on a consistent basis and you’ll find yourself turning your own plans into action.

[Victor1558 photo]


Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at

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