As the deadline for my project or goal approaches I feel the pressure rise. I never seem to make as much progress as expected. Asking myself how much can I accomplish with the time that I have left? I really wished I created a plan for success.
Stressed and rushed I manage to finish just in time. It’s not my best work but is passable, and I always think to myself;
“If only I had planned out my time, I could have done a better job.”
Does this sound familiar? You have the intention to do great, but as time goes by you become distracted, urgent matters come up, and the deadline keeps approaching.
You end up completing what needs to get done but not to the expectations you had set for yourself. Another project comes around, and you make a promise that this time you’ll plan for success. But nothing changes – time gets away, and you end up in the same place as the last time, stressed and rushed.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right steps you can accomplish what you set out for, on time and with the quality, you believe you can achieve.
Creating A Plan For Success
Planning is very demanding, even for things you’ve done before. New and unknown variables create complexity, which can make planning almost impossible.
Think about an architect sketching designs for a skyscraper. No matter how many buildings they’ve designed each one comes with its own set of variables.
The same can be said about the projects or goals you take on. There are many internal and external factors, which will affect your plan for success.
You will always encounter external forces pulling you in different directions. Friends who want to hang out, obligations to your family, and demanding colleagues or clients.
It’s up to you to prioritize your time on what is most important.
But accomplishing a goal is rarely achieved through one grand gesture. It usually involves working on tiny actions consistently; which lead to achievement.
If you want to lose 10 pounds before your next vacation, you’ll need to eat healthy and exercise every week. Only through consistent practice can you learn how to play an instrument. If you want to get married, it will take multiple dates to get there.
There is no way around it. One action will never help you reach these goals. Only through consistent effort will you be able to lose the weight, learn how to play an instrument or get married (in most cases).
Let’s see how you can reach your next deadline without the panic and stress which usually develops by creating a plan for success.
1. Set Guidelines
What does accomplishing your goal look like? Write down measurable results that you are looking to achieve. Setting clear guidelines on what you want to accomplish.
2. Create a Step-by-Step Plan
Set out the tasks involved in completing your project. I like to start with the main components and then write out the tasks required to complete each one. By writing every step in the process provides you a checklist of what to work on.
3. Monitor Results Regularly
I often find time slips away when I’m not keeping track of my priorities. By visiting my step-by-step plan each morning, I’m always aware of where I am and what needs to be accomplished.
4. Review Success & Problems
After reaching a goal, I like to take the time to look back at what went well and what obstacles I faced. In the heat of the moment, I may not have made the optimal decision. This provides time to reflect on what I may be able to improve on next time.
These are not groundbreaking tools, but instead simple steps when used properly can help you plan for success. Sometimes the easiest things can have the most impact.
I feel that when I start to stray from these 4 steps, time begins to slip away again and the stress and anxiety creep back in. But when you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, have a set plan and check in regularly – you always know where you are.
See if you can avoid the last minute rush and try using these four steps when embarking on your next project or goal.