If you want to get stuff done, you have to stay focused. One way to do that? Work with smaller milestones. For example, instead of making a list of all your goals for the year, break it down to what you want to focus on in the next few months. And this three-step system can help.
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Business coach David Finkel created this action plan for companies or teams, but you can just as easily use it for your own goals. It involves three steps.
Step One: Find your focus areas: The first step is to come up with three "focus areas," which are just three goals you want to accomplish this quarter (one per month). For example, these might be read more, exercise more, stop eating so much junk food, etc. Write down each goal and separate them by month.
Step Two: Clarify the criteria for success: How will you know if you've reached your goal in the focus area? If your goal is to read more books, for example, your criteria might be: Finally get through War and Peace and Finish reading all the books I got for Christmas. You'll clarify the criteria for each goal, then write down the criteria under each focus area.
Step Three: Lay Out Your Action Steps: In the next step, you'll add the action-oriented tasks you'll take to reach each goal. Going back to the book example, it might be to read one chapter a day. Add these tasks to each month's focus area, then, create a due date for completing that step.
The template is a great way to create SMART goals for yourself. By clarifying your criteria, you're ensuring your goals are specific and measurable. When you list your tasks, you ensure they're realistic and actionable. And by breaking your goals out by month, you ensure your goals are time-based. Head to the link below to see the template in action.
3 Simple Steps to Create a 1-Page Quarterly Action Plan [Maui Mastermind via Fast Company]