Why is it that in our work we can hold ourselves accountable, track our progress and focus on taking action that gets outstanding results, yet we can often struggle to feel like we’re achieving the same level of success in our personal lives?

As a business, BRS is highly disciplined in undertaking our quarterly business planning cycles to measure progress against our strategic plan. We ensure any incomplete items that need to be carried over to the next quarter are still relevant and aligned to our strategy, whilst also refocusing our priorities and key actions for the upcoming quarter.

So why don’t many of us apply the same discipline, purposeful action planning and energy to our personal lives? Well, we can and we should!

There’s a plethora of apps and self-help books that talk about achieving your aspirations and living your life on purpose. While I believe we ultimately are in control of how we live our lives, it’s useful to balance that big picture and aspirational ‘stuff’ with some practical strategies that are easy to implement and help shift that big picture reality out of your head and into a successful plan.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

I’ve personally found it useful to use a more formalised planning approach where I can break down my longer term goals into smaller, more achievable chunks. I have a personal strategic plan that sets out my big, bold goals, and then a more action-oriented 90 day plan that flows down from this outlining what I need to focus on now to get where I want to be.

There’s a range of ways you can design your personal 90-day plan, and this will vary for everyone depending on your personal preferences i.e. if you prefer structured lists or you’re into more of a visual plan. Either way, you can apply the following guidelines when developing your personal 90 day plan:

  • Less is more – set yourself up for success by identifying specific and achievable actions. You’ll only erode your self-belief if your action wish list is too broad and you can’t strike them off your to-do-list in the time you set yourself.
  • Be realistic – don’t feel like you have to be a superhero and tick everything off in the first 4 weeks – spread your actions out over the quarter! It’s okay if some actions need to be carried over or deferred to the next quarter. Just don’t get into the habit of carrying items over just for the sake of it. Either commit to delivering in the timeframe you’ve agreed with yourself, or remove if the action is no longer relevant or aligned to your long term goals.
  • You don’t have to go it alone – for many of us asking for help doesn’t come naturally. While it’s possible to go it alone, make sure you understand the trade-off in terms of time, money and effort, and see how this fits in with your personal strategic plan. I recommend doing a quick self-audit to identify: what are you awesome at, where you might need some help up-skilling or what you can delegate or outsource.
  • Having a plan doesn’t make you inflexible – while it’s useful to map out where you want to be and what you can do to get there, it’s important to acknowledge our environment is constantly changing. Don’t get too caught up on the how, instead be adaptable and focus on progress over perfection.
  • Focus, focus, focus – learn to say no. Your time and energy are precious – protect them! It’s easy to get side-tracked, but if you want to progress towards achieving your goals, learning to say no will be your saving grace.

 Personal planning isn’t something I used to focus on. Yet when you think about it – it should be a no brainer for all of us! Do you currently dedicate time for personal planning? I would love to hear from you either way.