When I first got the idea to start earning money on my own, all I could think about was having a solid plan for my business. Using my beautiful planners, notebooks, and pens, I would begin forecasting my vision.
I knew exactly where I could be in a year if I followed my plan. I researched the steps, put it all in writing, and that's about as far as I got.
But when I faced having to make more money, I had to find an idea and get into immediate action. And guess what, I made a lot more money than I did my first go around.
I'm talking about this because I meet so many brilliant people with amazing ideas who feel stuck. I'll sit down with them to see where I can help and I tend to see a reoccurring pattern – there's a lot of planning and not enough doing.
Luckily, I had accidently learned my lesson early on. I knew that nothing was more important in succeeding than taking action.
It is very easy to get caught up in the pursuit of perfection that we use all our energy planning in hopes of not failing. But when we use our limited productive hours mapping out the small details, we can lose the fire needed to execute.
Now that behavior had its faults. In just getting into action without having a basic blueprint, time and money are often wasted. Becoming more systematic in my execution, I started to fail and succeed quicker.
Through experience and studying, I've adopted a simple 4-step process to help me always stay in action which I'm going to share with you.
Step 1: Get Clear On Where You Are
Often when we plan, we are thinking of where we want to be in our business one day. Be honest about exactly where you are in your building process at the very moment so you can see the next logical step to take.
You know where you want your organization to go over time, which is perfect for finding direction. However, productive planning is not focused on doing Z if Y and Z happens. By defining where you are and where you hope to go, you can prioritize the projects, and daily task needed to get you closer to the end result.
If you don't have one, this is the ideal time to write out your mission statement and brand vision. These statements will help you clarify your markets, customer base, products and other business building essentials.
Step 2: Focus On The Now
Your vision may be enormous and take several years to accomplish. So what good is it to plan for two years down the road? By focusing on a future result, you will find yourself overwhelmed and therefore not acting.
The key is to concentrate on no more than 90-days from today. What is something that you want to accomplish in the next few months that will get you closer to your overall goal? It can be growing your email list or launching your first product, so focus on that one thing and get it down.
Now, define what you must achieve over the next year and prioritize the activities that will get you there. Pick the next logical one that you can accomplish in the next 30 to 90 days.
Step 3: Break It Down
With anything you want to achieve, there steps you must take. Using the one thing that you're focused on now, brainstorm everything you need and must do to complete it.
I suggest doing this now if you know what you want to accomplish.
Grab your notebook, sit down for 15 minutes and write down what steps you will take over the next 90 days to hit your goal. Take note of what the cost will be, how much time you need to allocate to the project and what resources you will need.
Step 4: Schedule It
It's time to commit. You know what you want and what it takes to get it, so there is no room for excuses.
Take out the sheet with all the steps for accomplishing your one thing, your calendar and pen (or thumbs if it's on your phone). Now you're going to take every step you have listed and schedule each one.
I want you to dedicate 15 to 60 minutes each day to getting closer to your goal. If you can devote more time to it great but remember you have other things to work on and this is just your current priority.
You can schedule out your entire 90 days, but I suggest doing only a week at a time. Pick a day, for me it's Sunday, and write the exact time and day you will be working on one step.
Step 5: Act on Your Plan
Now is when you make it happen! You have crafted a strategic action plan, made a schedule and the only thing left to do is to get in action.
Don't go running off to plan the next project. Don't clean out your inbox. Focus on accomplishing this task and preferably at your most productive time. As you make progress, cross it off your list so you can keep track and evaluate your work process.
This approach may not be for everyone. But if you are busy trying to build a business while working full-time, I challenge you to try it.
Stop over planning and just start doing.
Tell me: How do you plan out your projects? What are some things that you find help you get things done effectively? What lessons have you learned?