Have you ever put a project off because it seemed too overwhelming?
Our 5-Day Challenge format is extremely helpful when applied to big administrative projects, like office procedures, that seem out of reach. Our participants always seem to end the challenge amazed at how much they accomplished in five short days — all while doing their regular jobs.
The secret to their success is pretty simple. It’s a combination of focus, accountability, support, and a time limit — all wrapped up in a daily plan of action!
When you apply this FAST plan of action to the big (and little) goals in your career, you can truly accomplish anything.
1. Make a list of the things you want to accomplish. If you don’t already carry a journal to capture ideas and thoughts, get one now. If you prefer digital options, there are numerous list-building apps out there you can try. Create a central location to capture your career goals, dreams, and aspirations so you can refer to or add to them quickly.
2. Focus on one item at a time from the list. Distractions abound in this digital age; so training yourself to focus on one thing at a time is vital to accomplishing anything.
3. Write down every action that needs to be taken to complete that item. There are a lot of effective ways you can do this whether it’s a brain dump on a whiteboard, Word document, journal or using mind-mapping software, or an Evernote or OneNote notebook. Choose one and write down every single thing you can think of to make your goal or project happen.
4. Identify costs, resources, and support required to make it happen. For planning purposes, it’s important to think through the known costs that may be involved, what kind of resources may be required, and the type of support you might need from others to make it happen.
5. Assign a timeline to the individual action items. Depending upon the size of your goal or project, it’s important to lay out the timing associated with each individual action item. This will help you set realistic expectations and keep you motivated throughout the process.
6. Schedule it. Or in other words, put a time limit on yourself. This is where we often drop the ball completely. We know how long something should take under ideal conditions, but we never create — or schedule — the time to work on it and make it happen. We end up working in our career instead of working on our career. It’s important to do both to be successful.
7. Find an accountability partner, mentor, or coach to encourage, support, and keep you on track. We all get by with a little (or a lot) of help from our friends and colleagues. So don’t overlook the impact an accountability partner can have on keeping you on track with your plan of action. Choose someone who knows you well, provides objective feedback, and is willing to lend an ear or the occasional kick in the career you need to achieve your goals.
8. Record start and completion dates for each action item so you can track your progress. Tracking your progress — regardless of your pace — also provides focus and accountability.
9. For each action item, write down any challenges or roadblocks you encounter, and how you overcame them. This may not seem that important, but it is. Writing down what’s getting in your way will help you think more clearly about the challenges. It gives you concrete examples to brainstorm solutions for with your accountability partner. And it will help you avoid or overcome similar challenges in the future. Use your journal or list-building app to keep track so you can see what’s holding you back or contributing to your success.
10. Celebrate milestones. Milestones are the little achievements along the way to accomplishing your big goal, and they deserve recognition and celebration. This is another way to keep your momentum and motivation up. When you map out the action items required to achieve your goal, identify the points that are worthy of a good pat on the back or treating yourself to dinner. Then celebrate them as you go.
Tackling these 10 steps will take time, effort and patience, but stick with them and you’ll accomplish your goal. Then, repeat these steps whenever you have a big task, and watch your career achievements soar!
So, what do you want to accomplish next?
Download our free career planning template to help get you started.
© 2014 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.