How to Plan Success: Goals, To-Do Lists & Priorities
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
It’s an old quote but a good one. In any journey – even the journey to success in personal or professional life. The single step here being amazing planning. Let’s get you set off on the right foot with this quick run-down of how to plan success.
Great planning is the ultimate tool for streaming your actions and ideas into a path designed just for you to get you to where you need to go. Here are some quick tips on how to plan like a boss.
The best goals introduce themselves. They tell you who they are, what they want, why they must have it and when they want it by.
Remember when planning out your goals to keep them descriptive, concise and realistic. Vague and dreamy simply won’t cut it here.
Keep your goals measurable. How else will you know if you have completed them?
For example, say you wanted to be “healthy”. What does healthy mean to you? What does it look like in terms of lifestyle and persona appearance? Is it a particular weight, eating x amount of fruit and veggies each day, exercising x amount of minutes per week.
You need to define your success and make it personal.
For more on goals, read how to write goals that work for you – 5 pro tips.
To Do Lists
A to-do list is a simple and fun exercise. Well, it’s fun if you enjoy making lists, which I secretly-not-so-secretly love.
You have your goals. Now is the time to list all the actions, tasks, etc., which you will need to complete in order to conquer them.
List out everything that you can think of. Don’t try to organise your list, free flow everything out into one master list. (Dividing up into sections is the next step.)
Once you feel like you can’t think of anything else you can move on to prioritising them.
You have your goals, you have your master to-do list. It’s time to break it down and build a strategy.
Take a break before editing into priorities. It’s recommended for every kind of editing and I feel like organising your life is no exception. It gives your head space to decompress and heightens objectivity – which you are going to need.
Category 1 – It’s on FIRE!
Begin with category one. Items that demand your immediate attention and action go here.
Often, these are called your “firefighting” priorities. Try to keep these concise and have a short list – around 3 items. This can be per goal or overall urgencies.
Category 2 – Planning & Organising
Category two items are usually your items that are in the planning or organising stage. These are items that are important, but not quite as urgent as category one.
Category 3 – Miscellaneously Urgent
These items are urgent, however. These are items that you could easily ask someone else to do. These are usually sundry actions, such as photocopies, printing, emptying the dishwasher, replying to emails.
Equally, these are things that you have been delegated to do or asked to help with. They are urgent, yes, but they are someone else’s urgent.
If you do choose to do these, make sure they fit into a small spot on your schedule and don’t let them eat into your agenda.
Category 4 – Some Day
I’m sure you already know this: but a lot of what is on your list will immediately drop into category 4 – the “some day” section.
It’s really a wish list of items you’d like to do, but they don’t get or deserve the top spot. Not right now.
Don’t be disheartened if this area is quite large and there are things you want to do in there. They need to go on the back burner, at least temporarily.
You may get round to them sooner than you think.
So that is the basic run down of how to plan success. Do you have any stories on how planning has helped you to complete a goal or change a habit? Share it in the comments below!