Create A Plan To Accomplish What You Want; Act (and Improve) On It Every Day

Written by Eric Leaman

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” – Winston Churchill

I know Churchill’s quote has become a bit clichéd (‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’) but the thing about clichés … they are more often true than not.

Good planning, the process of thinking through how you will accomplish something is the only way that you will achieve anything. Things will not happen because you wish them to and life’s pitfalls, pratfalls and misadventures are largely the results of bad planning (or no planning at all).

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it.”- Alan Lakein

Good plans shape good decisions and good decisions make things happen by purpose not by accident… or worse, by someone else’s design or plan.

How do you create a meaningful plan and the actions that will get you where you want to be?

Take the written lists created when you asked yourself “What do I want?” (Personally, professionally, financially, relationships, etc.) and for every item answer:

• What do I need to do to achieve or get what I want?
• Who or what will I need to help me?
• What do I have to change or add to my life, my skills and/or my outlook to achieve or get what I want?
• How long will it take? OR How long will I give myself?
• How will I measure my progress?
• How will I KNOW I arrived?

In writing everything down you MUST be brief! Keep the action plan for each item to less than a page. The more complete AND short the better.

“I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” – Blaise Pascal

Brevity is essential for good plans and almost everything else in life. The more words are involved in planning and detailing something… the less likely that anything is going to get done. Be brief but also be SPECIFIC because you must be able to see and track your results.

You should be able to get onto one page what you want or will accomplish and how you plan to do it. More than one page and you will glaze over when you read it.

Tip: Write everything out once just as it comes to mind. Set it aside. Read it all a minimum of 3 times after that and each time shorten it by at least 10% each time you read it. Just wording things in more concise and simple manner will get rid of more words (and make everything crisper) than you think.

Fine tuning you plan is also essential. You cannot ‘set it and forget it.”

When you have reached a goal or completed a step toward achieving what you want or accomplishing what you want congratulate yourself and then move it off your plan.

If something new arises or it becomes clear you need to adjust or add something to your planning add it and make it part of your daily review.

Finally: You MUST take a minimum 15 minutes every day to review your plans and your progress. Like the need for daily physical exercise to remain physically healthy, you must exercise your plan and your vision daily to keep them healthy and moving you forward.

Here is a tip that has worked for many to help them make their 15 minutes a day work for them. Make one summary page of the items you want and the TOP actions and activities that will get you there. This page will change fairly frequently and should be a high level rundown or outline of your total wants and goals. Read and manage this page daily and read your more detailed lists on a rotating basis getting to each at least once a week.

“No matter how carefully you plan your goals, they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto.” – W. Clement Stone

Enjoy the journey, enjoy the destination!

Eric W. Leaman
Organization for Entrepreneurial Development

Unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit.
Change your mind … and EVERYTHING changes

About Jenny Okonkwo

A MESSAGE TO VICE PRESIDENTS IN FINANCE You know how you are continuously frustrated with trying to balance external compliance requirements with supporting the business internally? I solve this. I do this by using my natural talent for detecting and eliminating waste, duplication, inefficiencies. Documenting procedures, streamlining business processes to help define and clarify roles and responsibilities. Automating manual outdated systems, designing and implementing new ways of working, analysing business data to improve decision making. I help companies develop and improve the internal controls over their financial reporting by assisting in the delivery of Sarbanes Oxley (SOX 404) readiness programs. This allows focus to be placed on compliance and knowing that internal business is taken care of, helping to minimize financial risk to maximize commercial opportunity. Even though I am an accountant by trade, I’ll always be a problem solver at heart, which is shown here. I’m always looking for a new problem to solve, so if you’ve got a doozy you need a hand with, feel free to contact me directly at 647 838 9606 or drop me a line at I have also helped local business entrepreneurs and sole proprietors prepare their voluntary disclosure applications, computerize their manual accounting systems, remove their record-keeping backlogs, automate their processes using both cloud based and desktop accounting solutions, prepare their personal and corporate tax returns. Join my LinkedIn Group now to brainstorm and collaborate from any of these perspectives. Connect with me on Twitter and Linkedin.
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