6 Planning to ‘stay on track’
It is one thing to write a plan, but it is quite another to follow it through. Thinking about your achievements and recording them helps you stay on track once you get started. You have invested time on this course in establishing what skills and abilities you have to offer, and where they might best be offered. You have also acquired new skills and knowledge. It is important not only to keep a record of what you can do, but also to keep it current and up to date. No one else is going to have as clear a view of your abilities and your development as you are, so if you don’t keep your record up to date, you will always be selling yourself short in some way.
As you follow your action plan, paying attention to this becomes part of your routine. The following guidelines are designed to act as a checklist for you:
- Make sure you add to your record of achievements at regular intervals, perhaps every month, or every three months. Have a diary date to remind you.
- Don’t forget to continue to collect evidence and examples of the new skills you acquire.
- If you uncover a gap in your knowledge, or struggle to do something because of a lack of skill in particular area, make a note in your plan and put an action to address it. (Then make sure to do Step 2 when you have completed the development.)
- As your achievements build, look at your goals again and decide which have been met, which still remain relevant and whether or not you can add any new goals.
It is possible that plans will not work out exactly as you intended, so it is always useful to stand back from them now and then and review the situation as it has unfolded. It is not necessarily a bad thing if plans do not go as we expected. Sometimes opportunities or alternatives open up that you had not originally anticipated.
When you decide to review your plans then the questions below might help:
- Was I being realistic in my plans – in terms of how much time I could give to something, how long it might take me, how much it asked of me?
- Did anything affect my plan that I could not influence? Could I have anticipated any of this?
- Did my plans change because of something I did or did not do? Was this helpful or unhelpful?
- Has the plan taken me in an unexpected direction but one I am happy with following? Or have I gone off track altogether?
- Do I need to re-plan? If so, what are the next natural one or two things for me to do – either to get back on track or to move forward?
You may have questions of your own to add. As you have learned through practice each week, questions are a good way of prompting reflection. So, use the questions to reflect on any changes you might want to make to your goals and plans, and how to make them achievable.
In the last section of the course you’ll look at the importance of reflection, before finishing by reflecting on your own learning throughout the course.