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Succeed in the workplace
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5 Action planning

Word art of 'SMART'.
Figure 7 SMART

Some changes happen in life without planning, or without you taking action. Others need your focus, attention and energy, if they are to take place. If you want changes in a specific direction, then you need to take charge of that process and plan what you are going to do to make it happen.

A good action plan breaks down your goals into smaller, more specific steps in order to make them more achievable. One of Jon’s goals is to gain a degree within four years. He asks himself four questions:

  1.   What do I need to do to realise the goal?
  2.   How I can do this?
  3.   What resources might I need to help me?
  4.   When do I need to take action to secure these resources?

The table below shows how Jon collated his answers and acted. It is an example of the kind of action plan you might want to create.

Table 6 Jon’s action plan
My goal
A degree within four years
What? How?

Need to do 90 credits per year

Allocate realistic time for study, i.e. 24 hours per week

Do breakdown of typical week

Note best and worst times of day for study

Timetable in 24 hours using as much ‘best time’ as possible

Think about which study tasks I might tackle during ‘difficult’ times, e.g. watching course videos

Resources to help When?

Tom, my line manager – to negotiate some study leave and/or flexible working hours

Clare – to add key family commitments to timetable, e.g. parents’ evenings

Parents – to ask for help with children and garden

Talk to Tom during my appraisal on 10 November

Talk to Clare next weekend while children are at swimming lessons and do timetable

Ask Mum and Dad over for a meal next week