“A dream is a wish your heart makes,” says the Cinderella song. While your dreams during sleep might not be your true wishes, your goals in life are. Part of living a motivated life involves setting goals for yourself. But sometimes, you might not know where to start in making those goals a reality. Making actionable plans sounds overwhelming, and you don’t know how to adjust your schedule.
Luckily, making changes to allow yourself to accomplish your aspirations isn’t so hard. There are some key adjustments to make and strategies to follow. Keep reading for some tips and tricks on how to build actionable plans.
1. Utilize Your Calendar
You might not realize it, but calendars are incredibly useful for different situations. When it comes to taking those first steps in achieving your goals, looking at your schedule can actually help significantly. First, make sure you have a good calendar system figured out, whether on paper or online. Next, you can start using your calendar to break down those goals into less daunting tasks.
You’ll need to set a timeline for your project. Using a calendar to do this will make your process a lot easier, and you’ll have a visual aid. Set a realistic timeline of how long this task will take. Now, you can accurately measure your progress as time goes by.
With every week that goes past, you can look at your calendar and see if you’re on-track with your project. You can even create a checklist after breaking down your task into smaller parts. Being able to “check” a task off can feel motivating and encouraging while you work.
Scheduling milestones is another good way to keep yourself focused on your actionable plan. When you break down your project into smaller pieces and create a timeline, you can divide these parts into segments or categories. When you complete one of these segments, you’ve accomplished a milestone.
This might occur on a periodic basis. Say you’ve separated your project into categories that should each be finished at the end of a month. Therefore, at the end of every month, you’ll have passed another milestone — as long as you’re on-track. This will keep you motivated and allow yourself to celebrate the process of fulfilling your goals.
Check-in on Yourself
Think about how your boss might check in on you to see how you’re doing. What’s your progress, how’s the project looking, and whatnot? When it comes to achieving your goals, you must essentially become your own boss. You’re in charge in this situation, so you must keep yourself on-task and committed to accomplishing your dreams.
One of the ways you can do this is by doing a “check-in” with yourself. Periodically schedule these once a week, once a month, or whenever you want. Let these be moments to sit down and honestly survey the work you’ve completed. Are you on track with how quickly you want to tackle this project? Do you need to adjust your time constraints? Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Ask yourself these types of questions and look over your work. If you’re not on track with your original schedule, make adjustments to be more realistic. Or, institute some self-discipline to follow your desired timeline. Remember, you have to be your own boss, which means making the tough decisions and keeping yourself in line. Don’t be afraid to be firm with yourself if you need to, but also don’t be so tough that you’re being unrealistic. It’s all about balance and knowing your limits.
2. Block Time for Better Efficiency
Speaking of balance, alternating between focus and free time is important. To avoid burnout, you need to have what’s called a “work/life balance.” This means giving yourself separate spaces to focus on work and your personal life, while prioritizing the importance of both. You can be a devoted employee without sacrificing your mental well-being or personal life. This also applies to working on your own goals in life, as sometimes they can turn into feeling like a chore.
Set Your Work/Life Balance
Getting your work/life balance in check is important — you’ll need to assess your current daily schedule or routine. How many hours a day do you need to work at your day job? Do you have outside commitments, like family, pets, or volunteer duties? Coming up with a general idea of your usual schedule is the first step to creating this balance.
Now that you have a sense of your days, you can figure out how to space out your different priorities. Block out your work hours, then another hour or so sometime after you get home to work on your personal project. However, make sure you’re giving yourself a break between your day job and your other work. Otherwise, you could feel overwhelmed. Letting yourself have a moment to relax, eat dinner, or watch an episode of your favorite show can do wonders.
Understanding the importance of a healthy work/life balance is vital for success and mental well-being. If you don’t have this, make sure you get it in a healthier state before taking on more work. Once that’s set, you can utilize the time-blocking technique.
Try Time Blocking
Blocking out spaces of your day for pure focus on a task can sometimes be the secret to success. If you’re easily distracted or want to get better at being motivated, this technique can be helpful. Plus, following this can help you get more work done within smaller time constraints, meaning you’ll use your time more efficiently. That also means you’re less likely to have to use your free time to work, so you can keep your work/life balance.
Time blocking involves planning in advance how long you’ll devote to working on something. For example, you could plan to spend an hour solely on putting together a presentation. Devoting this specified time to a task can help you stay motivated and work more efficiently.
This motivation will also be helpful when working on your personal projects. As mentioned above, you could block out an hour for it in the evenings after work. This is a healthy amount of time to devote to your personal goals without overloading yourself. Remember to focus on the task at hand during these time blocks.
3. Make Some Adjustments
Your goals in life are essential. Therefore, you should prioritize them accordingly. If you want to make your dreams a reality, you’ll need to devote the time and effort to do so. That doesn’t mean you must completely uproot your regular schedule. Adjusting your time management system can help free up the space you need to work on your projects.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Priorities
Just like starting a new chapter in life can seem scary, changing your priorities can be daunting, too. However, if you know this project deserves the time and effort, it’s okay to make that a priority. If this is the start of a new career move, then you should especially give it the room it needs to grow.
Increasing the priority of your actionable plan might require you to cut back in other areas. Can you afford to work a few less hours a week? Or do you need to spend less time going out on weekends? Figure out what you’re comfortable with cutting back for the time being. And remember, this doesn’t have to last forever — projects aren’t meant to take up your whole life.
Invest in a Routine
One of the best ways to maximize your efficiency is to establish a daily routine. This could involve how you spend your mornings, evenings/nights, or even your workdays. Following a routine can use less brain power, so you’ll have more time to work on your project later. This can also take less time than you usually do when getting ready for the day or after you come home for the night.
Freeing up space to tackle your project is necessary to complete it within the timeline in your actionable plan. Moreover, this doesn’t require you to change your schedule. This is an excellent baby-step to valuing your time so you can work on your priorities.
Anything is Possible
Remember that your dreams in life can be more than just that — a dream. You can make your goals into reality simply by implementing an actionable plan. Switching priorities, establishing time-saving routines, and keeping a schedule can make a difference. You’ll find that it’s easier than you think, too. Your goals are important, so treat them accordingly. Now, get going on making your dreams come true.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Bankole Ade-Oni; Pexels; Thank you!