Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Personal Development Plan Template: 5-Step Personal Action Plan

A good personal development plan template includes five steps that guide you to take action. When included, these five steps can make your personal action plan simple, yet effective.

In fact, keeping your personal development strategy simple is important when seeking a good template. Why is this important? Because when learning how to write a personal development plan (also referred to as a PD Plan), it is easy to get "analysis paralysis" if your example personal development plan is too complicated.

If you aren't familiar with the term, "analysis paralysis," it's where you are so caught up in your head, that you just keep spinning thoughts around inside without taking any action.

What we want to do here is to identify the five key components to making a simple personal growth plan. These five steps, while they may seem overly simplified, are the core to any plan, whether it is a personal leadership development plan, personal professional development plan or a personal action plan.

So, when you are looking for a good template, the simpler you make it, the faster you can "get down to business" and take action.

So, what are these five key parts your PD planning?

1. Identify goals
2. Prioritize goals
3. Action steps
4. Time line for first action

5. What if I do nothing?

IDENTIFY GOALS: When you start your personal growth plan, of course you'll want to identify what you want to accomplish. However, here's where many people make their first mistake by not identifying goals that are truly what they desire or are realistic enough to achieve. Be sure that your goals are what you truly desire at a deep, core level of your being.

PRIORITIZE GOALS: Once you find goals that are "what you want" and not "want someone else wants for you," and these goals are realistic, there are certain steps to prioritizing these goals using something called, "reverse goal setting." This is exactly what it sounds like where you take your "end goal" and work backwards writing down each step it took to get there. Like you are walking your goal backwards.

ACTION STEPS: Once you've done your reverse goal setting and have a step-by-step map for your personal development strategy, an important part of your PD planning is to find a way to turn these "bread crumbs" you've identified as a sequence of goals into a personal action plan. To do this, simply ask yourself, "What can I do today on 'bread crumb number 1' to take action?"

TIME LINE FOR ACTION: Any example personal development plan will tell you that you must set out a time line for action. What you want to do is to create daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals for yourself so you stay on track. Be sure with this part of your personal development strategy to keep it realistic with everything else you spend time on in your life.

WHAT IF I DO NOTHING? When you want to develop a personal development plan, it's easy to be very motivated in the beginning. Your enthusiasm is ample to help you learn how to write a personal development plan and about the various parts of PD planning. After awhile, however, it is easy to set your personal action plan or personal growth plan aside, so one question you'll want to keep in front of you for motivation is, "What if I do nothing?" This one question can keep you going through the myriad of tasks of putting your template into action.

While finding a good personal development plan template or personal development plan sample isn't easy at first, using these five steps in learning how to write a personal development plan can get you started. Then you can turn your personal action plan into action, rather than spinning thoughts around and around "thinking" about taking action because your plan is too complicated.

 Suzanne Glover - About the Author
Suzanne Glover offers a free personal development plan template, as well as detailed instructions for using it in her free life plan workbook "Create Your Life," which can be found at effective-positive-thinking.com.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

7 Habits Highly Effective People DON’T Have

You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.

But you have that one friend who seems to get everything done. She’s busy but not ridiculously so, and isn’t stressed or rushed. She seems to manage family, work, and hobbies with ease, and even gets a weekend away on a regular basis.

How does she do it? Does she have a magic potion she’s not sharing, or did she make some sort of productivity deal with the devil?

Nope, it’s more mundane than that.

Whether you think so or not, you’ve got habits that are bogging you down, making you less effective than your seemingly charmed friend, and leaving you with a To Do list that never ends.

Where did those bad habits come from? You’re not a bad person – you don’t want a never-ending To Do list, or to feel frazzled at the end of the day. You want to get stuff done.

It’s just that you’ve been doing things the same way for so long, you don’t notice how bogged you are. That’s the definition of a habit: “a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition.” No mention of efficiency.

But the beautiful thing about habits is you can change them. Ditch the old unproductive ones and get new powerful ones, and become one of those highly effective people.

Here are seven habits your efficient friend doesn’t have, along with ways to get rid of them:


It might seem smart to do a few things at once, but the truth is you end up doing all of them poorly. There’s a limit to what our brains can handle at one time, and multi-tasking only sets you up for inefficiency and stress.

The fix: Do one thing at a time. (Duh.) It calms the mind, allows you to focus, and you’ll do better work and enjoy the process more. Once you do that one thing, check it off the list and move on to the next. Simple.

Spending your most productive time on tasks that aren’t important

You’re a morning person? Then you’re wasting high-energy hours if you’re cruising Facebook, organizing your sweater drawer, or calling a friend to chat before lunch.

The fix: Every night make a To Do list for the next day, no more than two or three most important tasks. Know your productive time (morning, middle of the night, whenever), then schedule those things for those hours. After you’ve cleared your To Do list for the day, catch up on non-essential tasks.

Working at a messy desk

Even though you say, “But I know exactly where everything is!” I’m not buying it. Physical clutter = mental clutter, and mental clutter is no good for getting stuff done.

The fix: Take two hours, tops, and make three piles: toss, pending, and deal. Then, guess what? Toss the first pile. Put the pending pile into a folder on your desk. (The strange part about that is some items will resolve themselves and you can move them to the toss pile. Yay!) Lastly, the deal pile has to be dealt with now, or moved to your To Do list and knocked out that way.

Starting and stopping and starting again

Inconsistency is the enemy of productivity. And it’s frustrating to have a task or project take way longer than it should.

The fix: You don’t need to be the smartest, most talented person in the room, but you do need to be persistent. Take regular, consistent action, even when it feels like you’re not getting anywhere, day in, day out. You’ll see results in time. (Think Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”)

Giving in to fear

Fear is normal; it means you’re challenging yourself. Just because you’re afraid of something doesn’t mean you should avoid it. It might be the best thing for you.

The fix: Give the thing you’re afraid of the worst-case scenario test. Will it kill you? No? Good. Consider what could happen – realistically – if you do that thing. Imagine the scenario, and picture yourself dealing with it. Let me tell you a secret: the worst case probably won’t happen. Let go of your fear and plunge in.

Setting vague goals

You say you want to “make more money” or “be healthier,” but what do those goals mean? They’re too vague to translate to any kind of purposeful action, which will have you mucking about forever.

The fix: Set goals and make them SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Change “make more money” to “add one new client a month,” or “be healthier” to “walk 30 minutes, five days a week for three months.” Admire your progress.

Blaming situations or others for why you can’t reach your goals

Blaming is a losing game. Sure, you’ve got an anemic bank account or a jerk of a boss, but at the end of the day it’s your life. Whining keeps you stuck in “poor me” limbo, far removed from your goals.

The fix: Suck it up and take responsibility. You owe it to yourself and the world to make the most of your talents and step into your greatness. Own your past, present, and future. Quit wasting energy complaining and watch your productivity soar.

Is there a habit you’d add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

Hit the share button if you found something useful!

DEONNE KAHLER writes at Life on the High Wire. Drop off your email address and get access to her free live training event, “Game Changer: Add Spice and Satisfaction to Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day” (plus a bonus!). She’ll teach you four steps you can take right now to start getting the creative, independent, hugely satisfying life you deserve.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

How Get Everything Done Without Sacrificing Your Beauty Sleep or Your Social Life

If you’re reading this, you’re an ambitious person. You have a lot of things you’d like to get done: from starting a business, writing your novel, getting your yoga certification, and traveling the world.

Not to mention all the everyday things you need to do to keep your Internet bill paid and your friends and family happy. You’ve got a lot on your plate, and trying to balance it all with your big goals and dreams can be overwhelming.

I’ve been where you are, and I’ve found a few techniques to help me manage everything I want out of life, without losing a drop of beauty sleep over it.

The Notecard Method To Prioritizing

The first step is to figure out exactly what you want to do. This is the fun part! You get to dream, strategize, and finally nail down all those things that you’ve been saying you’d do someday. I recommend you write down everything you’ve ever wanted to do, preferably things that you’d like to do in the next 5 years or so.

Once you have everything out on a piece of paper or two, it’s time to break these things down onto notecards or post-it notes. Use what you have: I did mine on the back of business cards, because that’s what I had on hand.

The focus here is to write just one thing you’d like to accomplish – big or small – on each card. You might find that some of the things you wrote down don’t make it to a notecard, either because you don’t want it all that much or you realize that the other things are just that much cooler.

This is where prioritizing comes in. I want you to spread out all the notecards, and choose the top 5-10 cards. Depending on how big these goals are, you might be able to take on more cards, and if they’re really big ones like “write a book” or “get married” then you’ll take less.

Prioritize the cards based on what you think is possible to do within the next year. Then keep the rest of the cards for what you’ll plan to do the following year, and in the next 3-5 years.

This method works wonders because it allows you to see everything you want visually, and it also forces you to pick just a handful of things that are doable at one time. I suggest you keep the ones that didn’t make the cut for this year into a “next year” box, for safe keeping. It’s not that these other goals and dreams aren’t going to happen, it’s just that they need their own dedicated time.

Your Wall Calendar Will Keep You Sane

Now the critical piece of the puzzle: it’s time to write down when you’re going to do each of these things on your calendar. I recommend you get a large wall calendar so you can see your whole year at a glance.

Again it’s time to be really honest with yourself about what you can accomplish in a specific amount of time. You might block out three months to work on a particular project. Maybe you’ll take one week to do a training course abroad, and that might mean doing a little research before you pick the dates.

Pin down any other time-bound items on your calendar, so you’re working with a realistic “free time” expectation. For example if you know you’re going to be visiting family for Thanksgiving, or taking a vacation with your sweetie in the summer, put it on the calendar. Once it’s on the calendar, you’ll be able to make more realistic time estimates.

I recommend that each month you have a focus, if possible. It depends on the types of goals you have, but if your goal is travel around Europe then a few months before your trip, you should dedicate that month to travel research, planning, and booking. Then the following month you can focus on getting your finances in order, and the one after that can be for outlining your book.

Sleep Soundly And Watch Your Dreams Unfold For You

Now we’re down to the day to day implementation of your plans. In order to get everything done, you need to have your calendar close at hand and to break down the big goals into smaller action steps that you can actually accomplish.

This means translating the big calendar items into smaller due dates for yourself on your calendar. Humans work better with deadlines and due dates, so give yourself a chance to achieve everything by sticking to them.

Now hopefully you’ve chosen a manageable number of goals to accomplish this coming year, and you’ve taken some of the pressure off yourself to do everything right now.

The easy part is taking each small step that adds up to the big results you’re looking for. It helps a lot if you get the necessary amount of sleep, because then you can keep taking action toward your goals knowing that everything is happening as it should be.

What are the 3 big or small goals that you’ve narrowed down for this year? Leave a comment below, I want to know!

Nathalie Lussier is an online business triple threat, serving up digital strategy with integration and do-it-yourself training programs to turn your website into the asset you know it should be. She’s the creator of The Website Checkup Tool, and she loves getting techy with it, martial arts, and drinking green juice.