Running Your Plan

Running a plan is like taking a night drive home, even though you can only see 50 feet in front of you at times, you know eventually you’ll get there. You may need to adjust your route several times depending on what becomes visible, but sticking fast to your objectives and watching the road you’ll find the quickest and safest route to your destination.

Likewise with a plan, unexpected events will happen along the way and you may need to update and deviate perhaps several times but by drawing back to your objectives and holding fast to your plan you will get there.

Stay Fuelled – Your Mindset

If you want to make the whole journey you need to keep your vehicle fuelled and with the right stuff, similarly if your mind isn’t balanced and focused on the task at hand you won’t complete the project.

Stay positive

With a positive mindset things naturally go smoother and weigh less on your mind.

  • Take a deep breath and smile
    Sounds almost too simple? Yet, smiling releases endorphins that make you feel good! So even if you don’t feel like smiling, take a moment and just hold that smile; see your smiling right now! 😀
  • Don’t be anxious, relax
    Worry and anxiety can at times help spur us forward to complete things, but more often than not anxiousness raises our stress levels, deprives us of sleep and generally runs us in a circle. If you feel anxious consider the reasons why? Is there anything you can do about it right now? If not, stand still, put your hands on your hips and take a slow deep breath and hold it for 2 seconds, exhale slowly… Now grab a pen, a piece of paper and write out your worry list of things you need to do to address this anxiety. Take a second deep breath and work through your list one point at a time.
  • Surprise!
    Unexpected things are going to happen, try to stay balanced by accepting that such events will happen and you’ll be in a better state of mind to address them when they do.

Stay focused

“Help, I’m procrastinating!”, I’ve been there myself… sometimes you are thinking about so many different jobs you just start putting off the one you need to do right now and can’t focus. The key here is simple, prioritise. Simply pick up your work plan and establish the highest job priority. Once you know which job is the most important grab that job and do not let go until it’s completed.

Prioritising – Pay off versus time

There are many ways to prioritise your tasks; my method of choice is to weight each job by the time it takes to complete versus the amount of return the job would create upon completion. Once I’ve created this list I prioritise the greatest pay off jobs that take the shortest amount of time and work through each in turn.


It may feel like we’re going back to basics here but you need to be SMART, when you outline, review and update your goals ensure they are SMART.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Realistic

T – Timed

Regularly review your current jobs on the above points to ensure you are on target and not deviating from your end goal.

For example when it comes to measuring your budget if you find midway through your plan you are running over report the bad news to senior members immediately; it’s better to stop a project that is running over-budget than explaining why your department is at a huge loss in the next senior management meeting.

Top Tip:

  • Annotate!
    When things go good or bad annotate your plan accordingly detailing what the event was, the effect it had on the plan and how you resolved the issues. These annotations will prove invaluable when evaluating your plan at a later date and help build your future planning skills.

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Check back next week for part 3 ‘Reviewing and closing your plan

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