April 28

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Planning goals and deadlines are key to success

By Ralph Varcoe

April 28, 2020

productivity hacks

1.2   Plan, Goals & Deadlines

Productivity hack no.2 from '60 Ways to Hurray! by Ralph Varcoe.


In this productivity hack we'll look at the importance of plans, goals and deadlines.


Now you’re in the habit of writing it all down you can start to keep your plans, goals and deadlines in your journal.

It doesn’t matter whether you keep your notes and plans electronically or manually. What matters is that you keep them.

If you have an idea about what you want to achieve but you don’t write it down what is likely to happen? You’ll forget it. It will fade to becoming a nice to do but it won’t stay front of mind. Even if you do remember it, you won’t necessarily stick to it because you can kind of adapt it as you go and won’t notice because you never set the map’s coordinates. The inevitable scope creep will mean you end up in Scarborough rather than Blackpool.

You need to write your goals down. Make them concrete. Make them a real thing. Commit yourself to paper and remind yourself what you’re aiming for.

Then you need to write down the process steps that will get you to your goal. These are the actionable steps that move you towards the ultimate goal.

When I announced to a very surprised family that I was going to run the London Marathon I could have just written that big hairy goal down and dreamed of achieving it. But since their surprise was due to the fact I could barely run a bath, I had to define process steps along the way.

I had to buy the right shoes, establish a training plan, stick to the plan, enter some shorter races in preparation, change my routine, change my diet, plan for recovery times, and so on. All of these process steps were actionable little goals along the path to getting the medal.

Lastly, every goal needs a deadline attached. When are you planning to do it? In the case of the Marathon it was easy…..it’s on a specific date in April. I just had to work backwards and fill in the process steps with dates to enable me to get there uninjured and physically fit enough to participate without needing medical attention.

We’ll look at why adding deadlines is a golden tip later. But for now, write your goals down, plan your process steps and give each one a deadline.

This will be the map which you’ll refer to over and over again.

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Ralph Varcoe

About the author

For over 20 years, Ralph has run sales and marketing teams across large enterprises and smaller start-ups, at companies such as Orange, Tata Communications, Virgin Media, Spirit Ai and others. He brings a wealth of experience in personal and professional development with a laser focus on enabling people to achieve more than they thought possible. He's a published author and musician with a passion for creating - be that change, the right solution, exciting campaigns, the right environment for customers to succeed, or podcasts, videos and written content.

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