How to launch a 5 x 5 Career Action Plan this weekend

How to launch a 5 x 5 Career Action Plan this weekend

It’s almost the Easter Long Weekend!

Yes it’s a time (and an excuse) to eat chocolate for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.

For many of us it’s also a chance to spend some quality time with family and friends, and possibly even get away for a night or two.

But for most of it, it’s also a break from our usual activities. A shift from the standard routine and therefore a perfect opportunity to reset, renew or establish an action plan for reaching career goals.

If you can find one to two hours this weekend (and I know that’s asking a lot), here’s my plan for resetting your career this long weekend.

It’s called the ‘5 X 5 Action Plan’ and aims to get you focused on five clear career goals over the next five months.

Tools needed

* Timer (or phone on airplane mode to prevent interruptions)
* Notepad and pen
* Diary, or access to something you can use for scheduling
* Time! Preferably 90 minutes

Schedule in the time, pick your environment

This is time away from your family or friends, and preferably outside of the home. Take yourself out for a coffee, or even to a park bench somewhere to sit down for a while. Make it simple, but a setting you’ll remember.

Set your timer for 35 minutes 

The timer’s important, because I’m about to suggest you start writing answers to three very important questions. They may seem easy, but they’re going to get tough once you actually push yourself to start. Set the timer and force yourself to use it in order to work quickly, without dwelling on certain factors. I suggest 35 minutes.

Answer these 3 questions

Question One. By Easter 2019, what FIVE achievements would make me feel successful in my career? 
These achievements could be extreme — such as changing jobs or industry, starting a new course or launching your own business. But they could also be life or family related — such as booking a holiday, finding time (and consistently using it) for regular exercise or a new hobby.
It helps to keep these things specific, and with clear numbers and targets attached  — such as achieving a certain bonus, a certain number of new clients, delivering on a specific revenue target, getting a promotion to a set role, building a certain level of social media profile.

Question Two: What FIVE things are holding me back from achieving any, some or all of the above? 
Before starting on this question, draw a line down the centre of the page. List your obstacles on the left hand side, leaving space to respond to them (as we will do in question three) on the right.
These obstacles might be broad (say a lack of time, money or confidence) but it pays to push yourself to make them specific. For example: Spell out what your lack of time looks like by considering how your week’s currently carved up; Determine just how much money you’d need; Write down what kind of confidence you’re lacking.

Question three. What steps can I take to get more control over these obstacles, and potentially reduce them or even eliminate them? 
This is where things get very personal. You may not be able to remove these obstacles, but there should be a way to at least take a little more control over them. Go through them one by one being very honest with yourself regarding what you could and could not change.

Create Descriptors

Timer’s done! Now return to question one, and for each goal come up with one to two words that easily describe them and make them memorable for you.
If there are numbers attached to these goals, use them. The key here is to make these short descriptors memorable, things that you can quickly refer to in your mind every day.

Create your 5 X 5 Action Plan

This is the fun bit (although you may still want to set a 35 minute timer), where you put in motion the pieces you need to reach your goals. For every month over the next five months, consider one action for each of your five key goals that you can take. That means you’ll be taking five actions, each month, and getting one step closer to each of your five goals.

By the end of the five months, you will have taken a combined 25 actions on your way to whatever version of success you’re looking to achieve by Easter 2019. Meanwhile, with your five descriptors, these goals are also things you should be able to keep in mind every day. They become part of the purpose that gets you up in the morning.

Schedule your check in

Set a time and date in five months time to review you plan.
This is your opportunity to celebrate wins determine what got in the way, and establish the next 5 X 5 Action Plan.

Tell someone

Finally, before the end of the weekend, tell at least one person at least one of your key career goals. Yes, talk about your ambitions! Let other people know what your goals are. Saying them aloud not only cements the plan in your mind, it also opens the potential to somebody else helping you with it. Tell a partner, a friend, a child. Tell your mum. Or reach out and share it with someone on social media. This is the first step to making it happen.

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