- Include deadlines in your plans
Leaders who fail to include a deadline in their action plans will find that without specific target dates to achieve the goals, there will be little progress. Plans without completion targets are just vision without action. Also, without a completion date the action plan becomes something that you believe can be worked on when you get around to it because you have not imposed a deadline for completion.
- Review the progress of your plan and complete important items first
After putting completion dates in your action plans, you must continually monitor the plan’s progress. Leaders revisit, review and re-rank their priorities every day. Setting priorities will help ensure that you will not miss important dates. Steven Covey in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” suggests classifying tasks into four categories. He uses the following grid:
Due Soon Not Due Soon
Important 1. Do these Tasks First 2. Do these Tasks Second
Not Important 3. Do these Tasks Next 4. Complete these Tasks Last
Notice that the first tasks you concentrate on are those that are most important. Even though an important task is not due soon you should still complete it before you work on something that is not important even if there is a looming deadline. This will ensure that the important items will always have your attention.
- Make your deadlines visible
Whatever method you use to track important dates make sure they are somewhere that you constantly see them. There are a great number of computer programs to prioritize and track tasks and dates and display them when your computer comes on. If technology is your thing, use it to make sure you meet deadlines. You can also create a handwritten, prioritized list of tasks with completion dates and put it somewhere you will see it.
You don’t want to end up as a leader who has missed an important deadline and become extinct. Get organized, get prioritized and most of important of all; GET GOING!