The Back Burner Trap: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Do you battle with “later,” “tomorrow,” or “someday?” Does your wish list only live in your head?  Know this, if you don’t schedule something to happen, it’s probably not going to happen.

Making a list of goals is a great start. But thinking and doing are two different things. Brainstorming is a great process but without any plan, it is futile.

When defining your goals, consider creating a vision board for more concrete results.  Remember those S.M.A.R.T. goals? (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time sensitive) This process is really effective, and it can help you build on your ideas in a more tangible way.  Being proactive in this step by step manner not only creates a place for your ideas to grow and expand, but makes them feel doable.

Breaking down actions into small pieces always helps to manage the work.  Keeping them just locked in your head is only stifling them.

If you’re thinking to yourself that you will eventually get around to doing it one day, what you really should be asking yourself is, “how important  is it?” Ideas with no “action plan” have a slim chance of making it to your top priority list.

Two years ago, at a NAPO conference workshop, I was inspired by the speaker to create a personal back burner action business plan for myself, and as suggested, save it to my desktop. It was an effective way to organize my annual goals and keep me accountable.  From time to time, I would glance at the folder often thought that maybe I had set the bar too high.  I was overwhelmed with all that I imposed on myself.  Were my grandiose ideas realistic?

I recently visited my 2012 goals, and reviewed what I had accomplished.  No surprises there.  What I had prioritized actually got done, and those goals that were just “hopefuls” not only never got done, I had forgotten about them. There were also other goals I now realize that I no longer care to pursue.

Things change.  Life changes, and so do our priorities. Time to re-evaluate and prioritize our goals. Create a new action plan for the next year.

Revisit your back burner ideas. Tickle the enticing ideas that are still simmering. Don’t assume that they are just pipe-dreams.  Pay attention.  There could be a small light-bulb idea buried there that has potential to propagate into something significant.

Are you able to re-activate something that’s been sitting on your back burner? Turn the heat up or turn it off.  I would love to hear from you, what’s cooking?