One page personal plan: A simple way to stay focused on your long-term goals

Defining your long-term vision and goals is not easy; so having made the effort to set a direction for your life, how do you ensure you stay on track?

Because, let’s be honest; it’s easy to get distracted – shiny, new ideas and opportunities appear all the time and setbacks occur that can make us just want to give up there and then. Life can change very quickly and it doesn’t take long for a carefully crafted vision and accompanying goals to be forgotten.

But a simple way to overcome this is to create a one page personal plan.

One page personal plan

I’ve always liked the plan-on-a-page approach. This is a one-page document that anyone can quickly read to understand what you want to achieve and the key things that will need to be done to reach that outcome.

Essentially it is a very adaptable communications tool that can be used for many things, such as strategy planning, project delivery or even running a meeting.

It can also be a highly effective personal development tool (as a one page personal plan), allowing you to solidify your commitment to your vision and goals as you write them down; plus printed-out copies can be stuck to your wall / fridge / onto your desk – anywhere where you’ll see them repeatedly.

Lay-out

The lay-out for your one page personal plan is simple and consists of the following sections:

  • Vision statement
  • Goal 1 (e.g. family)
    • Objectives and key activities
  • Goal 2 (e.g. health and wellbeing)
    • Objectives and key activities
  • Goal 3 (e.g. professional or financial)
    • Objectives and key activities

The best way to complete the plan is to use concise paragraphs and bullet points to summarise your intentions.

You may well have more than three goals, but I advise you limit yourself to a maximum of three; simply because the more goals you are working towards, the more you need to spread your limited time and energy, making it harder to focus.

Going visual

Words can be very effective, but images are even more powerful – so I love the concept of condensing the contents of a one page plan into something visual to complement it.

The following image provides an example of what this could look like:

One page personal plan

Creating your own visual summary is very straightforward and can be done on a range of apps, including PowerPoint, Keynote, Draw.io and Sketch.io.

Different styles will work for different people; for instance you could paste images at the centre that represent your ten-year vision or list key descriptive words; goals could have a short description or be referenced in plan, along with objectives.

Whatever style you choose, the real beauty of this approach, is that it helps you keep your focus tight. There is limited space on the page, so you’ll struggle to make more than a small handful of goals and objectives fit, providing a nice natural constraint.

Next steps

  • Invest some decent thinking time to formulate your long-term vision and goals.
  • Capture your vision and goals in a one page personal plan.
  • Condense your one page personal plan into a visual that you can save as the wallpaper on your laptop and phone, as a constant reminder of your focus.

Good luck 🙂