It Takes Time: Action Planning for Change   


As we conclude our spring Creating Your Future class in Brunswick with a strong cohort of career changers working on their action plans, we spent a considerable amount of time in this class discussing how to overcome obstacles.


Obstacles ranged from “learn the plants of Zone 5B” (from a budding horticulturalist) to “find resources to fund my education” (voiced by many who need further training to pursue a new field or move up the ladder from minimum-wage jobs).


But the biggest obstacle emerged from our discussion as the elephant in the living room: It takes time to make change. 


When you need a new job right now, it’s hard to think long-term about your career path and future opportunities. When you can’t pay your bills today, it’s hard to think about having a healthy retirement or reaching your financial goals.


We live in a time in which we expect instant results from a click of a button, but big life changes (and even small improvements) don’t happen overnight.


How can you make room for making change as you move towards your goals and dreams? 


1) Make an action plan. Break that big goal (getting a new job, saving for financial goals, going back to school, launching your business) into manageable steps. Think small to become big.


2) Schedule time to take baby steps. Look at your action plan and assign amounts of time you think it will take you to do each thing. Then actually schedule slots of time in your calendar to complete each task. (Hint: If one action takes more than 2 hours to complete, you should break it down further.)


3) When the scheduled time comes, turn off, tune out, and focus on your task. Research tells us that multitasking makes us 50% less productive. Here are some tips to stay focused to help you concentrate on your action plans.


4) Enjoy the process. Even master procrastinators hate feeling the weight of the things they are putting off, but most of us find the actual process of taking action to be pleasant once we are “in the zone.” Find your joy in the journey, not just the destination.


Two quotes for today to launch your action planning:
  • To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time. Leonard Bernstein
  • For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. Fr. Alfred D. Souza


~The NVME MidCoast Team