Action Programs – A Study

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The importance of arranging actions in the beginning of career is essential in becoming successful in the long run. However, these prior arranged actions, also called to-do list become heavy with data when a professional does multi-tasking, for example, the job of a manager. In most cases, however, to-do lists are not planned. In this article, we will discuss about time management tools like Action Programs and how they help in personal effectiveness.


When to-do lists become heavy, it becomes difficult to use them. This is the place where Action Programs, are used.

  • Action programs include long-term, medium and short-term objectives.
  • They assist in planning time, so that the professional does not forget about her commitments.
  • They help in giving importance to particular work, so that the professional does not waste her time on unimportant tasks.
  • Action programs assist people in delegating tasks. As a result, she can save time and also increase her efficaciousness.
  • As such, they help in prioritizing activities of life.

How to Implement Action Program

# Collection

  • First of all, she should make a list of all things that needs to be solved.
  • She should then write down everything that she thinks is incomplete and requires action from the professional to get executed. It helps in deciding if the tasks are professional or personal, urgent or unimportant and small or big.
  • To a certain extent, this gathering of information occurs automatically. Mail gets deposited in mailbox; messages get stored in voice mail and e-mail requests get stored in inbox.
  • There are, however, other things that are present in the mind of the professional. Such things include items that are written on bits of paper and items that lie at the bottom of the file. All such small actions should be gathered in one place.
  • The personal objectives of the professional should also be interpolated in this list.

# Pruning

  • The list made in the ‘collection’ phase is processed after looking at each item properly.
  • She should decide if she should take action on the items.
  • Many things that a professional comes across are not always relevant to her. If she finds any such items, she should delete those things from the list.

# Arranging and Prioritizing

This phase comes in three steps.

Step 1

The actions and project inventory should be reviewed. Separate actions that form part of bigger projects are brought together.

For instance, at home she may want to improve her bedroom and repaint her living room. These activities go under the file of home renovation. At workplace, she may want to have a new cabinet. These activities will go under the office renovation file.

She slowly realizes that sorting the list helps her in getting more organized. The sorted out assignments help in reaching both personal and organizational objectives.

Step 2

She should review the assignments and prioritize them, as per the level of importance they enjoy. She can mark them as 1, 2, and 3 and so on, depending on their importance. Personal projects are also important and need to be prioritized.

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Step 3

She should incorporate the projects into the Action Program by implementing the approach mentioned below. The Action Program is divided into three distinct parts.

  • Next Action List - The small next actions that a professional takes to make her assignments move ahead is the next action list
  • Delegated Action List - This list shows actions and assignments that she has delegated to others.
  • Project Catalogue - This displays all the projects that a professional engages in and the small separate tasks that lead to the projects.
    • The good thing is that, by this phase, she already creates the biggest part of the Action Program, the Project Catalogue. The Project Catalogue has the prioritized assignments and actions that she has just completed.
    • The Project Catalogue is generally referred to while weekly review procedure goes on.
    • The Delegated Actions List is created after this. This is done by working through the Project Catalog and realizing the tasks that have been delegated. She should then record these under the person’s name to whom the work has been delegated. She should also record the checkpoints on which they have agreed.
    • Generally, in the document of Action Program, the Project Catalog sits behind the Delegated Actions List. This is because the professional needs to refer to Delegated Actions List quite often.
    • At last, she should make her Next Action List. This is done by working through the assignments to which she has given the maximum priority. The projects that she wants to move ahead as fast as possible are prioritized over others.
    • The Next Action List is brought to the front page of the Action Program because it will be referred to several times in a day.

# Using the Action Program

Action Programs are generally long. But, she does not have to go through the whole program on a daily basis.

  • In most cases, she deals with the top pages where the Next Actions list and Delegated Actions list are present. Some actions are day specific and some are time specific. Depending on the working style, she can either maintain these on the first page of the Action Program or mark them in the calendar.
  • The top pages are only a different form, of the old to-do list. The particular short actions are mentioned here and the main assignments associated to the actions are deposited in the Project Catalog.
  • She should update the Action Program after reviewing it on a regular basis. For instance, every seven days she should keep aside sometime in her schedule for reviewing the Action Program. She should either archive or remove items that have already been achieved.
  • As the projects progress, she can also shift items from the Project Catalog to the exterior pages and add new activities that she comes across.

To Sum Up

Action Programs are helpful in arranging activities, so that projects can be run smoothly.

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