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To gain traction and execute better on your goals, start with a 12-week action plan instead of a longer term, annual plan. Rather than wait an entire year to track progress and measure results, you do a formal review every 12 weeks. And in the 13th week, you make a plan for the next 12 weeks. As part of your routine, you score the week, plan the week, and participate in weekly accountability meetings (WAM). Stay accountable by owning your thinking, choices and actions. Keep your commitments by uncovering hidden intentions, internal contradictions and big assumptions that undermine your desired behavior.
If you’re resisting what you need to accomplish, you might have given yourself too much time to execute your plans. New Year’s Resolutions and annual goals rarely get you to where you need to be and create the life you want. Move out of annual thinking and adopt the 12 Week Year. With this planning technique, a year is no longer 12 months; it's 12 weeks. 1 year = 12 weeks, 1 month = 1 week, and 1 week = 1 day. You are no longer focusing on distant annual goals broken into 4 periods or quarters.
Stress is not always bad. It comes with having big goals and pushing beyond your comfort zone. Going off to college, starting a new job, traveling to a foreign country, or launching a business trigger stress. And they also bring feelings of excitement, confidence and achievement. It’s the chronic, persistent, negative stress that you need to watch out for.
When you’re making a decision on tough problems, you are always missing key information. Every decision is biased because it’s based on limited beliefs, assumptions and data points. You can never be sure of the outcome. Being uncertain can be a key to success because it opens you up to new ideas, insights and information to create the best possible future. Thinking in bets improves your decision-making.
If you want to have a happier, more satisfying life, it’s better to value time over money. It doesn’t matter whether you’re financially secure or financially struggling. Even when you control for income level, the more time affluence you have, the happier you are. Time affluence is feeling that you have enough time to pursue meaningful activities and enjoy leisure. You can exercise, move, relax, travel, volunteer, or engage in social relationships more.
We often believe we need credentials to do useful or valuable work. Whether it’s having a college degree, a training certificate, or a professional license, credentials help us seem less like an imposter. But we’re all imposters on some level when we work on hard problems with no easy answers. Do, ship and repeat if you want to make things better with creative work. You don’t always need credentials to start.
It’s common to believe that any problem can be solved with hard, heads-down work. While diligence and determination are elements of success, you could also seek to make essential tasks easier to do.
A hobby is an activity you enjoy doing with little or no focus on the long game or the end results. You do it for fun or leisure in your free time. When you already have a full schedule with many obligations and demands to meet, why would you add a hobby to it? If a hobby is something you can live without, why even bother having one? There are many reasons to find and keep a hobby you love.
While intensity ebbs and flows, consistency is steadier and more sustainable. Even when you feel unmotivated, you can keep taking daily actions to get to where you need to be. You stack up good habits and routines and take small steps to start the project or finish it. Small, smart actions - done consistently over time - lead to big improvements. This is the power of the Compound Effect.
In the competitive, industrial or post-industrial world, productivity is often defined by a simple formula: Output / Input. (Output is ideal output x efficiency). Or Value of Work / Hours Worked. You have metrics like revenue per employee, revenue per hour, and units produced per hour. From this angle, productivity seems more fitting for machines. But there’s a more positive aspect that is not easily measured. Productivity means being engaged in doing the things you really want to do and doing them really well. It means being empowered to design a well-lived life, which sparks big memories out of tiny moments.
The space between the small tasks and the big goals is the sweet spot. It’s where you savor the moment (the now), while you say no to things that don’t matter and yes to the things that do. To get off the Busyness Bandwagon, stay out of Infinity Pools, and make time for what matters, you choose your highlight for the day. Then apply laser focus, energize and reflect.
We all write on some level. We write research papers, articles, blog posts, essays, books, memos, reports and the daily, basic stuff. Students, academic researchers, lawyers and content creators, for example, write a lot. Even if you don’t consider writing a part of your profession or vocation, your ability to take notes on what you learn will carry you forward.
Email processing is a repeated behavior and repetitive action. Email is a habit-forming tool. It's a key method for communication, collaboration and information sharing. You need to know how to use it to make essential progress without getting sidetracked by other people’s agendas.
The evening is your P.M. bookend to your day. Your evening routine is your “me time” at night that helps you to unwind, quiet the nervous system and prepare for sleep. How you end your day is essential to recharging from it.
Your morning is your A.M. bookend to your day. A morning routine can help you get the clarity and structure you need every day, wherever you are. How you start your day is key to taking charge of it.
An effective to-do list helps you take action on the right priorities at the right time. But if yours leaves you feeling overwhelmed and uninspired, you need to change how you make it. How do you make a to-do list so it brings a sense of calm and keeps you focused on what matters? How do you make it work for you instead of against you?
When you’re working on a complex problem, how do you innovate and fix it? Is it better to generate creative insights or to use logical reasoning? You need both for creative problem solving. You spark ideas and explore multiple solutions with Divergent Thinking. You analyze ideas and choose the best solution with Convergent Thinking.
To learn new concepts and skills, you need to engage both the focused mode and diffused mode of thinking. Learning is a meta skill that allows you to turn information into intelligence and knowledge into expertise. If you know how to learn, you can broaden your passions and not just follow existing ones.
Do you feel like rest is a waste of time? Is it just a reward for the hard work you do? Do you measure your success by how busy you are? To have a productive and well-lived life, you need to layer high-cognitive, focused work with recovery and reflection. Deliberate rest is just as important as deep work.
With a weekly plan, you focus on your top priorities over the course of 7 days rather than 1 day. The tasks can be work-related like client projects or business development and marketing activities. Or they can be personal like prioritizing family, movement, sleep, outdoor recreation and creative hobbies. A weekly planning session leads to more clarity, control, focus and flow.
If you feel overwhelmed and off course, weekly planning helps you to take control and get back on track. The lack of a plan or the plan itself could be your problem. Cultivate purposeful work and intentional living with a review of your past week and a preview of your upcoming week. Consolidate by planning your ideal week, designate by prioritizing your tasks with the weekly review, and activate by beating interruptions and distractions. Streamline your to-do list by connecting to your heart, mind, and body and the cosmos.
How do you make time for important projects or tasks that need attention now? How do you stop working on a project once it meets the required standard, rather than waste time perfecting it? Time Blocking and Time Boxing are two planning techniques that you can use separately, but complement each other. Time Blocking is making time for a project. It hones your focus to meet the highest quality standards. Time Boxing is limiting the amount of time you spend on a project. It pushes you to complete a project that meets acceptable standards.
When you think of the word "procrastination," what comes to mind? Is it putting things off? Waiting until tomorrow? Choosing priorities, exercising patience, and planning involve delay. These are smart skills to have. What’s so bad about procrastinating? Well, it’s not just any delay. It’s really an irrational behavior. It’s when you postpone an important task even though you know you’ll be worse off for doing so. So how do you stop procrastinating and just start?
How do you make the impossible possible? How do you tackle goals that seem impossible? When you get into the flow state, it’s much easier to learn, grow, create, turn your ideas into action, and bring your dreams into reality.
If you feel overwhelmed or you’re constantly rescheduling tasks, you are probably overestimating what you can do each day. Practice Essentialism: do less, but better, so you will have the highest-quality results, with less stress and less friction. And figure out the One Thing you must do now and do that. With incremental progress daily and weekly, you can create big results with small and consistent actions. Laser-like focus on your core work add up to make a massive difference in all areas of your life.
Building good habits is essential to make a change and sustain a healthy and productive life. Sometimes we also need to break bad habits. They tend to serve you in the moment; the immediate outcome feels good. But over the long run, bad habits hurt you or benefit you very little.
Whenever we want to make a change, we tend to think in terms of goals and outcomes, hopes and dreams. It’s good to know the results we want. But how do we get there? It starts with building good habits that add up over time to create success as you define it.
Hosted by Dyan Williams - a productivity & purpose coach and solo lawyer - this show offers simple techniques and tools to focus on your top priorities and design a well-lived life. You will learn how to use the Incrementalist approach to turn your ideas into action, maximize focus, and make time for what truly matters. Website: www.dyanwilliams.com
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