Last month I had the opportunity to speak at a networking event for consultants on the subject of planning and achieving your goals. It made me appreciate how closely linked these two things are.
“If you have a vision but no plan, then you have a pipe dream” – Brian P Moran, The 12 Week Year
COMPLETE A WHEEL OF LIFE
When I start my planning, I always being with completing a Wheel of Life. I start with two blank wheels and complete one for my business and one for my personal life. This gives me a quick pictorial view of how balanced or out of balance things are.
START WITH THE END IN MIND
To coin the phrase from Stephen Covey, I start with the end in mind. What lights you up, gets you excited? My way of doing this is to write a letter to myself, one year ahead. I visualise where I want to be in my business and personal life, writing in the past tense as if it’s already happened. This helps my brain to act on the vision, just by thinking about it. After I’ve written the letter and read it through, I draw out one word or short mantra which sums up the letter. For me in 2019 my word is Abundance. My mantra is – I am consistently growing my business, investing in my family and taking time to re-charge. This needs to hold your attention and be meaningful enough to get you through the hard times and keep you on track.
BREAK VISION DOWN IN TO MILESTONES AND ACTIONS
Keeping your letter to yourself in your mind I then look at my two Wheels of Life and annotate what I want each segment to consist of by the end of the year. These are your milestones. So, for example, in the Health and Wellness section I might want to have competed in two 10km runs. Then break each milestone down in to manageable actions. To get to the point of running a 10km race, my actions could be to start a couch to 10km programme, run three times per week and get the races in my diary. Take your vision and commit to working towards it consistently, every single day.
PLAN IN 90 DAY BLOCKS
Brian P Moran in his book, The 12 Week Year, noticed that employees often got more done in the month before their annual appraisal than they had in the previous 11 months. He recommends planning in 12 week blocks. Start by writing down what’s already in the diary, routine commitments, days off and then list all the actions you want to take over the next 12 weeks. Then break down those in to weekly actions.
COMMIT TO 3 TOP PRIORITIES EACH WEEK
It can feel overwhelming, but the best method to combat this is to commit to three top priorities each week. These are non-negotiables. If possible, use an accountability buddy or a Facebook group to share you top three priorities. This increases your chances of getting them done.
USE THE POMODORO METHOD TO STAY ON TASK
Using the Pomodoro method increases your focus and productivity. It involves setting a timer for 25 minutes. Use that time to work on a specific task. When the timer goes off, stop what you’re doing and take a 5 minute break. After 5 minutes, set the timer again for 25 minutes and continue your work on the same or a different task. Do not let yourself get interrupted.
NOTE DOWN YOUR SUCCESSES
I find that recording my successes helps me to see what I’ve achieved and gives me a chance to remember and celebrate the wins. Work out how you are going to reward yourself when things go well and be proud of what you have achieved.