Turn Activity into Effectiveness (Part 2)
This is the second part in the series on how to achieve great results, by doing less of the unimportant things, so that you can free up time to focus on the important tasks that deliver the best results. You will learn that this strategy is most certainly not about activity, it aims to help you to focus all your energy on developing a productive new habit set that will promote effectiveness and efficiency. In the first article, it was clear that we must learn the art of saying no to the good, so that we have capacity to say yes to the great. We also looked at ways of exploring your past schedule to identify huge time wasters and unnecessary tasks and then projecting this awareness forward into our future schedules to ensure that we do not repeat the errors of the past. Now that you have learnt to focus your energy on only doing things that will help you to achieve the few priorities that will deliver on your one to three major goals and you no longer allow yourself to waste energy on doing unnecessary tasks each day, you have created time slots in your day to carry out your daily activities as described in the first article. The next step in this simple yet extremely effective process is to:
Plan Your Day the Night Before
You have a three source documents containing individual actions that you will take each day, you must create a plan every night to ensure that you carry out these crucial daily activities. When you commit to plan your day the night before, you firstly get to start your day running; you know exactly what you must do, before your day even starts. This helps you to get a head start on everyone else that must still sit and waste time in the morning trying to sort out their day. It also programs your reticular activation System or internal Google Search Engine, to start searching for solutions to challenges you may get to face the next day. When you leave your daily planning for the next morning, it is amazing, so much just seems to come up that you never ever get to plan at all. Your day just seems to unfold and circumstances control you and your energies. Leaving your planning for the morning allows the rest of the world to make all your choices, instead of you. You get to spend your day re-acting instead of creating.
Review your day every night – Before you start the 10 minute daily planning session each evening, just before you decide that you are “Done for the Day”, it is good practice to review your day and see what lessons you learnt and to take time to reward yourself for all your successes. Review all the actions you took or failed to take and assess how you did. These are the focused actions that you are taking every day that are aligned with the projects that you are attempting to achieve. Each individual project will in turn move you closer and closer to achieving one of the three goals you have set for yourself. These are the three goals that, when you achieve them will deliver the best year you could imagine.
The process so far:
1) Learn to say no to the good so that you have time for the great
2) Delegate, delete or decline things that are not aligned with the three major goals you have chosen
3) Choose three major goals to focus your attention on for the year
4) Break your year back into 4, 90 day segments. Focus on only one goal during each 90 day period
5) Break this goal back into projects or bite size chunks that you can easily accomplish
6) Break each project back into individual action lists.
7) Focus on a maximum of three projects at a time.
8) Create “Meetings with your future” – set time aside in your schedule to carry out crucial daily activities.
9) Transfer individual actions onto your daily planning schedule.
10) Review your day – learn all the lessons and celebrate your victories.
11) Planning is done the night before.
I have seen remarkable results in my own life and in the lives of everyone that has adopted this simple system into their lives. It takes a little bit of willpower and discipline to introduce these new routines into your life. The benefits that will flow to you once you have turned these into your new habit set are worth the investment in time and effort. The long term returns will far outweigh the price paid in your time.