In order to maintain forward progress through the year, you must keep your goals in front of you each week—and carve out a block of time for a weekly review and preview: wrapping up one week and intentionally planning the next.
- Celebrate the week you’ve completed. On a whiteboard (best because it’s a big visual) or spreadsheet, note your progress this past week toward each of your goals/metrics, the “lead measures” or actions that were within your control. Make sure you are measuring the main indicators of what success in your job/life means to you. Then, step back from your “scoreboard” and smile at the highlight reel because you moved the ball forward on so many things.
- Determine what needs more attention next week. The scoreboard also reveals where you have some gaps. YOu cannot allow atrophy to set in on any of your priorities for more than one week. Turn these revealed gaps into an action plan by opening your calendar and dedicating some Focused Blocks Of Time (FBOTs) to activities that will make next week even more successful than this week. It’s time to redouble your efforts where you are slipping back.
- Survey the week ahead. While your calendar is open with a weekly view, notice where your priorities lie for each day. This is the time to see if any day is “too loaded” as to be feasible. Take time to do some quick shifting of tasks to other days to balance your schedule. If you have double-booked meetings or have put them too close together, you have time now to contact the people to shift times. Assure that you have determined your hard stop each day, too, to prioritize work-life balance–a good reason to put your after-work commitments on your calendar as well.
- Look even further ahead. If you have deadlines or presentations on the horizon, they need some focus this next week, too, even just calendaring to start it to get a chunk of the momentum going. This step will prevent “hair on fire” preparation that is similar to cramming for a test in college.
- Clean your desk. Take those loose post-it notes and stick those random tasks into small time-blocks in your calendar next week, rather than just on a to-do list (that can be easily ignored). This step blasts away at clutter and its negative effects on your psyche. Move your paperwork along as well by TRAFing it quickly: Toss if you really aren’t going to do anything about it; Refer it to another employee who might benefit from it or to whom you need to delegate it; Act on it right now if it takes 3 minutes or less; File it by putting paper in its “home.” Filing includes putting the paper in a Work In Progress (WIP) folder–the place where papers go that are linked to a designated time slot in your future calendar.
We overestimate what we can get done in a day, but often underestimate what we can get done in a week. With this process of weekly review/preview, you’ll consistently Grow Forward. Contact Paul D. Casey at www.paulcasey.org or on LinkedIn to get more leadership and self-leadership tips.