24 Oct 2023
It's currently September and the end of the year is drawing close. I am a fan of setting goals, however, my long-term goals often take a backseat to immediate tasks and distractions.
Last year, a friend introduced me to the book, The 12 Week Year, which challenges the conventional annual planning cycle and instead introduces the concept of 12-week cycles to help individuals and organisations accomplish more in less time.
Good for: Getting more done in less time by supercharging your productivity to achieve goals.
Best completed by: You
The system was created by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington, authors of the book The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months.
It is based on the premise that if you set and achieve just one big goal each week, you will achieve far more in a year than if you set and achieve 52 small goals.
The strategy is designed to help you focus on your most important goals, and take action on them immediately. It includes a goal-setting worksheet, weekly and monthly planning sheets, and a goal tracker.
Advantages of this strategy include:
Increased Focus: The shorter timeframe forces individuals to concentrate on what truly matters, eliminating distractions and busy work.
Sense of Urgency: A 12-week deadline creates a natural sense of urgency, motivating people to take immediate action.
Real-time Adaptation: Frequent assessment and adjustment ensure that you stay on track and make necessary changes as you progress.
Deadlines definitely motivate me and I work best when I am able to measure the progress of my work. This system can be used to track any type of goal, from personal goals like losing weight or quitting smoking, to professional goals like increasing sales or improving customer satisfaction.
Here are the key principles and questions.
Vision: Start by defining your long-term vision. What do you want to achieve in the next several years? Your 12-week goals should align with this broader vision.
Planning: Break down your annual goals into 12-week plans. What specific actions will you take in each 12-week period to make progress toward your vision?
Execution: Consistency and discipline are paramount. You must execute your weekly plan with precision, making daily progress toward your goals.
Accountability: Regularly assess your performance against your plan. Are you on track? If not, what adjustments can you make to get back on course?
Scorecard: Implement a scorecard system to objectively measure your progress. This tool helps you stay accountable and motivated.
Remember, trying to accomplish too many goals at once can be overwhelming and can lead to feelings of failure. When you have many goals that you want to achieve, it is important to choose which ones to prioritise.
Here are five things that I will do to put the principles into action:
Defining my vision: Personally, I've found that articulating a clear long-term vision is the first crucial step towards achieving my goals. It's like setting the destination on a GPS before embarking on a road trip. I will include both personal and professional aspirations. This vision will become my guiding star.
Set 12-week goals: I will break down my annual goals into specific, 12-week objectives. This shorter timeframe will help me to inject a sense of urgency, as I have experienced the power of focusing on goals daily, which increased my productivity and determination. The goals that I set will be clear and concise making them more manageable and less daunting.
Create an action plan: I usually map out my actions for the week on a Sunday, which helps me to break my goals into smaller, actionable tasks and activities. Each task that I choose is concrete, with clear deadlines and responsibilities. Having this plan not only keeps me organised but also prevents me from feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of my goals.
Implement a scorecard: Twice a week I track my progress and results to hold myself accountable. I've found that quantifying my progress helps me stay on course. Against each action, I write down how far I have fulfilled it e.g. 0%, 50%, 75% etc. This helps me to celebrate wins and address areas that need improvement. It's a powerful motivator to see those numbers move in the right direction.
Execute with Discipline: Committing to daily, focused action is perhaps the most challenging yet crucial step. I've learned that discipline is the bridge between my goals and their achievement. It's about consistently showing up and putting in the effort, even on days when motivation wanes. By adhering to my action plan and maintaining this discipline, I've witnessed the gradual transformation of my goals into reality.
In conclusion, The 12 Week Year can complement the way you approach goal-setting and productivity. By defining your vision, setting 12-week goals, creating an action plan, implementing a scorecard, executing with discipline, and regularly assessing and adjusting, you'll find yourself on a path to greater success and fulfilment.
Remember, it's not about working harder; it's about working smarter and staying focused on what truly matters.
Thank you for reading!
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