You Need These Elements To Be Productive
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Episode Show Notes: You Need These Elements To Be Productive
You want a better weekly plan?
That's why you're here listening to a show called This Week's Plan, right.
What do you include in your weekly plan?
What goes into your weekly plan?
What are the elements that you need to be productive this upcoming week?
There are a few key core elements that goes into a powerful weekly plan and I look forward to sharing that with you in today's episode. The one thing that I want to share with you is that you can get this all done in under an hour so that it doesn't exhaust you. The process of planning out your week shouldn't exhaust you.
Welcome to This Week's Plan, where we help you transform possibility into reality. We help you accomplish the right things each week so you can enjoy a more balanced life, both personally and professionally. Join in as we share real world battle tested strategies and techniques to help you center your focus, accelerate your results and improve your momentum to avoid being overwhelmed. This isn't just about making it through the week, it's about fitting in all the right things. Here's the host of This Week's Plan Shane Fielder.
Thank you for joining us in today's episode. I want to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Samurai Innovation. The eight no fail planning methods course. This is a course that's normally for sale, but it's being offered to you today with a complimentary pass.
Yes, Samurai Innovation is going to purchase the course for you. All you need to do is go to no fail plans. Dotcom. You will get access to this awesome course. There is one of the eight no fail plans that is going to work for you and can be an uplifter and can be the next thing that up levels your productivity and your efficiency and you'll have more fun in the process. Go check that out and we'll dive into today's episode.
Today's episode we're talking about how do we build a weekly plan.
What are the elements to an effective and productive weekly plan?
We really want to focus on these elements, and I want to ensure that while it may seem like there's a lot of the elements, this can actually be put together in a skinny process of 15, 20 minutes, or you can lengthen it out to 45 to 90 minutes.
It all depends on you, depends on your preferences, depends on your time availability. Are you a methodical person and you really like the finer details or are you a high level person? You just want some big rocks in the bucket and you really want to know where you're going to go. So my recommendation as we get into it today is to grab a pen and paper and write down these elements, because I guarantee you one or two of them may be a little foggy or they might not be existent in your current plan, you may never have done them.
Second is to pick a time goal.
So start with a thirty minute 45 or 60 or 90 minute time goal that you're going to work on putting in your calendar. And that's going to be the time you're going to follow this process. You're going to get great results in building out a strong, impenetrable weekly plan that will work for you.
What are the elements to be productive, or the ingredients that go into a successful weekly plan?
Let's kick it off with number one, which is to celebrate.
I've been saying for years, “celebrate, don't denigrate.”
There's too much denigration. There's too much putting yourself down. There's too much complaining about other people. There's so much of that toxicity that is in our society and has been for a long time. It's not a new thing, but it has been in our society for a long time. The denigration of you and your efforts really isn't going to get you any further.
What is the value of beating yourself up for being human?
We all have a high level of ambition. You're here right now with me at This Week's Plan because you are a person of quality. You are a person that has high levels of ambition and you want to go places and you want to do things. OK, now that we've cleared that out of the way, let's get into the human experience of what happens when your ambition is greater than your capability.
What happens when your ambition is greater than the time available?
What happens when your ambition is interrupted by constraints, distractions and diversions?
What happens when your ambition gets eroded by just low energy discouragement, defeat, feeling delayed on things?
These are all parts of the emotional and mental and physical and spiritual human existence that we all work and live through. I'm not going to allow you to create an excuse for intentional slacking off. That's not part of This Week's Plan or Samurai Innovation or any of the people that I work with.
I don't think that's you. It's probably for some people that you know in your world, but it's not you. We want to make sure we are celebrating momentum. We're celebrating progress.
I've said before that incremental progress done imperfectly over time always yields monumental results. The two key components are incremental progress over time, consistency over time, and doing it imperfectly. All of those things count now when you don't give yourself enough credit for the great things that you've accomplished, you don't you don't really see the great things.
You don't see the momentum that's been generated and everything starts small to become big. The key to this is what things did you do in the last week that you can celebrate?
Did you start a new project?
Did you get to the next milestone of a project?
Did you pick up the next piece and move the project forward in some incremental fashion?
Did you collaborate with a few people that need to be on the project and you're collaborating?
Did you just identify three things that you had to get done last week and you actually got those three things done?
Might have been gritty and ugly. Maybe it wasn't phenomenal. It doesn't matter. We want to celebrate all the touch points of progress that you had a hand in last week.
Celebration is often the number one missing thing that I go to work on with my clients, because a lot of people like you and I are so forward focused. We get something done and we don't ever take the time to stop and say, "Wow, that was really great."
Actually, that's going to open a door. That's really great. I got a sales proposal off. That's really great. I created a template, a standard operating procedure that's going to streamline my business and make it more productive and efficient. These are all assets that you're building. These are all great things that you can celebrate that you did and you always celebrate the input, never celebrate the output. Let me say that again.
Always celebrate the inputs or the things that you can control. Celebrate the things you can put into the equation.
You can celebrate the output.
But I think it's more powerful when you start celebrating the inputs because guess what happens?
You're focusing on the things that you can control.
You're focusing on the things that you can move the needle forward on. And then what happens, happens. I mean, there's a hundred different reasons why things happen for the positive. There's a hundred different reasons why things can happen or go sideways for the negative.
The next element for your weekly review, is the review.
We want to look back at the last week.
Now, I'm going to encourage you to start two ways.
Start number one at a high level. Start off just looking at the overall week from a total week perspective, what were the results that you accomplished?
What were specific outcomes?
How did you feel about the week?
Rate it on a 10 scale, so one would be abysmal, terrible, horrible. You wish you stayed in bed all week. Ten is you're on top of the world and you should be on every news channel and get interviewed because you've nailed the secrets to success and you're just on fire.
In between that one to ten, how was your last week?
How do you feel about that?
This should be a fairly easy thing that you can just click your fingers and say, oh, it was a seven or a six or last week was horrible at a three. I got some bad news and things didn't go my way. Great.
Now we go for the plus one, which is if you had a let's say you had a five.
What would it have taken to get you to a six?
What would have been those two or three things that you could have done differently, better or more of or just done at all to get you to that six or get to the eight or the nine?
That right there, my friend, is information and its data. With that information and data, we can measure it. We can think about it, analyze it, and we can create a plan to include it in your go forward plan.
The second part that you need to think about is breaking down each day, do the review of each day.
And what I want you to be doing is looking in your calendar and what your calendar should be showing you is where did you perform?
Did you have two or three hours of time blocked into your calendar for deep work?
You actually spent the time and the outcome was you realized three hours wasn't enough. I'm only halfway through. Now you know that you maybe need another three or four hours. Great.
You can plan that for the next week. You also can realize. that two to three hours was ample. But I realized that I missed the mark on something. I need an extra half an hour. I need to collaborate with somebody or I need to delegate it to somebody to move something forward. Or maybe you realize that you didn't put enough of something in there.
Maybe you didn't put enough relaxation and recreation time in there. If you were burning the candle at both ends a few days last week because there is a client driven deadline, you had something to do, an emergency happened. I know that all too well. I live the same human experience as you.
Go through day by day and ask what happened?
Did somebody phone you and you got derailed?
Did you turn on the news channel and two hours later you got sucked into what was happening of the news of the day?
It's all possible, but it's all learning.
That takes us to the third category, which is the learning phase.
Where were those pluses and minuses for last week?
Where did you experience a plus?
Where did you have an aha moment?
Were you on top of the mountain?
Or were you in the valley?
What tripped you up?
What made you stumble?
How did you fall?
Where did you get a skinned knee?
What experience took longer than you wanted?
What cost more time and energy?
How did somebody fail you?
How did somebody succeed for you.?
Who's the winners on your team?
Who's the people that are struggling right now?
These are all learning questions that we want to ask. At the end of the day, where did you succeed and where did you fall short?
Write that down point or bullet point form.
It doesn't have to be a long document. Just write that down.
The next point is the decision phase.
We always want to decide on the right things. Typically, at this point, people say, yeah, so it's all about prioritization and tell me what the right way to prioritize is. Shane, do you use the one, two, three method, the ABC method, or use the categorization method? I just stop people. Just get quiet for a minute and ask yourself.
At the end of this upcoming week, what are five right things that you want to accomplish?
What are five things that if you accomplish them, your world would be right, work would be great, home would be awesome, and you would feel very balanced?
You want to feel very much in control and in harmony with your environment. Things would be right. Let's start there. What are those right things? Because This Week's Plan is all about fitting in the right things.
Now, we can give priority to the right things.
How much time and energy does those right things require?
Who has to be involved in helping you make those right things happen?
Where do those right things need to happen?
Is it online digitally from the comfort of your laptop?
Does it have to be you being at an office somewhere?
Does it have to be you jumping in an airplane and travelling to a client location?
How and where do all those things have to happen?
You can't do everything, but you can always do the right things. We always have enough time for the right things. By default, a lot of people will fit in things into their calendars. When we look back in this reviewing, learning and decision phase, we can admit to watching twelve hours of TV. Was it productive TV?
Did it help move you forward?
The reality is somebody will say that they needed to escape because they were really stressed out or tired.
I didn't have the mental energy. OK, well those are all the learning things that we bring in from the learning phase and say, well, how do we create the right space in place for you to be productive?
How do we make sure you have a positive, energetic, satisfied week going forward?
It's a matter of choices and boundaries.
It's really what it comes down to. Decide today what choices you want to make for this next week and then decide what are the boundaries that you need to install to protect those things.
You've just got rid of all the ABC lists and Microsoft task list and trying to just bring it into this focus for now and you already will know what are those right things for you to accomplish next week?
The next phase is writing it down, recording an action plan and setting some goals.
If you want more on this topic, go back to episode seven of This Week's Plan podcast, where I talk about where your planning needs to happen. It's really great.
We talk about digital, we talk about analog, we talk about clocks and calendars.
We talk about a few other great things. That really will be a great episode for you to go back and revisit. If you need a little bit more detail and data on that. But it really comes down to writing it down. And I was meeting with a client the other day and he showed me his plan for the week. And it's another planning methodology we talk about here at Samurai Innovation called a square plan.
And he said, I got my square plan. It's all great. I said, that's awesome.
And then I held up my mind map and he said, that's great, too.
Some people need a very linear, hierarchy, or rules based system for the weekly plan. Some people are creative people. And if you're creative, you're very artistic. I say go for a go for a mind map, do something creative. Back of the napkin, back of the envelope. Put it on your hand, put it on a Post-it, note it just write it down, put it in your calendar and sequential blocks, blocks of time, things like that.
All great. Just needs to be recorded somewhere that you can come back and focus on it.
Clocks and calendars is the last element you need to be productive.
You live your life with clocks and calendars. We're all given twenty four hours in a day. We all have seven days a week. Twenty four hours goes to a clock, seven days a week goes on a calendar. It's very simple.
That's the constraints. Now you get to go back to the decision phase we just talked about and choose.
How are you going to spend that 24 hours?
What is your optimal ideal day?
Would you like to get six or eight hours of sleep?
I just recently bought a unique alarm clock that a client recommended to me. It's one of those clocks that has a wake up light. It's a wake up light alarm clock.
Basically, what it does is that it starts bringing light into the room 20 or 40 or 60 minutes before your alarm goes off and it mimics creating a sunrise. You have a feeling of a natural amount of light coming into your room in a natural progression. And then that there's a lot of science behind the fact that that helps wake you up. Where I live here in Calgary, Canada, it's dark season right now.
We have a lot of darkness. Currently, we have about 15 hours a day roughly of dark time.
But here's what I learned.
What's interesting is it has a going to sleep function that mimics a sunset. It plays campfire nature sounds. The light is like an orange amber level of a campfire. The clock claims it puts you to sleep with a 10 minute timer.
And I've been shocked in the last couple of weeks of using it, how many times I'm not asleep within ten minutes. I realized, yes, it actually takes 10 to 20 minutes to go to sleep. I realize, if I want six or seven hours of quality sleep, I actually have to add on that going to sleep phase. I also have to add on the waking up phase and guess what?
It's made my going to sleep and my getting up time more productive because I'm more realistic of what I need. I'm getting a better quality of sleep and now I have more energy in the middle of the day when it is really daylight hours. I'm actually doing work tasks and meeting with people and creating great things like This Week's Plan podcast.
There's all sorts of ways that a clock and a calendar can really help us. And there's all sorts of tools out there.
What you need is a place and a space that your plan can consistently live at.
I grew up in the Franklin Covey system and it was a great system and there's a lot of amazing things to that system. If that's your system, great.
There's a hundred different paper planners out there. Go get one of those. If you're in the digital calendar, whether using Outlook or Gmail or a hundred other things, just dedicate yourself to that and live by that.
I make sure that when I'm going through my day and I'm looking and saying it's one o'clock on the clock, but what's on the calendar at one o'clock. Aha. The research piece or I have a meeting.
I can tell you three times this last week, if I didn't do that, I would have been tripped up.
Three times this last week. I had some interruptions, we had some personal family things that were going on and I had to come back to that.
What time is it?
What's happening on the calendar?
What time is it?
What's happening on the calendar?
That saved me three times in this last week. I was then able to move some stuff around. I was able to keep moving momentum forward and creating greater levels of progress to what I need to accomplish. And I want the same thing for you.
The Moment of truth.
In Aikido, we have something called the moment of truth. That's when the sensei calls two students on the mat. The sensei calls out a specific technique and somebody has to strike a certain way and somebody has to execute the defensive technique, otherwise somebody gets hit.
The moment of truth is to see if student who's defending can execute the technique correctly as per the sensei's request.
Here's your moment of truth.
Which element do you need next to be even more productive?
Let's start with one.
Which one element missing from your current repertoire, process or planning method?
It could be celebration. That could be a game changer for you. Decision time deciding what are those right things? Could be the shift, could be the next level up for you.
Maybe just concretely writing it down, putting it into your calendar. Maybe that's the elevator button that takes you from the second floor to the fifth floor, like right away.
I want you to identify that one element. Don't try and say, Shane, all I've been doing is element three and five and I'll do all the rest. You're going to explode your mind.
What one element, one or two steps earlier in the cycle are you not doing? Pick that one to add in. Then, just add one new one every week. Try it out over the next four weeks. I want you to send me an email to tell me your results because you are going to be positively surprised by what happens and transforms for you.
Do you want a bonus element to help you be more productive?
This is one that can happen on the weekly level and this also can happen on the daily level.
The bonus step is going to inbox zero.
Getting yourself to inbox zero.
Now, I strive to go to inbox zero multiple times a week, but there are some weeks where things just happen. And I'm sitting there with one hundred and fifty. I got down to about one hundred twelve emails yesterday, got up, had another eighty, filter them all out, got rid of a bunch of junk. But on the daily basis I'm always striving towards inbox zero. But what I will do is probably every two weeks. Right, either before or after my weekly planning I'll spend two or three hours and I'll just whittle that inbox right down to zero.
you find out so much stuff that's junk. Stuff that's research or development. You realize there's a few cracks that I missed. You catch a deadline due. You'll be glad that you went through and got that now because instead of rushing and it is ruining your day two weeks from now, you can plan for that. You can be proactive and put that in your schedule. You won't be reactionary anymore.
I really want to encourage you to do that.
Here is a link to a process that I developed years back called Kicking the Inbox Habit.
It will be a great resource for you.
Write down the critical steps, all the elements that you have picked, the one that you need to add into your plan this week and then go do it, try it out, commit to trying it out.
What's the worst that can happen?
You're going to be 10, 20 or 30 percent more productive this week.
What's the best that could happen?
You may have found the one key to unlocking your overwhelm. You can find the one key to breaking through frustration, diversions and distractions. You may have found your one key that allows you to have more control and power in many situations than you gave yourself credit for. That's what I want for you.
Make sure you send us your questions.
We want you to be part of the show because that's why we're here. This isn't just me talking into the ether. This is me supporting you so that you and your business can become more productive. That's what I've been doing for over ten years with people, and that's what I will continue to do. Go to This Week's Plan Dot com. There's a nice black box says be part of the show, put in your name, email address, fill out your question and I look forward to answering your question.
Today's question comes from Noreen.
She's a local Calgarian. She's a really great friend of mine. We love her to pieces and she sent in a really great question.
Her question is, "After you've defined your weekly plan, what are your recommended next steps? I try and break down my bigger goals into daily tasks for the week and then block out my calendar accordingly. But then what else has to happen?"
I hope this whole episode is the answer to your question.
If you have any other questions based on things that I may not have answered today, then send me an email and for everybody else go back and listen to today, because here's the thing. Weekly planning shouldn't be this thing with a hundred different rules. And you have to check off all these boxes. The goal of doing weekly planning is to make you more productive. It is to help you take control by taking control of your time in your schedule.
Take control of the clock and the calendar.
We've talked in the last few weeks about things like the automatic yes, the automatic no. How do you deal with other people's requests? If you missed that, go back and look for that in This Week's Plan.
There's a lot of different things that happen as we go forward. We're going to be looking at how do we integrate your weekly plan with people and things that are happening and events that take place.
Thank you Noreen for that great question. I hope I've already solved that and answered that for you. If not, just let me know.
Remember, this season is all about season one foundational basic elements and basic core techniques that you need to create a weekly plan based on the proven processes that I use with my clients.
Next episode, we're going to be covering who should be part of your weekly plan.
It's great that you create a weekly plan, but now who has to be a part of that? And how do we integrate the people in your life into your weekly plan?
I know that that is going to be moving into the area of delegation and leadership. It's going to be highly productive and highly profitable for you. I'll look forward to seeing you next week. But make sure you forge ahead this week with the courage to add at least one of those elements into your weekly plan.
I want you to have an optimal weekly plan that works for you. Send me an email, Shane@SamuraiInnovation.com. I will personally respond. Try me out and I look forward to responding to you. I'm excited to be on this journey with you.