High achieving work weeks and balanced lives don’t just happen. To have a balanced life, you need to plan for it.
My system is always evolving, but this one below far outweighs the multiple to-do lists I used to have scribbled in various places. It also ensures I’m purposefully focusing on the most important and impactful things…those things that drive me to feel like the best version of myself...my WHOLE self.
The following is pretty detailed - I'm happy to help you personally (and verbally!) through a process that would work for you.
It's essentially just 4x4 and 2x2 and I consider it my Nir Eyal and Tony Robbins mashup. 😁
My routine is a weekly planning process. So I do this every Monday, during my Monday morning meeting (on my calendar!) with myself. (I also have a meeting with myself each Friday to reflect & celebrate).🎉
1) I start with my Compass. It's simply 4 boxes where I have written where I want to be headed this year in Relationships, Health, Career, and For Fun. I also periodically pull out my Valuation (that UofM document that has your goals on it) - although I've found it most simple to just keep 1 document with it all on there - my Compass works for me that way.
2) From my Compass, I extrapolate 4 goals for the week to focus on. I take a fresh clean cling sheet/poster paper and actually write them out. I include some passion or reason for doing them in the description....and it usually changes just a little each week depending on how I'm feeling:) You can see some of my examples in the picture (let me know what you need translated as my handwriting and spelling is stereotypical engineer 🤔). This list will include 2 "work" goals and 2 "personal" goals.
3) I then ask myself "what are the 2 most important / impactful things I can do this week to achieve this goal"? Ideally, you'd say "What is the 1 most important/impactful thing I can do"...but I haven't achieved that level of focus yet:)
A couple things I've found to be true.
✔️Where focus goes, energy flows - yup - true.
✔️When you actually re-write your goals each week, it really makes you re-committ to them - even if they are pretty much like last weeks. And also makes you really think - is this indeed what my focus needs to be THIS week. There are some weeks, due to special trainings or a family abnormality, that my focus DOES need to change.
✔️I do these steps intentionally BEFORE looking at my calendar. Because when you look at your calendar, you are essentially reacting. You are not setting direction - you are letting the deadlines (many which you probably didn't have a say in) totally drive your work. These are considered - but not until step #4.
4) NOW, look at your calendar for the next 2 weeks (sometimes I'll take a quick look into 4 weeks to catch anything really big). I then add those critical items that have to get done (under the proper goal) due to deadlines and upcoming meetings.
Caveat: I do always have Mind Clutter Reduction as a goal (usually my 4th one). I use it as a catch all for those things that just bug me, keep hitting my brain on repeat, or just have to get done (for example Mandatory Education was on that list this week as well as getting my 3 year old a hair cut appt).
5) Depending on the item, I'll place time on my calendar, or a "free" appt on top of a day with a couple items in it, especially if there are deadlines that week I need to meet. The others, I just look at each day or time I have some time and get them done! I've tried the strict time-boxing and it just doesn't seem to work for me...this does. Do what works for you:)
Watch out for:
❌If some items keep coming up and you can't seem to fit them under a goal....I'd recommend taking a hard look at those. Do you actually need to be doing them? Is there some way you can get them off your plate? Because they are not aligning to your current areas of focus.
❌If you get through all the things on your list and still don’t feel accomplished and fulfilled - you either have the wrong things on the list or you are tying your worth to getting those things done (probably both)
I'd be happy to coach you through this process if you want help - it has made a HUGE difference in how I ensure high quality work deliverables AND a high quality balanced life. ❤️