The #1 Skill of Skills

Pre-week planning is the third skill and habit taught in Do What Matters Most. It is the “#1 skill of skills.”

Why is pre-week planning the #1 skill of skills?

Well …

Want to be in the top 1% of your field? Pre-week plan.

Want to meaningfully improve your relationships? Pre-week plan.

Want to take control of your health & well-being? Pre-week plan.

Want to realize your vision and achieve your goals? Pre-week plan.

Want to do ALL of those at the same time? You guessed it … pre-week plan 🙂

And, you’ll find in this post the 4 steps to apply this skill in your life (plus 3 tips to avoid pitfalls).

What the Numbers Say

Pre-week planning brings your personal vision and goals into your daily calendar, lets you schedule your priorities first, and do what matters most. Studies show this skill increases a person’s productivity by at least 30 – 50 percent within 4 weeks and leads to 500-1,000 additional key priorities accomplished over a year! Interestingly, 100% of study participants report less stress while doing more. Double win 🙂

Pre-Week Planning in 4 Simple Steps

Step 1 – Review Your Vision and Goals

Review your personal vision and “roles and goals.” These are your compass and orient you to do what matters most and move boulders, not pebbles. Here are recaps on how to start your personal vision and set roles & goals.

Step 2 – Write in Your Key Roles

In your BYB Planner or Digital Planner, write your 5-7 key life roles at the top (see the below example). If you don’t have a planner, here’s a temporary pre-week planning template so you can start pre-week planning right now. These roles should match the roles used in your vision and goals.

Step 3 – Set Key Action Items for Each Role

Identify key priorities and action items that you can do this week that align with your goals and vision (see the below example). Write them into the pre-week planning matrix at the top of your calendar.

Step 4 – Schedule Your Priorities

Schedule those priorities into your schedule. This way you proactively schedule your priorities first (rather than prioritize your schedule) and intentionally do what matters most. The result. Within four weeks, those who do this accomplish 30-50% more, which equates to 500-1,000 additional tasks over a year.

Three Tips From Veterans of Pre-Week Planning

  1. Don’t worry about being perfect. Not every one completes all their weekly priorities. Whether you complete 40% or 80% of your scheduled priorities, your effort and focus are the win! 40% means you likely completed 8-20 key action items! That’s still living intentionally and winning.
  2. Make pre-week planning a habit. If you’re new to pre-week planning, while simple, it may take a few weeks of focus to practice this new skill and make it a habit. Set reminders on your phone. Subscribe to BYB’s reminder emails or texts. Plan with those you are close too (couples that plan together, stay together 😉 And, use your planner daily. With daily use, pre-week planning will become second nature — like putting on a seatbelt.
  3. Keep it simple. Don’t overthink it. Look at your vision for each role, your goal(s) for each role, and then have 1-5 action items (generally not more) that you can schedule into your calendars. It’s a small action that compounds into life-changing results.

“Pre-week planning is far more than just penciling in your important to-do items throughout the week. This focused planning activity is the key to proactively scheduling your priorities rather than prioritizing your schedule. It’s the process that will help a person lead a life by design rather than a life by default.” – Rob Shallenberger

Want to see other articles and posts by Becoming Your Best? Go here.

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Leadership Development: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders

Do What Matters Most: The #1 Time-Management and Productivity Solution

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