Prioritize Your Time - Principle #4

Never Miss Another Appointment

Do you ever feel like you’re juggling when it comes to time management? Over 68% of business leaders feel that their #1 challenge is prioritizing their time.

I know people that have actually postponed writing birthday cards week after week until 6 MONTHS after the actual birthday! The fact is, most of us can prioritize our time better.

One powerful and simple tool called “Pre-Week Planning” can help you prioritize your time quickly and effectively.

How “Pre-Week Planning” can help you:

I have two sons who are Air Force pilots. As I listen to their stories, I am amazed at the level of detail that goes into their mission planning.

Before each flight, they do “Pre-Flight Planning”–in which they determine their priorities and develop a plan accordingly.

A fighter pilot wouldn’t dare go into a mission without a plan. There are so many things to consider and account for: surface-to-air missiles, enemy aircraft, air refueling at the correct time and place, etc. etc.

They also generally have primary objectives (the absolute most important part of the mission) and secondary objectives (those things that would be nice to accomplish, in addition to the primary objective).

Just like a fighter pilot does pre-flight planning, we all benefit from “pre-week planning.”

This consists of determining what matters most each week in each of your roles (parent, spouse, manager, friend, worker, etc.) and specifying an actual time during the week when you’ll do it.

Pre-week planning is a powerful tool that can help you stay focused on what matters most and reduce the stress in your life.

3 Steps to Pre-Week Planning

#1: Select Your Roles
Roles are your key responsibilities and relationships (parent, spouse, employee, CEO, caretaker, athlete, etc.)

#2: Identify What Matters Most in Each Role for this Week
For example, an employee may decide these tasks matter most this week under their “employee” role:
i) Send quarterly report to teammates.
ii) Take training for new computer program.
iii) Clean my desk.

Under the role of spouse, you may put:
i) Buy flowers for him/her
ii) Go on a date to the movies
iii) Discuss financial goals together.

 

#3: Add Each Task to Your Calendar

Use the BYB Planner or download the Life Organizer app to help you with Pre-Week Planning.

All you need to do is determine a time when you will sit down this week to try Pre-week planning. Place each task directly into your weekly planner or calendar. With a set time and day, your tasks are much more likely to be accomplished.

Weekly Action

1. Click Here and use this graphic to help you do “Pre-Week Planning.”

2. Choose a time that works for you on the weekend and take between 10 – 30 minutes to do Pre-week planning™. It’s best to do this before your week starts, because once Monday rolls around, you’re in the thick of the fire. If you choose a specific time and stick to that time every week, you’ll be more likely to get your weekly planning done without it slipping through the cracks.

3. Read pages 61 – 83 in Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of High Successful Leaders for additional ideas and thoughts on how to prioritize your time and stay focused on what matters most.

A Powerful Way To Prioritize Time

Somebody once told me that if I wanted to know what matters most to me, I should just look at what fills my calendar. Sometimes, our calendars don’t reflect what we think should matter most and an very effective way to avoid this is to have a weekly plan.

An effective weekly plan should contain tasks from all components of life–such as work, family, friends, and community.

fathersonFor example, I once held a training where I went through this process with some key executives at a large company. I noticed one of the men wrote “Call my Son” in his calendar under the Wednesday 7:00 PM slot. I asked him why that was significant and he said, “Well, because I haven’t talked with my son in more than 7 years.”

Wow! He explained that he got into an argument with his son and never spoke to him again. The decision to connect with his son again was certainly a monumental event!

Six months later I followed up and discovered that he had, as planned, called his son and re-connected. They have since maintained frequent contact and have developed a strong and healthy relationship. There is truly power in taking time to plan each week and fill it with things that matter most.

 

3 steps to create an effective weekly plan:

 

A weekly plan can be created by doing “Pre-Week Planning.” It should be done before the week begins and consists of the following steps:

#1: Select Your Roles

Roles are your key responsibilities and relationships (parent, spouse, employee, CEO, caretaker, athlete, etc.)

#2: Identify What Matters Most in Each Role for this Week
For example, a student may decide these tasks matter most this week under their “Student” role:
i) Study for GMAT Exam.
ii) Take GMAT Exam.
iii) Finish Accounting Essay.

#3: Add Each Task to Your Calendar
Place each task directly into your weekly planner or calendar. With a set time and day, your tasks are much more likely to be accomplished.

These simple steps lead to increased personal growth, improved relationships, and more effective leaders.

Weekly Action

1. Do Pre-Week Planning. Choose a time before the beginning of the week and set that time as your planning time – usually 30 minutes is sufficient.

2. Click Here and use this graphic to help you do Pre-Week Planning.

3. Read pages 61 – 83 in Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of High Successful Leaders for additional ideas and thoughts on how to prioritize your time and stay focused on what matters most.

Good luck this week as you prioritize your time by using Roles and Goals to weekly plan!

Tips To Better Manage Time

What are your top priorities this week? What matters most to you in life right now?

Answering these questions on a frequent basis can help you determine between what IS important and what IS NOT important. A focus on what is important, while deferring what is not, can help you be at your best!

Consider, for example the firefighter that focuses so much on putting out a fire that he or she neglects his or her own safety; or, the leader that spends time fixing trivial problems while ignoring serious threats to the organization; or, lastly, this sign in which the small text is what really matters:

caution

These examples demonstrate misaligned priorities. As you strive to focus on what is important, it’s easier to do what matters most!

What Are Your “Roles” in Life?

Often, determining what matters most can be difficult because your priorities may differ across the various aspects of your life. For example, what matters most at home is probably different from what matters most at work. Thus, I suggest dividing your life into “roles.”

Identifying your various roles allows you to determine priorities for each role. For example, your roles can include Employee, Spouse, Parent, Physical, Personal, Church, etc.

Now that your roles are established, identify the priorities under each role. Each role can contain one or multiple priorities.

Identifying priorities, or ‘what matters most,’ is a critical step to weekly planning. Take a few seconds to determine what matters most for the week. Here is an example of my son’s weekly priorities:planner

Weekly Action

1. Define and list your key roles in life.

2. Reflect on what matters most for each role. In your planner, or on a paper, ask yourself what matters most in regards to your family, friends, work, church, and/or community.

3. E-mail us and tell us specifically how you’re applying this principle this week. Respondents will be entered into a drawing to win a 30 minute FREE coaching session at the end of the quarter.

My desire is that we can all fill our days with those things that matter most.

Golf Anyone?

Which would you choose: Play golf on a beautiful day or write an important 20 page report for work?

Well, it depends on what really matters most. Some people would probably choose golf and some the paper. Every day presents options with varying degrees of importance. Finding the power to do what matters most can accelerate success and bring greater personal satisfaction.

golf

Doing what matters most requires self-discipline because what needs to be done is not always what we want to do. I love the saying, “The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs, one step at a time.”

Here are several ways to develop stronger self-discipline so that you can use “what matters most” as the criteria for making decisions in your life:

1. Schedule your Time. At the beginning of each week, identify what items matter most that week. Use your weekly planner to schedule those items first.

2. Remember “The Why.” Remember why you are doing what you are doing. A friend of mine runs every morning at 6:00am to maintain good health. When he is tempted to stay in bed, he remembers that “The Why” is because heart disease runs in his family and he wants to have a long future with his kids.

3. Maintain a self-discipline log book. Record the start and end times of important tasks. The log book can be a valuable tool to help you get a better picture of your activities in order to prioritize and identify what is important and not important on how you spend your time.

 

What are your Roles?

What matters most at work differs from what matters most at home. Therefore, as you do weekly planning, identify what matters most in each role of your life—personal, work, parent, church, etc.

You can have multiple important items under each role. Doing this will help eliminate trivial tasks from your schedule and free up hours of your time each week.

Weekly Action

1. Identify your roles and write them down for your weekly planning. Your roles can include father/mother, friend, caretaker, athlete, employee, CEO, church member, self, etc.

2. Hold a weekly planning session and begin by identifying what goals matter most that week for each role in your life. Then schedule times to accomplish those goals. It is during this pre-week planning process that the battles of life are won. This is how we can avoid crisis and have a schedule that produces outstanding results.

3. E-mail us and tell us specifically how you’re applying this principle this week. Respondents will be entered into a drawing to win a 30 minute FREE coaching session at the end of the quarter.

I wish you a fabulous and successful week.