Life Planning: The Simple Technique That Works (it’s not annual planning)
Imagine that you have your whole year planned. You look at your calendar and you know exactly what needs to be done on that day.
And as you do that thing, you know in your heart that this little action will bring you closer to your yearly goals.
And once you achieve your yearly goals, they will bring you closer to your Life Goals.
O wow, such majestic simplicity.
But for so long, it just didn’t work for me.
The number of times that I have tried to implement a structure in my life, it is just plain embarrassing.
The only motivation I had was the fact that I was trying. God wants us to try, so try I must. The Result is important, yes, but it is not in my direct control. I can only play my part and keep trying.
The Failed Scholar of Self
I went through all the courses and productivity classes that I could find. But nothing worked. The side effect was that I had almost scholarly knowledge of personal development methods.
I remember reading the annual planning method as suggested by the inimitable Chris Guillebeau. It all made sense.
Chris mentioned all the right things, he even avoided going into too much details on tactics and focused on broad strategies and themes.
I immediately implemented his advice.
It worked for like a week or two. Maybe. Then I stopped.
I diagnosed myself with Analysis Paralysis. Analysis paralysis is an elegant diseases. The fact that you diagnose yourself with it, that alone is a symptom of it: this means you just over analyzed, that you thought about it where you should have done something about it.
But bottom line was: I knew too much and I did absolutely nothing.
Why Nothing Works on a Yearly Basis
It took me quite some time to figure out the rookie mistake I was making.
A lot of us tend to make new year resolutions. By February of that same year, we actually can’t recall what they were much less tick them off as done. Why is that?
The reason annual planning fails is because you only think about it once a year.
One of the most important lessons for me was that yearly plans only work when you review them at least once a week.
The Magic of Focus
Imagine you know this guy, and he tells you he wants to do something. You meet this guy everyday, and every time you meet him, you see that he is talking about that thing he wants to do. What do you think, will he be able to do that thing?
If you think about something on a daily basis, will you be able to do that thing?
It will actually be difficult NOT to do that thing if you talk and/or think about it every day. Focus is a powerful force.
If your focus frequency is high, you are almost certain to do something about it.
In the grand scheme of things, what matter is only the fact that you did something about it. You took action.
But many things we can’t do daily. So what’s the next best frequency you can think of?
Once A Week
Religions place a premium on “once a week” type of days. The human race – somehow or the other – have realized that even our work is not exempt from a weekly cycle.
If you can’t do something daily, you do it at least once a week.
Yearly planning gives you the goals. They are of course very important. They give you the plan. But a plan needs a schedule, a system.
Weekly reviews is the system that ensures you’re focused. It allows for flexibility because you’re not forcing yourself to do it daily. And it allows a sizable amount of focus because stretched over a year, you do it at least 54 times.
Goals Vs Systems
Without a system, not even the best of goals will get done; yet without a goal, if you follow a system, you will get results. Making sense?
James Clear has this wonderful research-based article on how systems are as important – and sometimes more important – than setting enticing goals. I highly suggest you read it at least once.
The Weekly Review, once done right, is that system that helps you achieve any goal you want.
For me, sticking to a weekly review is one of the best decisions I’ve made. By God’s Grace.
One Possible Method
I have a set of goals that I feel I should achieve in the next year. That’s my yearly plan. I use (and recommend) Chris’s Annual Planning method.
All my focus though is the Weekly Review.
I think of this as a refresh. I call it the Friday Refresh and it is a set ritual that I must perform.
“If you can’t, you must. If you must, you can” ~ Tony Robbins
I have incorporated a few new reminders and now the weekly review has become my main focus of the week. It literally now feels like a refresh.
How You Can Do the Weekly Refresh
I’ve gone ahead and written a small guide on how to do the weekly refresh. It details all the things (a total of five) that must be done.
It’s a small, actionable guide, 22 pages long.
You can download the guide, for free, at our Membership portal.
Click here to access the complete guide for free.
I do believe you will find it useful because it is one of the best things we can do to move closer to our dreams and goals.
As always, I wish you nothing but the best.