Today, February 20, is the 51st day of the calendar year. That means you’re starting the second half of your first 100 days, if you started counting on January 1.
And if you started counting on January 1, but then stopped and started and stopped and started, well, it’s still the 51st day of the calendar year. And whether you’ve been making slow and steady pace toward your goals or whether Day 1 is today, you’re in luck. Because today is the day we look at the practical tools that can help you manage yourself every day, week, and month, whether it’s day one or day whatever.
But first a quick recap:
This series of posts and worksheets is about how to make a fresh start — on a project, in a job, in a relationship, or just in general.
So far the work has been to:
- Investigate the past
- Imagine the future possibilities
- Identify and prioritize focus areas for the future (5 years out)
- Identify and prioritize more specific near term (12 month) goals
- Incubate those goals, wrapping them up in context and connection, with three different perspectives on each of the five big goals you set for the year ahead.
And to repeat, for emphasis: Jumping into the goals part before doing all of that preliminary work is an appetizing idea that will leave you empty in the long run. Grounding future goals in the context of past experience, infusing goals with the energy of dreams and desires, and giving near-term goals the benefit of belonging to something larger will help you reach those near-term goals and will also connect that work with who you are as a human.
Having a plan that’s built from your own DNA, as it were, will enable you to keep moving, growing, adapting, and changing when the world around you presents unexpected challenges.
Now that you’ve mapped your goals, rooted in that firm ground of context, you’re ready to put them into daily, weekly, and monthly action.
These are the tools I use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to move all of this work along. I’ve taken bits and pieces from other planning sheets and workbooks and created templates that work for me.
And they may not work for you. But one way to discover what *does* work for you is to try something and then decide what you do and don’t want to keep from it.
There are three sheets in the workbook, and my suggestion is to print just one of each, see how it works, and then decide whether or not to print and use more as time marches on.
The month at a glance is a high-level to-do list. Similar to other work in this series, the sheet encourages you to take a different view of the month ahead, focusing on what future you will want to have accomplished. The mental shift there is that you come at it thinking of having accomplished whatever it is you want to do, not from the point of starting. It’s like an assumptive close in a sales call, you see yourself having already done whatever it is that you’re going to do.
The weekly focus sheet is a bigger picture view of your week ahead. On it you’ll identify a focus for each day of the week, giving the whole week a bit of structure. Then you’ll think about the top priorities and the relationships that are most important for this particular week, as well as the progress you’re making (or want to make) toward specific goals. The weekly sheet is not a to-do list.
And then, finally, there’s the daily sheet. You’ll use it to identify the one most important thing that must happen/get done for this particular day, and write that at the top of the sheet. Then list other things that need to happen in work and in life outside of work. Yes, it’s just a to-do list, one that supports the weekly and monthly view.
The way it’s short-sighted to jump straight to goals without first considering context and vision, it’s also short-sighted to jump into a daily to-do list without giving yourself the benefit of a wider perspective. It’s easy to get lost in the daily and suddenly find yourself way off course. Instead, start with monthly then weekly planning. Then make it a daily practice to look at those sheets before making the daily sheet.
Yes, every day. Every day. Except for the days when you fall off the wagon and don’t get your list made. It’s OK. Just start back when you’re ready to get back on track,.
It works. I promise it does.
Final tips and tools coming next week.