Can you relate to any of these people and how they feel?
• “I was just promoted to a new position at work, but I feel like I can’t keep up with all the demands on my time. I’m trying to be a great mom, wife, and manager, but it’s hard to juggle all my responsibilities and feel like I’m doing well, let alone great. Sometimes, it feels like I’m barely staying above water.”
• “I just turned 45, and while I used to love what I was doing, that’s not the case anymore. I feel this dread inside each Sunday night because I know I’m going back to work in the morning, and I’ve lost my passion. I’m not going to go through life like this for the next 15 years; something needs to change.”
• “I know there are things that will help my physical and mental health, but it’s so hard to make the time to do them. Even though I know many of the things that need to be done, I just haven’t done them. I want to, but I need something to help me take my good intentions and turn them into action.”
If you have felt like the people in these examples, you’re not alone!
In our research of 1,260 people from more than 108 different global organizations, 68 percent of them felt like their number one challenge was how to prioritize their time. Yet, at the same time, 80 percent did not have a time-management process more sophisticated than sticky notes or to-do lists to schedule their priorities and do what matters most.
So, what is the solution?
Do What Matters Most
Our new book, Do What Matters Most, brings together three simple yet powerful habits in a way that hasn’t been done before. These three habits will help people to take control of their schedule, prioritize their time, and increase productivity by at least 30 percent.
Implementing these habits translates into increased life balance, improved mental and physical health, less stress, better relationships, and a laser-like focus on your priorities. Isn’t this what we all want?
It’s amazing what happens when someone applies these habits, regardless of their starting point. For example, someone who recently read the book and tried applying the principles shared, “After applying the habits for 6 weeks, I lost more than 20 pounds, came off 3 medications, started doing things with my kids I rarely did before, and got to know my employees in a way I never had.”
There are few things in the world that you can guarantee will make a difference. But in this case, we can guarantee that nearly every area of your life will improve when you apply the Do What Matters Most habits.
More Powerful Than New Year’s Resolutions
Going into the New Year is when people naturally gravitate toward thinking about their priorities and what matters most. Yet, 85 percent of New Year’s resolutions are broken within the first two weeks of the year. So, we invite you to toss out the traditional New Year’s resolutions and apply three habits that will keep you focused on what matters most the entire year (and for the rest of your life).
The three Do What Matters Most habits are:
• Habit #1: Develop a Written Personal Vision
• Habit #2: Roles and Goals®
• Habit #3: Pre-Week Planning®
How many times have you heard people talk about terms such as vision, goals, or weekly planning? Yet, as much as they are talked about, they are rarely being done—especially in a way that sets people up for success. In fact, only 1 percent of people have a written personal vision, written personal and professional goals, and do some form of pre-week planning. These three habits create a chemistry of excellence and empower someone to lead a life by design rather than live a life by default.
What’s exciting about these habits is that anyone can start doing them regardless of age, gender, or background. Most people have thought about what matters most and have the ideas. Now it’s about taking those ideas, writing them down, and making them a reality! Here is an overview of each habit covered in greater depth within the book.
Habit #1: Develop a Written Personal Vision ( by role)
Your personal vision becomes your internal compass. It’s what drives your goals and pre-week planning toward what matters most. Consider the 5 to 7 roles in your life that matter most to you and then develop a vision for each one (e.g., parent, spouse, manager, friend, etc.). Ask yourself what the very best version of you in that role looks like and then use words such as “I am” to describe it. Your personal vision doesn’t have to change the world —it just has to change your world. Once finished, your written personal vision will become the seed of your legacy.
If you’re like me, then you like to see examples. My vision in the role of father is:
I am an example in thought and deed of what a true gentleman looks like. I am the type of person I want my daughters to marry. I am present with my children, and we constantly develop great memories together. I help them see their potential and how they can make a difference in the world. I am vulnerable, and I empathize with them.
Imagine how powerful it would be to have a vision for each of your roles! So, what is your vision as a parent, spouse or partner, and friend (to name a few of your potential roles)?
Habit #2: Set Roles and Goals® for the Year
Our research has revealed that only 10 percent of people have written personal and professional goals. Goals are one of those things that are talked about often but rarely accomplished.
Just like your vision, we invite you to consider your different roles and identify 1 to 4 goals that matter most to you in each role. Think of it this way: how would you measure success in the coming year in each of your roles? Your answer to that question becomes the foundation for your ambitions. Like anything else, this is a skill set, and people need to learn how to word their goals in a way that sets them up for success. For example, never use the words more or better, and avoid using daily goals (pre-week planning takes care of that). Instead, your goals should be the specific milestones toward making your vision a reality.
For example, I previously shared my vision in the role of father. A couple of goals for 2022 that would support that vision would be: Finish each kid’s vision board by February 20. Average at least two daddy-daughter dates per month.
These are the specific goals or milestones toward doing what matters most and making the vision a reality.
Habit #3: Do Pre-Week Planning®
Time is our most precious resource, and we at Becoming Your Best Global Leadership consider pre-week planning the most important habit a person can develop! Pre-week planning is the process that will empower people to schedule their priorities rather than prioritize their schedule. It’s where the rubber meets the road at the weekly and daily level. Pre-week planning will make your vision and goals a reality because it’s ultimately what you do that matters.
Pre-week planning takes between 20 and 40 minutes during the weekend to schedule your priorities. You can review your vision and goals, list your roles, set action items for each role, and schedule a time for each action item. It seems so simple, yet it is one of the most life-changing habits a person can develop. You make time to lead a life by design.
A person who does pre-week planning accomplishes an average of 20 to 30 more important items during the week (with less stress) than someone who doesn’t. Over a month, that equates to an additional 80 to 120 activities. In a year, that equates to an additional 900 to 1,200 items that are important to you!
On paper, those are numbers. Yet, every one of those numbers represents a meaningful activity you’ve accomplished in your life. It could represent exercise, a gesture of kindness to your spouse or friends, an important activity related to your job, reading, meditation, or investing quality time with a child.
When people do pre-week planning, they will start doing things that previously slipped through the cracks or just didn’t ever happen. This habit becomes exponentially more powerful when combined with your personal vision and goals.
What Can You Do Today?
It feels incredible to have a vision for each of your roles, to have specific goals and milestones for the coming year in each role that are aligned with your vision, and to maintain the habit of pre-week planning every week (asking yourself what you can do in each role this week).
In the beginning, we shared some comments from people going through various challenges. Now, read some of the comments from people who made the time to develop their vision, set their roles and goals, and have been consistent with pre-week planning:
• “Our marriage was hanging by a thread. We followed the Do What Matters Most instructions, we each finished our vision/goals, and we’ve been diligent with pre-week planning. The fire in our marriage is back, and we’re making time to do the things that we always knew we should be doing. This process was truly life-changing!”
• “Pre-week planning provides a great start to a great week. My mind doesn’t feel overwhelmed because I’ve already thought through these items and know there is a time for each one.”
• “I’m now making time for my special needs daughter, I’m taking care of my own mental and physical health, and I’m showing up as a leader in my company like I never did before. I knew I could improve in all of these areas—I just didn’t have a process. Now I do, and it’s changed everything!”
The art is in the start, and now is the time to start. The development of these habits will be a journey that transforms every area of a person’s personal and professional life. For a more in-depth discussion of the principles we have shared here, we invite you to read Do What Matters Most, follow the steps to develop your personal vision, set your roles and goals, and be consistent each week with pre-week planning. When you do, regardless of what may come up, you will lead a life by design and have one of your best years ever!
Take a free assessment at BYBassessment.com to identify specific areas in your life that you can focus on.
► You’ll also like: The Power of Setting Your Intent: How to Create the Life You Want