Let’s continue with the weekly planning process or 3-3-3 planning.
In the last post, we covered the monthly part of the planning process. This sets the medium term direction and duration for our planning.
It is the context for the main driver of ensuring we are moving in the right direction – the weekly planning process.
We started by asking “THE BIG QUESTION”:
“What do I want this month to be about?”
Then we chose three major outputs and broke them down into — smaller outputs and processes and plugged them into our schedule planner.
A bigger project will have bigger outputs, and so you’ll have to think carefully about what you can realistically accomplish over the month.
Now we work to set up the week ahead. Choose a day for your weekly planning. I use Saturday as I can always find a few minutes to look at what’s coming up.
Start with a review of your actual outputs for the previous week – what you produced.
Look at what was easy to do and hard to do. Look at what you didn’t accomplish.
Spend a few minutes on identifying and isolating what worked regarding your workflow last week (and should be continued and carried forward), and what has to be corrected for this week.
Now ask “The Big Question”:
“What do I want this week to be about?”
Look at your commitments for the week, look at the “hard landscaping” of your routines and obligations.
Look at the time available and figure out what three major outputs you want to accomplish.
Write up the outputs, think through the processes and resources, and then allocate time during the week ahead.
Again, make sure you can see the big picture outputs for the month, and for the coming week, each time you open or use your planner.
Do what is necessary to make this so. You want to train your brain to hold immediate/short term and medium term outputs and projects about EACH OTHER.
This is what will make things easier for you with practice.
We are digging ourselves out of the hole of just moving from task to task in a never-ending death march.
With ‘What this week is about’ in the form of 3 major outputs in place, and we’ve allocated time to work to create the sub-outputs; we can now go on to the third 3 of the 3-3-3 strategy.
Looking at the next day, we ask “THE BIG QUESTION”:
“What do I want this day to be about?”
Pick out three major outputs for the day, craft them, think them through and put them in your planner.
“But I have so many things to do… I can’t just…” [*SIGH*]
You may have as many things to do as you wish and your energy can attend to.
You are selecting three day-sized outputs that you can fit in, properly crafting them and thinking through process and resources and writing them down.
But three is a good number for concentrating on to work the magic improvement by applying what we have been working on in a specific area.
No specific application = no skill. You must start somewhere and its best to start small. Outside of the three; do as thou wilt.
At the beginning of the day, briefly, review your plans and your outputs. Work your day.
At the end of the day, briefly review your outputs and any other outputs you created. If the outputs you planned were too big; it means you have to specify more tightly and breakdown your plans.
You may have to make trade-offs, but this is what calibration is about – teaching your brain through the real world, worked examples what is possible and not possible.
Identify three outputs for the next day, craft and refine them – over a period of days, it will start to become easier, after a week or two’s practice; it will speed up a bit.
After a few months of daily, weekly and monthly practice running of these interlocked and nested cycles; you’ll notice something very interesting will have occurred inside of you.
And, before you ask – yes, the process scales up – quarters or seasons, half-year, whole year; and it also scales down morning/afternoon/evening, work session, hour, and even at the micro level where it dovetails with the concept of “time-boxing” (3 x 15-20 minute work periods, followed by one 15-20 minute break before cycling again).