I love the underlying concept of work-life balance, but I don’t love the practicality of it. The word “balance” implies an even distribution over the course of time. So if you work too much one week, you will have to spend more time with the family the next, and vice-versa. You never arrive at your goal because this is an uncertain finish line. Luckily, there is a better way.

For years I have coached and trained others to live a more intentional life, and I am also on the same journey.  I have found that most people have a desire to change but become incredibly frustrated with the results they’re getting. Even worse, they look at those who seem to have it all together and have limiting beliefs that they can’t do the same.  I know how they feel as I have been there as well.

One of the greatest trades you can make when it comes to productivity is trading balance for healthy rhythms. While balance is unclear, rhythms are defined through a series of habits.

Almost forty percent of your actions are simply your habits according to the best selling book The Power of Habits. So if you change your habits, you will change your life. In order to create healthy rhythms, you will need to follow these five steps.

1. Decide on your goals.

The first step in the process of creating health in your life and business is deciding your desired destination, or goals. You need to clearly define what is your most important goal for the main areas of your life. We have our clients fill out a life and business plan.

Your goal should be in the form of x to y by z. For instance, your work goal may be to bring up sales revenue from one million dollars in quarter one to one million two hundred thousand dollars by the end of quarter 2. You may have a personal goal of losing fifteen pounds in the next 60 days.

2. Define your habits.

Once you have clarity on what your most important goal is for an area of life, you need to add the specific habit(s) that will help you to achieve it. Keep in mind that there are some habits, called keystone habits,  that set off a chain reaction for others to happen.

If you are a business owner, one of your habits could be to spend four hours a week working on the business instead of just in the business. Your keystone habit for your sales goal may be to contact ten loyal customers a week to see how they are doing and if they need any further assistance. Your habit to lose weight may be to write down your caloric intake every day and not to exceed so many calories.

Choose one or two habits that when done either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, that will ensure that you will hit your goal.

3. Disrupt your schedule.

If the way you are currently spending your time is not giving you your desired results, then it’s time for a schedule change. You will most likely need to change your schedule to thrive in your key areas such as self-development, relationships, and business.

Some of your current fruitless activities will change and its place will be slotted for your new habits.

We look at the schedule a week at a time and call it our weekly rhythm. Inside your weekly rhythm is time to accomplish your habits and ultimately ensure reaching your goals.

4. Draw lines in the sand.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. In order to accomplish your goals, you are going to have to set some healthy boundaries in your life. There will be times when you say “no” to the good so you can say “yes” to the great.

Since you already have your time slots full of your new habits, you can say no to things since you have a prior commitment. This part will make or break your ability to grow your business or personal life.

5. Dig your heels in.

I would love to say that everything will magically fall into place once you start, but there will be resistance. That resistance will come from the fact you’re already predisposed to your current habits and life itself.

How long does it take to form a new habit? Though it varies, research shows it more likely to take two months or so. This is one of the benefits of our year-long leadership coaching program, the opportunity to solidify many new habits. Here is the good news–once something becomes a habit, it does not require much effort to keep it going.

Take some time and clarify your goals and follow the steps in order. Plan today for the business or life you want to live tomorrow.

Among other things, leadership always involves decision making. Many of the decisions we make in our roles at work have little to no impact on our personal lives, but not all are work decisions.

A few years back, I was at a church leadership conference, led by two top leaders in that industry. The first main session had to do with family life and was led by Andy Stanley.

The opening session suggested many goals that a family should have. Here are a few:

  1. Be in love even after the kids are out of the home.
  2. When the kids are old enough not to have to be together, they will still choose to be together.
  3. Pray together at every stage.
  4. Prioritize your marriage on your calendar, not just your heart.

While these were great goals to have, the thing that stood out to me the most was a statement he made; “Don’t give up what is unique to you for something someone else will do.”

Another way he has said it is. “Don’t trade something that is unique to you for something that is not permanent.”

Leaders, this is the one trade you must never make! Never trade what is unique to you, for something that is not permanent.

Your company, job, softball team, social media, and a fantasy football league can all be done by someone else. There are things you should never trade for the previous list.

1. Relationships.

These would include your relationship with God, spouse, children, and family. You should never trade in these relationships or the priority thereof over a career or anything else that is not unique to you.

We may not even recognize that we are investing more of our time and energy in people, activities, and engagements that are less important.

2. Values

If you are in leadership long enough there will be a deal, phone call, request that will cause you to stare your values straight in the face, and you will have to decide whether to give up your values or not. I encourage you that nothing is worth the price of your values.

Most recently, I had to choose between something I wanted and something that was unique to me. There was a leadership conference that I was planning on attending for some time.

As the conference was approaching, I needed to decide to pull the trigger on purchasing the ticket, airfare, and hotel. After recognizing what was going on in my family, I realized that this was a time that I needed to be home.

Just a few days after I made the decision, I got an email from the company hosting the conference that they were going to comp the conference for me. The free ticket would have cut the financial investment of going to the conference down considerably.  So there I was again staring down the priority barrel of my life.

I contacted the company and thanked them for the offer, but explained that I felt I needed to be home with my family during this time. They emailed me back and told me they believed I was making the right decision. That company has some very strong values as do their employees.

I wish I always hit a home run in this area, but I am learning as I go.

I want to challenge you to look at your life and ask if you are saying yes to the wrong thing. I have found one of the greatest tools for staying on track in your life is to create a life plan.

Remember, the one trade a leader must never make is trading something that is unique to you, for something that is not permanent.

 

 

 

 

 

Goals, benchmarks, and quotas, all represent something we are trying to achieve. Most people are not accomplishing the goals they want to achieve, so what’s the deal?

According to an article on Inc.com, over ninety-percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions never accomplish them.  That is a ton of people, not feeling pumped about their results. In fact, a little over forty-percent of people have never succeeded in accomplishing their goals or achieving their resolution.

I have worked in the for-profit and nonprofit world and have seen people and companies set all kinds of goals. Improve client relationships, reach more people, give more money away, or take in more money. Individuals have set goals for spending more time with God, eating healthier, exercising more, making a budget, and so forth. Most of these goals will never be brought to fruition without some extra help.

I want to focus on a few that are the major culprits in many of us not accomplishing our desired goals.

1. Goals are not specific enough.

The more specific and concrete a goal is, the more it inspires us. The most popular goal people want to achieve is to lose weight. However, the goal to lose weight is not specific.

The goal needs to be so specific that it fits in the formula x to y by time or specific frequency. So the goal of losing twenty-five pounds by Christmas, now that has something to hang your hat on. Alternatively, instead of saying, “I need to work out,” the goal should be “I’ll workout Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from six to seven in the morning.”

2. Goals are not staying in the forefront of your mind.

Initially, we are pretty excited about our goals, and they stay at the forefront of our minds for a short period of time. However, after a while, our goal(s) get lost in the whirlwind of our lives unless we have a way of keeping them front and center.

3. Goals are not given the needed time and resources to be accomplished.

In the pursuit of improving, we can try to take on too many goals at once. When we do this, we end up not being able to give the time and attention necessary to each goal. One of the most eye-opening realities of having too many goals came from the book 4 Disciplines of Execution.

If a team focuses on two or even three goals beyond the demands of their whirlwind, they can often accomplish them. However, if they set four to ten goals, our experience has been that they will achieve only one or two. They’ll be going backward! If they go after eleven to twenty goals in addition to the whirlwind, they will lose all focus.

Simply stated, there is a diminishing return when we add too many goals.

While there are other reasons you may not reach your goals, these are the three big ones. Now, it is time to take your goals by the horns and fix the problem with these solutions:

1. Make sure your goals are specific.

Go back through the goals you set and make sure they tell you what you want to do and include by when or how often. Remember, going on a date night with my wife or spending time with my kids is not specific, but a date night with my wife every other Friday at seven in the evening is.

2. Enlist accountability.

The first step to accountability is to keep yourself accountable by reviewing your goals weekly. I encourage you to make this a part of your weekly review. For businesses, your most important goal or two show be very clear to your team members and reinforced consistently and constantly.

You can take it a step further by enlisting someone to ask you whether you are keeping in tune with your goals. One of my clients has his team ask one another over a dozen questions weekly, and they keep track on a spreadsheet of their progress as pictured below.

3. Choose fewer goals so that you can accomplish more.

I know this may seem backward, but if you try to accomplish too much, you may end up accomplishing none of them. So go through your goals and choose the most important two or three goals that you want to accomplish. You will go further faster if you have fewer goals.

Keep in mind that there are some goals that enable you to accomplish others. For instance, if you have a goal to workout and have quiet time early in the morning, but struggle getting up early enough, simply accomplishing the goal of waking up earlier will help you accomplish the other two.

4. Decide on trade-offs.

If you add something to your life, you have to take away something else.

It is not as easy as it seems to simply add a goal to your life without subtracting something else to make room. For instance, if you love to binge watch Netflix shows late into the night, but also have a desire to wake up early in the morning, something will have to give.

As one person has said, sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love more. Yes, you may love binge-watching Netflix, but you love waking up earlier more so you can work out, write a book, read a book, or have quiet time.

You can do anything, but you cannot do everything. Decide what are the necessary trade-offs and make time for what you desire.

If you follow these four-step process to accomplish your goals, you will accomplish more of what you set out to do.

I would love to ways that have helped you accomplish your goals or what has proved challenging.

I love conversations with people who care about me and are willing to ask the tough questions. These people care enough about you to see the good in you but desire to pull out the great.

I just had one of those conversations the other day with someone. They were trying to challenge me to be the very best version of myself; the one God created me to be.

During the conversation, we talked about quite a few topics and then something that was said stood out to me. In essence, they asked me what one thing in my life, if changed, would have the biggest impact.

This got me thinking about different areas of my life and what one thing for specific areas of life, if changed, would make a significant difference.

1. What one thing in your marriage/relationships?

Is there one thing in your marriage, if you improved, that would make a huge difference? The one thing could be not being on your computer or phone when you are home. Maybe it is getting better at recognizing the small things other people do for you and pointing them out.

Could it be the romance is waning, and you need to start having date nights again?

2. What one thing in your health?

I grew up in a house that had dozens of cartons of ice cream in the freezer, you heard it right, DOZENS. While we don’t keep that many, we eat ice cream almost every night. So maybe this is my one thing that would make the biggest difference in my health.

For you, it could be meal planning, joining a gym, or taking your bike out a few days a week.

3. What one thing in your finances?

Finances and food have one thing in common; everyone knows what to do, but few do what they know. Like food, our spending is driven by behavior, not knowledge.

So what is your one thing that if you started to do, would make the biggest difference in your finances? Is it starting to make a budget, opening an IRA, or cutting some excess expenses out of your budget?

If you are looking for a step-by-step guide to financial freedom, check out this post.

Don’t get bogged down with changing everything, that you end up changing nothing. There are a few essential changes that if you make them will give you tremendous results.

Once you decide what needs to be changed, find something and someone to keep you accountable. First, have personal accountability by creating a life plan, and secondly, find a trusted friend to hold you to your commitments. If you are looking for even greater accountability in your personal and professional life, consider using the services of a coach.

I would love to hear your feedback on this post. If you love the post, spread the love to your friends on social media.

While planning may not be the most exciting thing, it can bring amazing results.

Recently, I have asked a few leaders if they have planned for the first quarter of next year. So far, all of them have not been able to step away to do so. Just like us, their lives are incredibly busy.

Like you, these leaders want to thrive in the New Year. However, a plan helps us bridge the gap between where we are, to where we want to be. It lays out the necessary steps to reach our desired goals.

At the time of this writing, we are approaching the New Year, and there are unlimited possibilities. This can be the year that you chase your dreams, but you need to know how to get there. There are three plans that if you have and follow will help you succeed in the New Year. I was introduced to all these plans when I used the coaching services of Building Champions.

1. Life Plan:

I learned about life planning, and the rest of the plans, years ago and the results I have experienced have been amazing. I call a life plan a personal life blueprint because that is exactly what it is. It is a blueprint for the life you desire to live.

In a life plan, you decide what your most important priorities are. You then decide how you want that key area of your life to look like if it was exactly the way you want. Then you create a plan to get you from where you are, to where you want to be. I wrote a more detailed post here.

2. Business plan:

You don’t have to own a business in order to create a business plan. If you are leading a team, department, or want to start a business, then creating a business plan is for you.

In a business plan, you decide what you want to accomplish over the next year. Once you have your year goals in mind, you can then create a plan for each quarter that will help you reach your desired outcomes for the year. I wrote more about creating a business plan here.

3. Time plan:

I am not sure of a bigger productivity hack than to maximize your most valuable asset through creating a blueprint for your time. Time has a way of getting away from us because we have not laid out a concise plan for how you want to spend it.

In a time plan, you decide ahead of time how you will spend your week. Although this will not always work out perfectly, it will get you much closer than if you just winged it.

The time plan is set up to help you accomplish your predetermined goals in your life and business plan. I wrote more about this here.

These three plans have had a huge impact on my life and have become part of the framework I use to coach others. This next month, quarter or year can be amazing, but you need to decide what amazing looks like.

Take some time and create a plan for your life, business, and time; you will be glad you did.

How to Create a Weekly Rhythm

As leaders, we have aspirations to be incredibly productive every week. We come to work determined to get ahead and take care of what is most important. By the end of the week, many of us are left wondering why we didn’t get the results we were hoping for. So what is the secret to a successful week?

A few years back I struggled to stay on top of things, which kept me from getting ahead. I remember taking a self-evaluation test where I was asked to rate myself on how organized I was on a scale of 1–10. I gave myself a raving 3, only because I felt confident—confident my organizational skills needed a little attention.

This evaluation was given to me by Building Champions, whom I had hired for personal executive coaching. This was one of the best investments of my life. In the beginning stages, they had me create a life plan, which I have since renamed as my personal life blueprint. If you don’t have a personal life blueprint, I would encourage you to complete one of those first.

Once I became clear on what I wanted in my life, it was time to make it happen by scheduling it. Your desires will not become a reality unless you make time for them. If you really want to know how you spend your time, you can do a write-down for three days, listing how you spend every half hour. Yes, this is a grueling, yet eye-opening exercise. Building Champions has a time-blocking document you can use here.

[bctt tweet=”Your desires will not become a reality unless you make time for them.” username=”justinsetzer”]

Now it is time to create your desired time block, which I have renamed ‘desired weekly rhythm’. The weekly rhythm shows how you would spend your time if you could control it. While there are many unforeseen circumstances that can come up in a week, many weeks are normal.

The rhythm is broken up into thirty-minute segments, showing how you would spend your time in an ideal week. There are a few keys to creating a weekly rhythm that will help you get the most out of your week:

1. Plan your day’s theme.

The focus is important and having your day’s theme can be a huge boost to productivity. Instead of jumping from one unrelated task to another, you can get into the groove of working on one aspect of your job. You will notice that I have my theme listed at the top of the spreadsheet. The theme is my primary focus of the day.

2. Schedule your personal priorities.
• Them time: This is the time you have scheduled for your relationships. This should include time for dates with your spouse, time with your children, and friends.
• Renew time: These are the activities that renew you and keep you at peak performance. These could include your time with God, exercise, reading, outdoor activities, etc.

3. Schedule your high payoff activities.

These are the activities that Stephen Covey would place in quadrant II, as described in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. These activities will differ from person to person. High payoff activities may include vision casting, coaching your team, recruiting, managing sales relationships, top-level meetings, appointment setting, lead generation, etc.

4. Schedule the heavy lifting early in the week. 

If you don’t knock out the tougher aspects of your job early in the week, you will likely procrastinate with those tasks. If you are like me, it is better to get the hard projects done first.

5. Schedule time to work in the business and on the business.

• In-time is when you are working in the day-to-day operation of your organization when you are in the thick of things.
• On-time is when you walk away from working in the business to working on the business. This may include strategic planning, brainstorming, or working on a new initiative or product. In some settings, it can be easier to focus on working on the business at the end of the week when the other work is completed.

This process may take a few times to get down, but the return on investment is amazing. I have been able to free up an entire day of work per week for on-time.

More importantly, my family and priorities are not being neglected. It is an incredible feeling to know that you are spending time on the things that matter most, and still being productive in your organization.

If you are looking for further help. creating a weekly blueprint for your life is one of the steps I take my coaching clients through, Do yourself a favor and schedule a few hours to make a weekly rhythm. You can download a template here.

How would following a weekly rhythm be beneficial for you?

Six Steps to having a Personal Quarterly Review

Logic tells us that that harder and longer we work, the more we will get done. However, this is not always the case.

Just last week I was sitting in front of this same computer, evaluating how my life was going. Deep, right? That reflective time away was directly responsible for one of the most productive weeks I have had in a very long time. That time away is what some call a quarterly review or personal quarterly off-site.

The quarterly review is a time when you will get a higher overlook of your ninety days, and prayerfully decide your direction for the next ninety. I was introduced to this process from Building Champions and Michael Hyatt, and credit them for the information in this post.

One key to an effective quarterly review is to do it somewhere where you can reflect and think, and give yourself adequate time. So, to do this effectively you should take a half-day or full day off work and get away from everyone. I typically do my reviews at a library; other options include the park, coffee shop, bookstore, campground, or a hotel.

Here are six proven elements of an effective quarterly review.

1. Prayer. We begin with prayer because we want to make sure our will is aligned with His. You may ask Him for direction as you begin the review, or pray through some challenges you are going through. This sets the tone for the review.

2. Review and revamp the blueprint for your life plan. I wrote about creating a personal life blueprint here. A lot can change in three months, especially with the ‘where you are at’ and ‘what you need to do’ sections of your blueprint.

Change any area that needs updating and the corresponding goal. During big changes of life, you may have to revamp much of the blueprint.

3. Set new goals. This is a good time to set new objectives for yourself personally and professionally. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What are three things I want to accomplish in my personal life in the next 90 days?
  • What are three things I want to accomplish professionally in the next 90 days?
  • Is there something in my life that is taking a considerable amount of my time that I need to stop doing?
  • Is there something I need to start doing?

4. Modify your weekly desired rhythm. As life changes, so do your blueprint and goals. After revamping your plan and setting new goals, you must find a place in your schedule to accomplish them. You may have to cut less important things out of your schedule to make your new goals a reality. If you haven’t designed your weekly schedule yet, read this post.

5. Knock out a project. If you are able to take a full day off, work on a project that you don’t normally have time for. This will help you start the new quarter with renewed motivation, and help you feel better for having the day off.

6. End with prayer. I know we have already prayed, but I think it’s good to make sure you didn’t speed through an area and miss God’s heartbeat. During this prayer ask God if there is anything on the plan that He wants you to change. As you finish the quarterly review, thank Him for His grace and love.

Once the quarterly review is over, you need to let key people in your life know about the changes, namely those who they will affect. People such as your spouse, mentor, and assistant need to know the direction in which you are heading. Letting these people know what you are doing and why will make it easier, and help you avoid unnecessary trouble later.

My last quarterly review has already paid off. I am laser focused for the next quarter and have a renewed passion in all areas of life.

The quarterly review is one of the pieces we take some of our coaching clients through. If you are looking to invest further in your personal and professional life, this could be a great next step.

When are you going to do your personal quarterly review?

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

Take Care of These Five Priorities and They Will Take Care of You.

Life can speed by at an impossibly fast pace. It seems as if every year there is another child, more child activities, extra responsibilities at work, more bills to pay, or new church initiatives when we are already struggling to keep up with what we have.

I am the type of person who can be hyper-focused on one area of my life at the expense of other areas. Early in my marriage, I was super excited about following Dave Ramsey’s principles (which, by the way, I think everyone should). The problem was that it consumed me. I was excited and we were getting ahead, but other areas of my life were not doing so well.

Everything changed when I started the life planning process. I was introduced to this by Ministry Coaching International, a sister company to Building Champions. Building Champions is known for their Core Four- Life Planning, Business Vision, Business Plan, and Priority Management.

When I started doing a life plan, I began to invest in areas of my life in proportion to their priority. Instead of focusing on one area, I looked at my life and decided what the most important areas were. I believe there are five areas of life that will keep you moving in the right direction if you take good care of them.

1. Relationship with God. I am a Christian, so this is my number one area. Growing in my relationship with God is vital. I believe everything else in your life hinges on your personal relationship with God. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” If this one is off track, it will affect every other area of our lives.

To get the most out of our devotional time with God, we should pick a time and a place. Some people will get the most out of spending time with God early in the morning, while others will benefit most from spending time at night. Choose the time when you can give God your best. If you want more information on how to get the most out of your devotional time, check out this post.

2. Spouse. Many will agree in theory that their spouse should come second only to their relationship with God, but in reality, this area is not usually given the attention it deserves. With so many other things competing for our time, we usually push this priority down the list. I once heard someone say, “Never trade something that is unique to you for something that is not permanent.” That means we shouldn’t put our family below things that may not be permanent, such as career and finances. Common sense and wisdom tell us quality alone time with our spouse is a must. I wrote about ways to be a blessing to your wife in this post.

3. Children. When it comes to your children, making memories is more important than making money. My wife once told me you show how much you value your children by time spent with them, not the amount of money spent. Mark Merrill, the founder of Family First, wrote a great blog post on how to have a positive influence on your child.

4. Health. If your health deteriorates, it will be a burden on many of the above relationships. To be honest, this is an area in which I need to improve. We all know the essentials of good health— diet, exercise, and rest. The issue is putting to use the knowledge we have. Instead of going from one extreme to the other, decide on two things you can improve today that will have the biggest impact on your health

5. Finances. Like health, this is more behavior-based than knowledge based. Everyone knows you shouldn’t spend more money than you make, yet many do. I believe the greatest defense against financial problems is making a monthly budget and sticking to it! Deciding where your money goes is much better than trying to figure out where it went. Early in my life, I really struggled with money management. It wasn’t until I decided to follow the principles laid out in Dave Ramsey’s book, Total Money Makeover, that I got on track. I learned all I know from Dave Ramsey, so I encourage you to buy his book.

Keeping all these areas in check is not easy, but it is easier when you have a personal life blueprint. Being intentional in these areas will keep the rest of your life in the right lane.

What area(s) do you need to give a higher priority? What could you add to this list?

If you enjoyed the post, please share the love by sharing on your social outlets.

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

 

Five Ways to Bring Dating Back to Your Marriage

I had been single for most of my twenties, so when I saw a section on dating in our church library my interest was piqued. The first book that caught my eye was the Divine Revelation of Hell. Obviously, the book had been put in the wrong section, but it was slightly humorous.

Fast forward 10 years. I now had an amazing, beautiful wife, but our dating life was just okay. Honestly, I didn’t look forward to date nights as much as I should have. We knew things needed to change. Like most married couples, we could not say our dates were a “Revelation of Hell,” but we couldn’t say they were heavenly, either.

The reality is most people don’t put much effort into their dates. Sometimes, dating in marriage becomes more of a struggle than a blessing. We wait until Friday night to ask our spouse where they would like to go, to which we get the classic response, “I don’t know, where would you like to go?” Many times these conversations become sources of frustration as couples try to figure out what to do with their evening. My wife and I were left feeling as if there must be a better way, and there is.

1. Have a scheduled date night. We don’t want to show up on Friday night and decide whether or not to go on a date. Pick a day and frequency that works for you, and don’t let anything get in the way. It’s that important. My wife and I have date night every other Friday. This is non-negotiable for us. We need this time to connect one-on-one. We have to adjust which days we spend time alone as seasons of life change, but the frequency stays the same.

2. Plan ahead of time. This was probably one of the greatest frustrations of our dates. My wife loves it when we have a plan. There are some questions that have to be asked ahead of time—What are we doing on the date? What time? Who will watch the kids?

3. Ask your spouse on a date. I know you are married, but there is just something about asking your spouse to go on a date. When we get married the passionate pursuit of our spouse should not stop. You can call them, leave a note, send a text, etc.

4. Alternate responsibility. This has been a game changer for us. We alternate the responsibility to plan the night out. To even sweeten the deal, the partner who plans does so for the other’s pleasure. Husbands, when it’s your turn, select activities you know your wife will enjoy.

5. Let this be a no-distraction zone. It’s unfortunate this has to be said, but it’s a sad reality. When you are on the date make sure it’s about the two of you and not about Facebook, the ball game, etc.

If you put these five simple rules into effect, you will revitalize your dating life. I can’t tell you how much more I look forward to our date nights since we implemented them. Instead of being frustrated, I am focusing on one thing- my wife- and we are connecting with each other. For other ways to be a blessing to your spouse, check out this post.

Get together with your spouse this week and go through the list. Schedule a night, time, and planning responsibility and make it happen. Bring dating back to your marriage; you will be glad you did!
When are you going out on your first revitalized date? What else could you add to this list?

Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

 

The one hour a week that can change your life

We are all given 168 hours a week. I believe that there is one hour that will help you stay on top of a busy life.

Many times I’ve had an experience at the beach that reminds me of how my life was going. I am enjoying myself in the water, bar the occasional splash of saltwater in the mouth. After an hour or so, I look up to see my stuff on the beach and realize I have drifted far away from my belongings.

My life for many years felt like this experience at the beach. The current of life was constantly trying to pull me away from things that are important to me. This has changed since I became intentional in the areas of my life that matter most.

I learned about the Life Planning process. This process that ultimately changed my life was picked up from Michael Hyatt and Building Champions. After learning the process, I created what I call your Personal Life Blueprint. You can learn more about creating a blueprint in this post. Once I knew what was most important, I implemented a weekly review to stay on top of those areas.

In the weekly review, you take about an hour out of the hustle and bustle of your life to look up and ensure you are not drifting away from what is important. The system I use is an adaptation of the Getting Things Done method from David Allen. Here are the steps I go through during my weekly review:
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1. Read your blueprint.
Once you have created your blueprint, review it every week to help you reach the goals you have set. Reading about what is important to you will help you from drifting too far from your goals. This built-in accountability will go a long way.

2. Process all emails and get my inbox to zero.
Emails are like weeds. If you don’t stay on top of them, they will get out of control. During the weekly review, you decide what to do with each email.
• Respond immediately if it takes less than two minutes
• Put in a respond-later file
• Delegate the needed action from the email
• Delete

3. Review other digital messaging outlets.
Check other accounts for outstanding tasks/items including:
• Social media
• Work Instant Messengers
• Software- CRM or other management systems

4. Process any loose paper.
File or process all loose paper including:
• Notes in Evernote- are they tagged properly so I can find them later?
• Receipts- tag or process
• Paper inbox (file any papers that have made it to my paper inbox throughout the week).

5. Go over previous week’s calendar.
Make sure you didn’t overlook something, such as a task assigned to you from a meeting. You may realize there is something you have to follow up on in the near future. You may be reminded of a thank-you note you want to write.

6. Look at the upcoming week’s calendar.
Make sure you are ready or will be ready for upcoming projects or meetings. Ask yourself what are the three to five things that must be accomplished this week?
If you are married, go over the calendar with your spouse. Once you are finished with it, make sure to ask yourself the question, “Have I scheduled the most important things in my life?”

7. Review and add to task/project list.
I use Nozbe to help me with my tasks and projects. There are many other project management software programs such as Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. The goal is to find a system or software that you enjoy.

Whatever task manager you use, I encourage you to set up a template for your tasks that are recurring. This will help you from having to reinvent the wheel every week.

This one hour (or less) weekly investment has changed my life and paid more than its fair share of dividends. I am more prepared every week than I ever was before and able to stay on top of a busy life. The more important areas of my life are getting the attention they deserve, and everyone around me is benefiting.
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Action Step: What one hour a week works best for you to do a weekly review? What else would be beneficial to add to your weekly review?

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