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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?

 Creating a Personal Life Blueprint

Someone once said, “Everyone ends up somewhere, but few people end up there on purpose.” This does not have to be the case.

In 2013, I found myself at a challenging point in my life. From the outside things looked picture perfect. I had a great wife, I was leading a church, and I was a foster parent, but I knew something was missing. Internally, I had a lack of peace about how I was leading, and it bothered me greatly. Most of us avoid discomfort, and it was the pain I experienced that drove me to make serious changes.

First, I did what I knew God wanted me to do– pray. Then, I did what I felt God leading me to do. King Solomon said, “Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.”  I believe all planning in your life must begin with Him; prayer and planning should always go hand-in-hand.

For months I searched for a personal coach, and I finally found him through Ministry Coaching International (MCI), a part of the Building Champions family.  I expected him to start with some amazing plan to turn around the ministry I was leading. That was not the plan. He wanted to begin with self-leadership, and he introduced me to the life planning process, which I call the Personal Life Blueprint.

There are many ways one can create a life plan, but here are five ways that have worked for me and thousands of others:

  1. Take a day off. Yes, you need a day away from the busyness and distractions of this world. Creating a life blueprint is a very personal thing, so I encourage you to be alone for a bit. Some people can afford to stay at a hotel to make their plan, but there are many other free options that will work. Go to a park, library, or coffee shop. I encourage you to find a place where you can pray and reflect without being interrupted as you go through this process.
  2. Figure out your priorities. You have to decide what the most important things in your life are. List them in descending order of importance. Each of these priority accounts will have their own sections where you will define them further. God is my number one priority account, and I believe it should be the same for everyone. Some other suggestions are a spouse, children, self, work, church, education, health, friends, and finances.
  3. Make an account for each priority. Each account will describe where you want to be, have a purpose statement, include a scripture, state where you currently are and list goals to get you from where you are to where you want to be. The screenshot below describes each subheading under the account:

Personal Life Blueprint Account Heading Description

Here is an example of a completed health account.

health account blueprint

 

  1. Schedule those priorities. Since your goals are S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound), you should be able to insert them into your calendar. Whatever calendar you use, start by placing what is most important. If you are married, you should go over your calendar with your spouse.
  2. Review weekly. There should be some method to make sure you are staying on top of what is most important. This is where the weekly review comes in. There are many things that can be done as you prepare for the upcoming week, but reviewing your Personal Life Blueprint and calendar is a must. I have written a more detailed post on the weekly review.

This may seem a little overwhelming at first; I know it was for me. However, I can’t say enough about how my life has changed for the better since I implemented this process. I have improved personally and at leading my family and church because I decided to be a better steward of the time God has given me.

If you are looking for greater accountability, I have a few one-on-one coaching spots open. Creating a life plan, business plan, and weekly rhythm are a few of the key things we will work on.

Action Step: Take out your calendar and see when you can schedule some time off to create your Personal Life Blueprint. What is the day and time that works for you?

Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock