Forgive but Don’t Forget: A Planning Technique to Own Your Year

by Bill Fournet | January 17, 2017

On my drive back home from the holiday break, I had the opportunity to catch up on some podcasts, including one from one of my favorites, Tim Ferriss that taught me a new planning technique.  I applied Tim’s unique approach to a New Year and found it helpful for my planning. Here it is:

  1. Schedule one hour on your calendar for this exercise. (I found it took me 30-45 mins.)
  2. Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a line in the center, from top to bottom. Write a “+” at the top of the left side, and a “-” at the top of the right side.
  3. Open your calendar and go week by week, reviewing all of your work and personal appointments and efforts. Ask yourself this question: What were the 20% of items/effort I spent that gave me 80% of my emotional satisfaction (pleasure, positivity, learning, etc.)? Write each of those items down in the left-hand column.
  4. Restart the same review, but this time ask what were the 20% of items that gave you 80% of emotional dissatisfaction (fatigue, frustration, negativity). Write each of these items down in the right-hand column.
  5. Once completed, review each of your columns for patterns–what were the characteristics, trends, patterns, that made the left-hand list give you satisfaction? What was it about the right-hand list that drained you?

Steps 1-5 completes the 80/20 analysis of your time and effort.  I started to notice patterns almost immediately.

Positive (+) patterns:

  • Impact
  • Engaged Audience
  • Travel
  • Learning
  • Working on the Fly

Negative (-) patterns:

  • Repetitive
  • Lack of leadership/drive/results
  • Going through the motions

These patterns reminded me of the kind of work and personal time I enjoy: The sense of making an impact, whether for a client or with one of the Scouts in my Boy Scout troop; the energy and fun I have consulting real-time on challenges with clients and my team. It also was a wake-up call, showing me what has drained my energy and passion over the year—at times, feeling a sense of futility or a lack of commitment to drive change or results. From this, I’m asking myself, “How does this effort/client relate the positive or negative patterns?” If it leans towards the negative, what (if anything) can I do anything to pull it towards the positive?

What do you do with it now? You apply those lessons to this year: Consider how to say “no” or delegate those items that were on your right-side column and find ways to enhance your left-side patterns. Intentionally seek opportunities to work on those efforts that give you pleasure and satisfaction, and work to remove those that wear you down emotionally. In a year, when you complete this reflection, will you have found more of your time in the right or the left column? Own this year.

 Access the Podcast Here 

Want more insights and tools like this?

Processing payment....
Please do not refresh or press the back button.