At the beginning of the year I wrote an article about how to write a one-year plan that works, which is based on Tony Robbins’ RPM Planning System. Within his life management course, Tony also shares his strategy for effectively planning a week so that you don’t let any important area of your life unattended.
The weekly planning session is where it all comes together. I’ll show you how to go from the one year goals you have in each life category to the individual action step that will get you closer to their achievement.
Today, I’ll share with you my personal version of that system. Not because Tony’s isn’t good, but because I believe that this is the logical order in which a weekly planning session should be conducted.
Feel free to come back to this article when you plan a week and use it as a checklist. You can also email me or leave a comment below and I’ll be glad to provide you with a simplified, printable version! But for now, let’s get right into it!
1. Start with the Big Picture
We humans are a very weird species. We participate to an outstanding course or read a great book on how to attain financial freedom and then make a strong commitment towards applying the principles that we’ve learned!
A few weeks later, we buy a new, flat-screen TV… What?! Seriously?! How did that happen? I’ll tell you what happened: We forgot our goals and why they are important to us! The new TV, device, car, vacation, etc. just seem so incredibly tempting, NOW!
The problem is that the NOW mentality does not service us in the long term. Yes, it might feel awesome for some people to be spontaneous from time to time, but we should always try to remember who we are, what we stand for, and why.
Because of this, the first part of any planning session, I think, is to remind ourselves why we’ve gotten ourselves into this in the first place. Having a vision for whatever it is you want and a strong enough “Why?” helps you live life at a whole new level.
If you haven’t taken the time to write those down, please do so before you continue reading this article. You can use Tony’s system (which is the one I also use) or any other for that matter. If you feel that you’re stuck, be sure to get in touch. I would be glad to help.
2. Review, Measure, and Smile
You should always start with reviewing. A map is only useful when you know the destination and your current location! Not knowing where you are is just as bad as having no idea of where you’re going!
As a result, before planning next week, let us first review the week that just passed. How? By writing down two lists and asking a few powerful questions:
1. Write 10 to 12 achievements from the past week. This will help you to get a bit excited about your past success. Please note that not all achievements are equal. “I raised $10,000 on my new product launch.” is very different to “I stopped myself from eating cake at the party!”
Write down all of the big things (if any), but also be grateful for small achievements like “I called mom this week!” or “I had a great conversation with my life partner!” or even “I used the stairs!!!” Small, consistent victories lead to great results. Have patience.
After you finished writing the list, ask yourself: What was the main catalyst of my success this week? We ask this in order to figure out what it is so that we can then replicate that success in the future. Study yourself. I promise it’s well worth it!
2. Write down everything that should have gotten done but didn’t. This list for me is almost always populated with at least 5 items, and that’s OK. If you’re pushing yourself on a weekly basis, it’s normal.
When you’re done with the second list, a few good questions to ask are: What kept me from achieving these? What can I do next time to increase my chances of following through on such commitments? Or what can I do to eliminate certain roadblocks that have kept me back in the past?
This is actually one of the most important parts of our session because, in one year, you’ll have over 500 achievements to be proud of and, if you commit to what Tony calls CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) and grow just 1% every week, then by the end of the year you’ll be over 60% better than at the beginning! Compound that over 5 years and you’ll be over 1000% better! In any area(s) you choose! Wow! Good job!
3. Maintain Balance
Instead of letting yourself overrun by what seems urgent in this moment, take a look over all of your Categories of CANI (such as your relationships, career, health, finances, contribution, etc.) and write down at least 1 activity that you want to do next week, no matter how small, for each category.
This is the brainstorming part, or what Tony calls “Capturing,” so for now, don’t worry about *when* you’ll do all of the things that you write down. You’ll figure that out in the following steps.
For example, you might be super-busy with a project from within your Career category and feel like you should plan your week accordingly, but don’t let your anxiety control you. Yes, you can work more on one area than another, but remember, you are in charge. You decide.
If health is important to you, then make sure you add a few workouts here and there. If leaving a positive contribution in the World is another thing that defines you, then make sure you also throw in a bit of voluntary activity.
Keep in mind that YOU are the one that decided on the handful of life areas that are most important to you. Though defining them and setting measurable goals, already puts you in front of 90% of the population, making conscious, weekly steps towards growing in each area is what will make (or keep) you truly successful and fulfilled.
Now that you have a (long) list of everything you want to do this week, add a guesstimate of how much you think you’ll need to do each activity and then place them on the days of the week.
Most people are awake about 16 hours per day. If you’re super organized and productive, you can place up to 14 hours of activities on one day, but I personally never put more than 12. I give myself about 5 “buffer” hours so that even if something unexpected happens, I still finish most if not all of what I planned on doing.
A productivity hack that has worked miracles for me is to “chuck” similar activities on the same day. For example, I used to write for 1 hour every morning. It was OK, and I got good enough results, but the moment I decided to dedicate 1 day to writing, my output exploded!
Before I would commit to writing 500 words a day (adds up to ~3500/week) and I sometimes had difficulties in getting myself to focus on writing. Now that my mind can laser-focus ONLY on writing, for many consecutive hours, I write over 5000 words in 1 day and the quality of my materials has increased significantly!
After we have each day populated with 10 to 14 hours worth of activities, it’s time to commit specific time blocks for each. This is where you say things like: “From 6AM to 9AM I do Z” or “From 10AM to 12PM I do Y”.
I have two suggestions here that have helped me a lot in getting the most out of every day:
1. Just like with chunking your week, apply the same principle to your days. If you have 5 phone calls to make tomorrow, try to place a time-block with all of them at once. This way you know that “I finish tasks X and Y for project Z between 7 and 11 am.”, “I make phone calls tomorrow between 11 and 11:30 am.” and so on.
Such a clear and organized script will double your productivity, help you to get more and better results, and cut off incredible amount of useless stress!
2. My second suggestion would be to do creative and/or important work first thing in the morning! Get it done! Make sure you finish working on your priorities *before* you do anything else!
This simple change has been a real game changer for me! (alongside with waking up super-early!)
After my morning ritual, I immediately start to work on my most important task for the day! Why? Because I know that if I finish, today is already a victory! Everything else I do afterward is a great bonus! Ah, and speaking of important work:
6. Select your top 2-5 priorities
As mentioned in step 5, we should always focus on achieving what’s most important, but how can we expect to do that if we have no idea what it is?
This week, for example, I had 3 main priorities, all relevant to our newest product “The Path to a Truly Healthy Body,” a 7-day online course.
UPDATE: All the knowledge from the course, plus weekly, live guidance and support are now included in our Life Coaching package.
This week I had to:
1. Validate the idea. My goal was to actively find 20 people of all ages and from all over the world to join the course for its launch! Out of the 21 people I contacted until today (Thursday, April 9th), 17 have signed up for the course! Wow! Amazing! I have just 3 spots left!
2. Get the system ready. I could, of course manually send emails to 20 people, but what will I do when we’ll have 200 students at once? Of course, we need a system for it, so my second focus was to either find one or build one. I couldn’t find one, so we ended up building one.
3. Add the final touches to the course itself. I’m a strong believer that a product is never really “done.” Yes, it can be the best there is, but there will always be improvements to be made. That’s why I decided to give the course another *full review* before it goes live!
Of course, I’ve done many other things in between, but those were my focus areas for this particular week. What are yours? What are the 2-5 things that, if you were to do just those, your week would be outstanding! Make sure you decide and then continue to the final step.
7. Set yourself up to win.
The strategist always beats the tactician. A tactician is a person who knows (or has a good-enough idea about) what he should do, and then goes for it! Sounds familiar? Yes, it’s the typical entrepreneur. No wonder 96% of businesses go bankrupt before their first decade.
A strategist on the other hand, not only thinks about what he/she should do, but also thinks about everything that could happen, good and bad! These are the people that always have a plan B at hand. Whatever happens, they’re ready.
Here are a few things you can do to significantly increase the success rate of your plans:
1. Implement the “If this then that” strategy. If I don’t get at least 10 presales from the first 20 people, I change my offer and/or product description. Afterward, if I don’t get 10 presales from the first 100 people, I mark the idea as “unwanted” and move on to something else.
Apply this for good results also: If I get 20 presales from the first 30 people, I stop contacting others, I focus on delivering the best experience for the first 20 and then apply their feedback to make the product even better.
2. Focus on the best, prepare for the worst. As dear old Murphy said: If something can go wrong, it probably will go wrong. Never let your current circumstances dictate your decisions, always have the end in mind, but also be prepared to face failure.
Anticipate all of the challenges that you might have on your journey and do everything that you can to make sure that you get what you want as efficiently and effectively as possible. That’s it. The last step of a 7-step system to make your weeks incredible!
As a side-note, if you like the above system or any other article in which I describe what I learned from my mentors, please be sure to research further into what they offer and maybe even invest in their materials! (I have!)
I am extremely grateful for all of the amazing people that left a positive impact on my life, either through their materials or in person, and if I can do anything to enhance their success, I will!
To conclude this specific article, I would just like to remind you that Life Balance and Fulfillment isn’t based on chance, but is the result of ongoing, strategic planning and a commitment to take massive action.
Many people cringe when someone uses the word “work,” but it is only through work that we are truly happy. When we work on a career we are proud of, on a project or hobby that we’re passionate about, or on a relationship with someone we love, those are the moments in which we feel fulfilled.
If you haven’t done so already, decide today what’s important in your life, and if you have, be sure to make every single week count! Life is too short to leave the most important parts of our lives to chance… Don’t you think?
Creating a better tomorrow,