If I had to sum up The 12 Week Year, I would have to say in a nutshell it was about breaking things down. Taking your yearly goals and ambitions, and breaking them down into 12 week sections. Very similar thinking to the book “Traction”. Taking baby steps to accomplish your goals. What I learned from reading the book was a lot of us have great intentions, and make goals every year, however in our day to day lives we get overwhelmed and we, like a train, sometimes get derailed, or fall off the tracks.
According to the authors of the book, there are three foundational principles that determine your success. 1) Accountability, stressing the importance of how we need to own it ourselves. We shouldn’t push our employees to be accountable, but to own the ideas themselves. 2) Commitment, a personal promise you make to yourself. If you keep your promise to others it builds stronger relationships and trust. If you keep promises to yourself it builds character, esteem and success. 3) Greatness in the moment. The authors mention that greatness is not achieved when the result is reached, but long before that, and that is when an individual makes a choice to do what they need to do to become great. For example, an individual that wins a gold medal at the Olympics achieves greatness the minute they decide that they will work 8 hours six days a week to perfect their routine, in addition to eating right and getting enough sleep.
What I struggle with a lot is time management, and the book does address this as well. The other day I got back from sales calls, and the minute I walked into the door I was pulled in by everyone wanting my attention and help. And even though I love to help out, I honestly didn’t get much done, when I should have been writing down my tasks and follow ups from my sales visits.
Currently, I do use a daily planner that I created. It includes an area for 3 daily projects, work tasks, leads I need to call, and follow-up tasks I need to check on. I feel that this helps, however getting in the habit of creating a new sheet for each day is where I struggle the most. It seems as though some tasks never get accomplished. That is where I in the book I thought the time blocks might really help me manage my time better.
The book stresses the importance of blocking out time to take control of your day, your week. For example, you need to carve out “strategic blocks” for those activities that are important but not urgent. As an example, working on your business, so that you stay focused on the big picture. These strategic blocks should be a block of 3 hours in length and should be scheduled early in the week, so that if something happens you can reschedule.
“Buffer blocks”, are typically 30 minutes-1 hour in length that deal with lower-level activity, and are scheduled one-two times per day. This could be going through your emails, making phone calls and other administrative activities.
“Breakout blocks” are designed to prevent burnout, and are also three hours in length, scheduled once per week. I have a hard time scheduling 3 hours for breakout blocks, however, going for a walk, coffee, or just doing something creative or different 1-2 hours will work for me. The other time on your calendar you should schedule other important tasks. The bottom line, is to plan out your week, and block out the necessary time blocks, in addition to your scheduling important tasks. Plain and simple, making a plan and sticking with it.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from the book was results happen because of the actions you take. It’s important to understand that nothing is going to change if you don’t take action, and sometimes you need to really switch up what you are doing to change the results you are getting. In recent months, we’ve struggled with trying to increase sales, and after reading this book I know what we need to do. (We’ll maybe not exactly.) However, I know that if we do something different, take different actions, our results will change. So, to the drawing board I go, it’s time to brainstorm, and take action!
If you’ve read the book, let me know what you think. Go to my Linked-In profile and connect with me, I’d love to hear what you have to say.