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“The more completely weekly goals are tied into a wider framework of correct principles and into a personal mission statement, the greater the increase in effectiveness will be.” Stephen R Covey

I recently met with a good friend and colleague who ambushed me (in a nice way) and asked for a bit of time management input. Right off the bat I was initially a bit ‘errr, ummmm, aaah’ but after a few seconds of confusion (resulting from the lack of the time available for the preparation I usually could have put into such valuable teaching) I knew what was needed. The Weekly Planning ‘Line of Sight’ approach reflected in the above quotation.

Many people plan in a vacuum, if they plan at all. Occasionally by virtue of their work responsibilities or other influence there isn’t a great deal of planning the see themselves able to do. Their work is identified for them by others, in advance, and their total input is just to see that it gets done. Their perception is therefore that they need not plan at all.

But that view doesn’t reflect the reality that we are ‘people’ 24/7 and the non-work time needs to be planned too, if it is to be of any value.

So the advice I gave my friend was to use the 6 Step Planning method used by Stephen Covey in the book First Things First, later edited, jiggled with and reframed by others, but nevertheless the original and best. To plan your week:

  1. Reconnect with your Mission. (Haven’t got one yet? HOW MANY MORE TIMES!) Re-read your PMS and decide what you are about.
  2. Identify your Roles. List the roles you will be acting this week, and omit those which have no part in this week’s intended activity. Leave them for next week. Or never.
  3. Set Goals for each Role. Set a goal or two for each role, a goal that will stretch you but stil direct you towards your intended destination.
  4. Schedule your priorities. Not prioritise your schedule. The former means planning to execute your priorities at scheduled times. The other means only deciding your appointments are important, and they might not be.
  5. Exercise Integrity in the Moment of Choice. That means doing what you intended unless a genuine emergency, or better PMS-orientated opportunity arises. And ONLY then.
  6. Evaluate your week. At the end of the week and start of the next, look at how well you performed – or not.

Where’s the line of sight? It’s Mission through planning to execution to success. I know that some things we are responsible for doing aren’t PMS related BUT if your PMS includes references to excellence in performance then even the things you don’t want to do as ‘things’ can still serve that part of your mission. (I wish I’d learned and committed to that a bit better before I retired.)

The result – higher self-esteem and a sense of satisfaction at a job done well, and movement towards what you have defined is important to you. Can’t ask for better.

I’m just off to plan my week; the personal and professional commitments that I have decided through my PMS will receive my fullest commitment, including “excellence in the study, understanding, observation and presentation of principled-centred personal leadership to my clients, recognising and supporting their need to be successful,” and to being “proactive and disciplined in the gap between desire and reluctance when doing what must be done.”

I’ve already “maintain(ed) both my body and my mind by putting into them that which serves their wellbeing, and by actively exercising both.” And my legs ache.

But the sense of accomplishment is great.

Do it – plan your week using the 6 step process, and if that is 7-steps because you haven’t written your PMS yet – make that a scheduled priority. You won’t believe the peace of the results even when you see them.