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Today, after this post, I will undergo a process. A 6-step process that underlines last week and starts this one. It is the process outlined and encouraged by the Covey ‘school’ before it became the ‘FranklinCovey’ school and they watered it down a teeny tad and reduced it to four steps.

It is the Weekly Planning Process that many implement on their last weekday of work, some on the first day, and some more before the weekend because work isn’t the centre of their existence. Lucky people.

The process goes thus:

  1. Review your Mission. Look at what you have already decided is most important to you, because focusing on the important is more effective that focusing on the urgent. The urgent has its place, but if your life is all about the urgent, it is rarely about the important. The urgency mind-set results in ‘in your face’ living and it puts family, personal success and quality of life into second place behind things which are either unimportant, or which became urgent because you failed to plan to do them when they weren’t.
  2. Review your Roles. We all have roles. The main one for most of us if asked relates to our job title, and job responsibilities. Some have more than one ‘work’ role, some just man a till – but all work is noble, it’s just the variance and diversity of accountabilities and responsibilities which require review. Other roles relate to family if you are lucky enough to have one, community, hobbies and yourself.
  3. Set goals in each role. Which isn’t necessary every week, but asking the question ensures that no role is incorrectly ignored. Nevertheless, knowing in advance what you want to get done, what you are going to do about that, and when you are going to do it massively affects what level of success you are going to achieve. Doing this planning at the start of the week means you have preparation for each goal presented to the front of your mind early enough to maximise the level of performance when you actually act.
  4. Schedule your priorities. Many people make a list of ToDos and put an A by the important things and a B by the less important but desirable tasks and a C by the ‘if I musts’, then work their lists on the basis of convenience rather than importance. Their Cs get done first. But if you have an A and turn it into an appointment, it gets done at the best time because YOU have decided when that will be.
  5. Integrity in the moment of choice. This is the point when you look at a task, decide you really don’t want to do it – and then do it, anyway. It’s going for a run when you’re tired. It’s writing that report knowing it will take all day. It’s visiting that relative who you love but who lives just-a-bit-too-far-away and you’ve had a long day. But it is the point ay which your values are met, and it’s worth electing to act as intended. No guilt.
  6. Evaluate the week. This could be done before you start or at the end. People prefer, as a rule, to plan next week first, but the evaluation phase is where you assess whether you did act with integrity in the moment of choice, or not. Where you acted with integrity or didn’t. It includes assessing a change of plan and deciding yes, that change was necessary and perfectly legitimate.

It’s systematic, and it works. Later tomes by the source of this plan tool away elements 1 and 6, to their detriment. It turned valuable and effective introspection into purely ‘what-do-I-gotta-do’ thinking, which has a moderate level of effectiveness but interrupts the personal development learning that comes from living.

And learning from living is the best way because life isn’t trying to lie to us and isn’t biased by being a union-card carrying teacher…….