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How Successful People Plan Their Week

How Successful People Plan Their Week

Achieving success requires a set of weekly habits and practices. By implementing these ideas consistently, you will become proactive and set yourself apart from people who simply drag themselves through each day. As you read this article, ask yourself which ideas you could put into action this week. Reading an article about success is a start but it is not enough to achieve your goals.

1. They Complete A Weekly Review

It is easy to be swept away by the stress of daily living. That’s why successful people use the Weekly Review to put their work and life back into perspective. Once you learn how to do a Weekly Review, you can master this success habit in a matter of weeks. At first, use the Weekly Review to review your calendar, email accounts and other information sources. Over time, you may want to add further steps to your Weekly Review. Once you establish the habit, an effective Weekly Review will take about an hour to complete.

2. They Review Big Goals

Successful people are excited by their goals. They not only have a bucket list – they take action to achieve those goals on a weekly basis. In order to keep your motivation at a high level, it is vital to set challenging goals. For example, author Jack Canfield recently published his 101 Lifetime Goals which included go on a safari in Africa, give a university commencement address and sell 1 million books. To make the process easier on yourself, choose 2-4 big goals from the list for the year and work through them.

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3. They Plan Your Family Requirements With A Family Meeting

Successful people understand that family life matters. After all, what’s the point of making a fortune if you are alone and miserable? When it comes to running their week, successful people take note of their family responsibilities. That means sorting out school schedules, reviewing upcoming travel and planning dates with their spouse. In fact, you may even want to have a “family meeting” once a week to coordinate plans and make sure nothing important is forgotten.

4. They Put Their Priorities On The Calendar

Successful people live through their calendars. At first glance, a calendar may not appear to be a powerful tool However, successful people realize that a blank calendar represents a major opportunity to make progress. For example, I set aside time on my calendar for reviews, following up on management requests and writing projects. It may feel a little odd to create a “meeting with yourself” at first but it is well worth it, especially when you look back on all that you have achieved.

5. Plan Your Leisure and Relaxation

Successful people are driven to achieve demanding goals and take care of their responsibilities. They also realize that leisure and relaxation matter – without these activities, life will feel like an a never ending to-do list. Many high achieving people have hobbies and sometimes work so much that they forget to pursue them. For example, those who enjoy wine may do a Google search for upcoming wine tastings in their city and register for an event that suits their calendar.

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6. They Think Through The Weekend

Weekends are important for successful people looking to refresh and recharge after a difficult week. Author Laura Vanderkam explored this topic at length in her book “What the Most Successful People Do On the Weekend.” It all starts with a proactive attitude – a good and refreshing weekend does not simply happen. Planning one or two “anchor events” (e.g. go to a sports game or visit an interesting restaurant) is a great way to make sure you have a pleasant activity to look forward to.

7. They Plan Fitness

Fitness is a great element to living a successful and full life. In fact, entrepreneur Michael Hyatt recently discussed the mental and physical benefits of strength training. Fitness is an excellent way to reduce stress and maintain high energy levels. Many successful people have an established morning routine where they fit in an exercise session before they start work. Cutting exercise is rarely a wise decision for those who care about their long term success.

8. They Practice Gratitude Each Day

Successful people often reflect on their success and the wonderful aspects of life. Simply acknowledging all the good things in life is a key insight that authors Tony Robbins and James Altucher practice to maintain a clear mind and a happy attitude. One highly effective way to practice gratitude is to use the Five Minute Journal. Writing about what you are grateful for is a great way to end the day.

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9. They Schedule Time For Follow Up

Successful people know that reminders and follow up are essential habits to get work done. Like it or not, sending a single email is rarely enough to get a job done in the corporate world. Successful people often schedule 15-30 minutes on their calendar at least once per week to follow up on requests, problems and other important matters. For guidance on following up professionally, use the following resource: 7 Tactics of Following Up Without Being Annoying. The follow up skill also applies outside of the business world – following up on vacation plans, orders and planning important events such as wedding anniversaries.

10. They Know The Limits of Planning

As successful people approach their week, they understand the limits of planning. From time to time, emergencies will happen. You may walk into the office on Monday morning and learn that an important customer is angry about a late delivery. That’s why flexibility remains important. Fortunately, planning and taking a proactive approach to work tends to minimize the number of problems and emergencies you will face in life.

Featured photo credit: Large Clock/AndreaTasselli via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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