It’s common to deviate from plans as things come up during the week, but then you’re always trying to hit a moving target.
In today’s environment, it’s the results that count and when you set priorities, you maximize your chances of achieving the outcomes you want.
Today, I will give you a simple framework for setting weekly priorities.
Don’t delay your 2013 plans… order your planner refill today!
Rule of 3
The first tip is the Rule of 3 that says that you will only set three priorities for the week. Each Monday before you and your team get together, define 3 outcomes you want to achieve. No more, no less.
There is no magic formula for setting priorities because everyone has different priorities. There are different factors that determine what is considered important and what’s not.
- If you’re in sales you might have a goal to sell $10,000 worth of services in a week. On the other hand, you might be head of HR and you need to find a customer service replacement, so your priority might be to have five interviews scheduled for next week.
Try to think which activities have the biggest impact on you, your business or the company you work for. Those are the ones you should focus on and set priorities for.
The 4 Keys
Once you have set your three priorities for the week, the next step is to break them down into different components. This will help you ensure you’ve set the right priorities and that you will get started on them.
I call them the 4 Keys and each priority consists of:
- Defined Result
Let’s go over each with an example. Let’s assume for a moment that you have to file your taxes before the end of the week. Your outcome would be something along the lines of “Taxes filed.”
Now let’s break that down into the 4 keys:
- Name: Each priority needs to have a name that you and possibly others can reference by name. Name it so it’s actionable and if you mention it to someone else, they would know right away what it means. A bad example would be “taxes” whereas a good example would be “taxes filed before the weekend.”
- Reason: Every priority needs to have a strong reason why you want to accomplish it. This acts like a verification process to ensure that you have selected the right priority. If you can’t come up with a reason why this is important, you most likely have chosen the wrong priority. So you’ll have to start again by picking something else to work on. In our example, our reason could be “taxes are due next week” or “if I don’t do this I will pay penalty fees and interest on my taxes.”
- Process: Having a rough plan will maximize your chances to successfully achieve your desired outcome. You don’t have to write up a 51-step plan but having a rough idea of what you need to do will help. In this case we would need to get the correct forms, collect all financial statements and fill in the forms. Remember, you have a whole week to work on this. By having the major milestones in place, you give yourself some room to maneuver.
- Defined Result: Writing down what the end result looks like is very important. Be very clear with this. This will let you know when you are completely done. Otherwise, it’s very tempting to always keep adding stuff and then you’ll end up trying to hit a moving target. In our example, the defined result would be “tax forms filled in and sent to the tax authorities.”
Remember, first prioritize with the Rule of 3 and then assign the 4 Keys to each priority. When you do this every Monday you’ll have a clear roadmap through the end of the week.