For all of us, we can afford the odd bad day where we don’t get stuff done and the day kind of goes away from us.
But the truth is we can’t afford to have bad weeks. The odd days are okay but a bad week is a big chunk of time, and you aren’t going to get it back.
We often hear ourselves saying “How is it that days went away from me?” Sound familiar?
You didn’t get the stuff done that you said you were going to get done.
You seem to get distracted. Why is it that you get distracted? Why is it that this happens to you?
You get to the end of the week and think, “ I just don’t feel that I’ve got as much done as I really would have liked to.”
And very often people say that what you’re not doing is planning your week which may well be true.
I obviously put a great store in planning. But, I think the secret sauce as to how we get better at the planning and the execution is doing regular reviews.
We plan so that we execute. We don’t do planning for its own sake.
But planning is not worth an awful lot if we don’t review. I’m not talking about annual review or anything like that but doing a weekly review.
When we look at getting better, it’s all about taking small baby steps or small increments. Those small steps over a period of time will make a very big difference.
This is a bit nerdy but I was looking at some stats from Formula One for a race there recently. The difference between first and second, in terms of time, was 0.03% of a second – a blink, right?
The difference in points between first and second in terms of points awarded was 39%!
So first only beat second by 0.03%. But they got 39% more points.
So if second had improved by a tiny amount, they would have flipped that over. And that’s what we’re looking for when we talk about reviews. We may not have the data that Formula 1 has but we have enough – how we measure!
We all get so busy – we get into projects, we start doing tasks, we finish them, and then immediately start off and do something else. And we don’t allow ourselves the time to review.
We must ask ourselves:
- What did I do well?
- What did I not do so well?
- What could I do differently?
- How can I change it going forward?
Let’s be honest, when we say, “Oh, that week went away from me”, it’s not the first time that we’ve all said that.
It’s not the first time you said that and it’s certainly not the first time I said that.
So we tend to repeat the same mistakes again and again and we want to change that!
Because in order to progress, we’ve got to cut down the mistakes and cut down the impact of those mistakes. So the only way we’re going to do that if we actually take the time to review.
What I’m talking about is to do this on a weekly basis, not on a monthly basis or a quarterly basis or an annual basis.
I’m not a fan of annual reviews. I don’t think they work and I think that they cause more problems than solve.
At the end of the week sit down and look at the plan for the week. And then look at the results that you got for the week.
Of everything that I planned, what did I achieve? What did I not achieve? What went well? Why did I achieve certain things? And why did I not achieve other things?
Because when we do that sort of review, then we take the learning into the next week. We just get better and just get marginally better the second week, the third week and fourth week, and so on.
So over a period of time, we have minimized the bad habits that we’ve fallen into. And we’re really becoming a lot more effective at completing and executing on the plans that we have.
So my advice to you is on a weekly basis is to sit down, have a look at the plan for the week and say:
What went well?
What didn’t go well?
What elements of my plans did I execute and complete? How did I do that?
Because you’ve got to take the learning from the positives.
What was it about the way I approached it that ensured that I got it done?
Then you look at, why did I not get some other things done? And you do exactly the same thing? What prevented me from doing it? What got in the way? What did I allow get in the way?
And then when I look at next week, what am I going to do more of, in order to get better? What am I going to do less of? What am I going to start doing? And what am I going to stop doing?
This is to take the learnings from last week. Then I’m going to set out planning the following week.
But once I have the plan, the trick is to schedule the time with yourself when you’re going to do the things that you’ve committed to doing in the following week.
Todd Herman and his 90-day plan is a great proponent of this approach. He talks about “blocking and tackling”, that you block off the time where you’re going to tackle the key things that you need to do.
I think that’s a massively important contributor to good execution. It’s a small thing, sounds like a small thing. But if you do it, then psychologically, you know when you’re starting the week that you have allocated time in your schedule to execute on the big things.
So my message to you from this is review.
Review everything every single week.
Try it out. And I’d love to hear your comments and views on that.
And I’d love to hear the impact that it has because I know I can guarantee you if you do that, you will execute more, you will deliver more and you will be more effective.
Talk to you soon.