This week I am creating my annual time block for 2014 and updating my ideal week. Without this exercise, the new year will be chaos. An annual time block guarantees that the important things get scheduled.
What gets scheduled gets tracked and what gets tracked gets done. Getting the important things down on my schedule gives the important things in life a chance to actually get done. December is a time for reflection and planning. It is also the perfect time to update or create an annual time block and ideal week.
During this process I analyze what worked this year. I also analyze the more important statistic of what did not work. For instance, I failed to stay connected to my outside team. The guys who handle our installations, midstream activity, and our CNG Storage Spheres did not get enough face time with me this year. I’ll schedule more of that on my annual time block.
I’m a huge fan of benchmarking. I use Michael Hyatt’s template. You can find it at the bottom of his home page or in this post.
I follow his approach and schedule the most important non-discretionary things first. I then move to the most discretionary things:
1. Company Holidays
2. Church Holidays
3. Industry Events
5. Board Meetings
6. Meetings with Outside Team
7. Business Review Meetings
8. Special Trips
9. Time With Friends
The key is to schedule what is important to you. If you don’t schedule it, I guarantee less important, seemingly urgent, things will crop up and squeeze out the important things in your life. You’ll wake up one day and wonder where all the time went. Worse, you’ll regret not having spent enough time on the important things.
This is a great time to take care of yourself because you and your family are often the first to be sacrificed when work gets crazy. Schedule important family events such as births or weddings. Pre-plan your vacations and plan time for social activities. By planning the non-discretionary items first, you can look at your whole year and find the most opportune times for family vacations and social activities. This way they have a better chance of happening.
The next thing I do is revamp my ideal week. The demands on my time are always changing. This reflective time is a good chance to realign my priorities and ensure that I’m allowing enough time in the day for what is most important.
The largest benefit of an ideal week is that it adds borders and forces you to delegate. If you find yourself spending more time on one thing than you have allotted for that activity, you need to delegate some of these tasks. By having these borders, you ensure that you’re forced to spend time on what is most important and delegate whatever doesn’t fit.
I allot time in the following order:
1. Faith – This is the most important thing. If I achieve nothing else all day, I’ll at least have taken care of my soul.
2. Self – This is like the oxygen mask on an airplane. If I’m not 100% I can’t give 100%, it’s that simple.
3. Family – These are the most important people to me. I make sure there is time set aside for them.
4. Advancing the company – Many companies find themselves stagnant. Growth is intentional.
5. Taking care of the company – Last, I give time to the day to day tasks. These are the first items to be delegated when my schedule is tight.
If you don’t fill your time with your priorities, someone else will fill it with theirs. Creating an annual time block and an ideal week guarantees you are living your own life. It also creates the kind of balance and borders you need to be successful as a leader.
What are your favorite exercised to prepare for the new year?