In today’s fast-paced world, maximizing productivity is key to success in both personal and professional life. Setting goals that enable you to feel one strategy that has gained significant popularity is the 12-week Year approach. This strategy was developed by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. It works by condensing the traditional annual goals into more manageable 12-week intervals. Doing so helps both individuals and businesses achieve more in a shorter time frame.
When I first read about the 12 12-week year, I was excited to give it a try. However, the first few attempts I was unable to fully complete it. However, this fall, I was able to complete my 12-week year. And I have gained so many insights and learnings from it! In this article, we will explore how to implement the 12-week year strategy effectively. As well as share tips for setting achievable goals, and provide guidance on maintaining momentum throughout the entire process.
Understanding the concept of productivity
Productivity is the key to achieving success in both professional and personal life. It’s a measure of how efficiently we use our time to produce results. We can’t alter time itself, as it is a finite resource, but we can control what we do within that time to make the most of it. By increasing our productivity, we can improve our performance in all areas of our life and achieve our goals more effectively.
The key to being more productive is having a reason for wanting to increase your work productivity. While there is satisfaction in completing as many tasks as possible on your to-do list, without a purpose behind your productivity, you won’t be as efficient with your time, which will bring you back to where you started.
When working with clients who want to be more productive, the first thing I ask is, “What are your goals?” Without understanding your “why,” it can be difficult to move forward. That’s why I created the Purposeful Productivity Framework, which can help you achieve maximum productivity in all areas of your life.
The Purposeful Productivity Framework has four steps:
- Purpose: Identify the focus areas in your life that you want to increase your efficiency and why.
- Process: Within each area, identify each step you take to accomplish specific tasks.
- Polish: Audit any of the existing workflows to find areas to improve
- Produce: Revamp your system or routine that allows you to get more done efficiently
When you’ve done the work to be intentional about how you work and what you want to accomplish, you can see the actions you need to take more clearly. Having clarity provides you with the direction to be more effective and to get more out of each day in a way that isn’t overwhelming.
Benefits of implementing the 12-Week Year Strategy
The 12-week year system is the perfect system for setting and achieving goals because it creates a lot more of a sense of urgency. Rather than giving yourself a year to get everything that you’ve wanted to accomplish done, you’re giving yourself 12 weeks. This forces you to stay more intentional and more focused on what it is that you want to do and what it is that you want to accomplish.
I found that the 12-week year has helped me to get clear on what is important to me right now and what is it that I can realistically commit to trying to get done right now. There are a lot of things that I’ve said that I want to do, and that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to do it throughout the year. With the 12-week year your primary focuses have been laid out and then once that year is complete you can move on to any other priorities that may come up.
Setting clear goals for the 12-weeks period
To achieve more within the 12 weeks your goals should be clear and focused on what outcome you want to see. One way of ensuring that your goals are clear enough for the twelve weeks is making sure they are specific and measurable. Having specific and measurable goals ensures that you know exactly what you are working towards and that you can make any necessary adjustments that are needed as the week progresses.
It’s important to note that measurable goals don’t all have to be tied to a specific or numerical output. For example, you can have goals that are focused on building better habits or improving your relationships. The important thing is that you know what you’re desired output to be and that you can break down what exactly you need to do to reach that outcome.
Breaking down goals into actionable tasks
Now that you’ve outlined your goals, the next step is to outline what actionable steps you’re going to take. Outlining what actions you are going to take weekly or daily is going to be what helps you stay accountable to yourself or your team as well as stay on track. While you may not be able to do all of those actions within a given week, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what tasks you feel confident will help you reach your goals.
Creating a weekly and daily plan
Now that you have listed out what your plan is for each of the steps, it’s time to put them into a weekly plan. Take each task that you’ve listed and ask yourself how often you need to do them. Is it daily? Weekly? Every other week? By creating a plan every week, you’ll be able to understand what your capacity is and make any necessary adjustments. Every week in your 12-week year you need to outline what your goals are and what actions you need to take that week to work towards your goal.
One of the things I enjoyed about the 12-week year system is scoring. You outline your different tasks for each of your goals as well as the frequency in which you plan on doing them within a given week. The 12-week year has this concept of scoring which can be helpful, especially for keeping yourself accountable. If you complete all of the actionable tasks in that week for that given week you can score yourself 100% if you miss one, you score yourself according to the percentage of the the tasks that you were able to complete for that week. I find this accountability especially helpful at the end of your 12 weeks because if you reach the end of the year and you didn’t achieve the goals that you wanted, you’re able to at least know the areas or the places in which you fell short and know what you need to do next time.
Effective time management techniques
Mastering time management is crucial for achieving goals, increasing productivity, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. To effectively manage your time, you must develop a systematic approach and prioritize tasks while setting clear goals. By allocating your time wisely, you can minimize the overwhelming feeling of a never-ending to-do list and create more room in your day to accomplish what truly matters. Here are some time management techniques that I will help you when it comes to completing your 12 week:
- Daily planning: Every day, I look at my to-do list and my calendar and write it down on a physical planner. This helps me identify what gaps I have in the day for me to complete the tasks.
- Use your calendar: While you may think that you’ll just remember certain things, having them on a calendar ensures that you won’t forget. Using your calendar for not just meetings but for appointments, tasks, and social engagement can help make sure that nothing is falling through the cracks.
- Avoid multitasking: While it may seem like you’re getting more done by multitasking, it’s less efficient. Instead, focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention.
Tracking progress and staying accountable
When it comes to goal setting and tracking, it was something that I personally really struggled with. While I like to consider myself a disciplined go-getter and someone who is always keeping track of things, however, when it comes to setting my own goals and holding myself accountable towards them, I used to get afraid. I think I was really afraid of those days when it seemed like I was not making progress but I realized that that is all a part of the journey. Now, I see setting and tracking goals as the way to show up for myself and hold myself accountable for my progress. Setting goals allows you to be more intentional towards your development whether it be for your business or your personal life.
Overcoming common challenges in implementing the 12-Week Year Strategy
One of the biggest challenges of a lot of peace when trying to work through the twelve-week year is seeing it all the way through. As I said in my earlier blog post, it took me about three tries before it stuck and I can see it through. Here are some tips and insights that I’ve learned that will help you work through your twelve-week year.
Make your goals something that focuses on your input.
One of my goals that I had for this year was to get a new job. Each of the strategies that I had under each goal was things that I could do to make that happen (chatting with recruiters, applying online, studying, interviewing) whereas another goal I had was to grow my following. While my input was still needed (in terms of creating content), I had less control over whether or not that goal could be accomplished. Having goals that you can confidently say that if you do all of these things then you should be able to achieve that goal is key.
Some goals are simply just for build habits
My fitness goal for the year was to get stronger/healthier. I didn’t want to attach any numbers to it because I was mainly focused on building a good fitness routine that worked for my schedule and that I liked. Now that the year is over I feel like I’ve started to like working out and being active which is something I probably couldn’t have said 3 months ago. (I also was able to achieve a new PR for my back squats which I am proud of too). You must be aware of what you want your desired outcome for your week-to-week focus to be clear and actionable.
Know your capacity
Not everything is going to get accomplished and achieved in the same way every single time. When I was going 100% at working towards getting a new job, some of my other goals weren’t working towards that week at all. I learned over time that throughout the year I need to adjust my expectations to meet my reality. While it is important to have stretch goals that will push you, you want to make it realistic to other things week to week that might be disrupting you.
Using Notion to Plan Your 12-Week Year
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, Notion is my primary hub for organizing everything that I have in my business, my career, and my personal life. I used Notion to plan and track my twelve-week year and he’s how.
My Priority: Learning French
For this priority, I outlined what my strategies will be to tackle this goal. In this case, I planned on Studying for 30 mins 4x a week, attending 2 Live Lessons, and watching 1 Show.
Planning out my Week
For each week I had to learn French as my priority, I outlined the strategies I was going to do for that week and how many times I was going to do it.
For each day that I did the strategy, I made sure to mark it so that I could increase my score by working towards that priority.
Review & Reflect
Once your 12 weeks are complete, it’s time to review the whole year in its entirety and see where you want to make improvements. For me, I took a week break before jumping into the next year so that I could better plan for the year.
Conclusion and final thoughts
Implementing the 12-week year strategy requires a shift in your mindset and a clear understanding of your goals. Breaking down long-term objectives into smaller, actionable tasks allows for better focus and increased accountability. To successfully implement the 12-week Year strategy, it’s crucial to set realistic and measurable goals, establish a clear action plan, and prioritize tasks effectively. Additionally, weekly reviews and reflections are essential to ensure continuous improvement as well as change your strategies if needed. If you’re ready to get more done using the 12-week year strategy, grab my 12-week Year Notion template and get started.