• Building connections’ to expand your circle of influence and support for achieving your goals.
• Reducing your stress and freeing up hours by knocking out ‘unfinished task’
• Tracking expenses, appointments, contacts, and much, much, more on a single sheet
Why having a Daily Written Action Plan is critical
Once you have clearly determine what you want to accomplish in the next 90 days, you must take action every day. It only takes small steps to reach your future goals. When you choose to do what you say you will do, your success in life boils down to a series of simple “yes” or “no” questions.”
All the best intentions in the world are worthless until you act upon them. We have found no better way to move from intention to action than to follow a simple process of think, write, and do. The goal of this guide, is to help you through that process with a single systematic repeatable format we call The Crafty Daily Progress Report pages.
These pages, as your daily written action plan, are critical for three reasons:
First, these pages will help you plan your work in a way that reduces stress and maximises productivity. Specifically, you’ll reduce unfinished tasks, increase focus on high value activities,and increase connections.
Second, the daily progress pages will raise your awareness of critical elements necessary for great health and energy. Simple daily prompts will trigger you to examine how you care for and nurture your mind, body, and spirit. This is so critical because your ability to act will always be defined by your energy level.
Third, the daily progress pages will provide a single place to record your progress and any important information you need to recall. If you’re prone to recording phone numbers on napkins, to-do lists on the back of envelopes, or messages on scraps of paper only to scramble to find them later, you’ll be relieved to know those days are over
Your written action plan on the daily progress pages is the key to prioritising, organising and simplifying your life at home.
Planning your work
What will I do…Get It Done:Five Before Noon
A Five Before Noon list is a list of the highest-value activities that you are willing to commit to completing before 12:00 a.m. The best time to create this list is just before you leave the office for the afternoon or at the end of your day. If you do not come through the door with a written action plan of high value activities and an intention to achieve those activities first, your time will likely get devoured by other less important tasks.
Your life will be radically different if you start every day knowing what five specific actions steps you must take that morning in order to get closer to reaching your goals. Many people report that this single productivity strategy when rigorously maintained has doubled their productivity. The key is to make sure that these tasks are high value. During the week your Five Before Noon list is likely to be geared toward helping you achieve your work goals. On the weekend you may focus more on social or civic obligations and household duties.
Work-week Five Before Noon examples:
Create meeting agenda for new conference
Contact Heather regarding new account documentation
Schedule meeting to introduce new product
Send contract to attorney
Meet with Susan regarding proposal deadline
Complete cardio workout
Write thank-you letter to Ann
Practice guitar for thirty minutes
Return books and pick up a new one from the library
Have breakfast with my daughter
Notice that these activities don’t have to be large tasks. They can take only a few moments. We call these micro-actions. The key is that they must be high value. Imagine the change that could happen in your life if you consistently achieved five high value tasks for the next ninety days. That would be four hundred and fifty actions taken toward the completion of your goals.
Business and Personal Connections
This might be a prospective customer, someone you could network with, or even a friend. Creating a master list of business and personal connections that you would like to nurture is really helpful to have. Go back to that list regularly and transfer three names every day to your Daily Progress Pages.
As with any to-do list, it is important to actually do what you’ve set out to accomplish. However, for a variety of reasons some tasks just don’t get done. Each of these tasks is a silent stress that is diminishing your energy and diverting your attention.
Each day on your daily progress report pages if you will plan on completing unfinished task you’ll rapidly free up time and attention. To do so, create two lists: unfinished tasks at home, and unfinished tasks at work. Use the links below to download copies of our unfinished tasks worksheets at
As you brainstorm a master list of unfinished tasks think of any incomplete tasks you have from the smallest to the largest. You may have an unfinished tasks as small as replacing a button on a shirt or as large as completing your taxes.
Raise your awareness
It is often said, “The first step to solving a problem is recognising there is a problem.” The Daily Progress Report pages are designed to elevate your awareness of the core elements of a healthy and productive life.
You will find on the bottom of Daily Progress Page 1 an area to track your:
Each one of these elements, plays an important role in having a productive life filled with energy. Just by tracking these items for a few minutes a day, you will become consciously aware of whether or not you are giving each of these areas the attention they deserve. This awareness can drive you to act in your health’s best interest. Doing so will pay huge future dividends as your energy grows, knowledge deepens, and over health increases.
What I spent
Financial stress is a major stress for many people. Good financial management begins with awareness
of your spending habits.
it is often said that, “Successful people are simply willing to do what unsuccessful people are not.” Business is about contact – daily contact. If you are a corporate leader, you must contact your managers, vendors, and most important, your customers, every day.
If you’re in sales, your success depends on the number of people to whom you present your product and how well you deliver customer service
The daily progress pages are designed to help you track the people you contact. To the left of the daily contacts section you’ll see a series of dashes. These dashes allow you to track how many people you attempt to contact. You have no control over the number of people you actually contact, but you do have control over how many people with whom you try to get in touch.
You may already handle your appointments using an electronic calendar on your computer or smart phone. Continue to do so if that works well for you, but consider at the end of the day recording your meetings and appointments here as well. This practice of having a single reference point is also extremely helpful in doing a quick review of your day.
Track your progress
You can use this section to note voice mail messages you have received, ones you have left, or even important notes that come up during phone conversations.
People use this space in many ways. This space can be a catch-all space for reminders and other notes. I spoke to someone who lists items that don’t get done in this space. I personally like to make a short bullet point evaluation of what went well and what didn’t go well. So for me, this is a reflection space. You can define its use anyway you like. Which brings us to the most important item on the daily progress pages.
Did I do what I said I would do?
Is it really possible to simplify your life down to one questions? Yes. Not only is it possible, but also it’s necessary in order to meet your goals. Once you have clearly defined your priorities, articulated your purpose in life, and established written goals and action steps to fulfil your purpose, then the only thing left for you to do is do it!
A daily written action plan empowers you to say what you want to do and do what you say you’ll do. When you set a goal you are creating an emotional commitment between yourself and that goal. It is the tiny wins – the small daily accomplishments – that encourage you to continue making the right choices, like choosing how much sleep you will get, what you will eat, how much water you will drink, and finishing your 5 before Noon. It really is as simple as doing what you say you’ll do.
This is simplicity - and, simplicity brings an incredible sense of joy
1. Choosing to do urgent tasks for your 5 before Noon list rather than high value tasks.
People gravitate toward any action that is urgent in nature. Resist placing urgent tasks on your five before Noon list unless they are also high value tasks. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself on a treadmill of being busy.
2. Not completing the purpose, priorities, and goals worksheets prior to using Daily Progress Report pages.
If you daily action plan is not driven by your own purpose, priorities, and goals, you find yourself living in someone else’s expectations. This can lead to resentment, unnecessary stress, a lack of feeling fulfilment and even burn-out.
3. Answering the question “Did I do what I said I would do?’ with a ‘NO’, but not figuring out why.
The whole point of this question is to prompt you to examine your day. If you answer ‘NO’, come up with ideas about what you need to do differently so that tomorrow is a resounding ‘YES.’ I will never forget the rush of joy and deep peace that came over me the first time I could honestly tell myself, “You did everything you said you would today.”
4. Failing to create your 5 before Noon list prior to the day beginning.
This was mentioned above, but is nevertheless, often overlooked. Set aside a few minutes at the end of your work day or evening to intentionally plan your most important activities prior to coming through the door of work; otherwise, they will most likely just get crowded out.
What makes something a high value tasks?
First, ask yourself is this task in alignment with my purpose, priorities, or goals? Any task that helps fulfill one of these core elements of a productive life will be a high-value task. Second, ask yourself, “Is this task one of the best ways I can get the results I’m desiring? In short, a task may be high-value because it yields a very high return.
There is a time management principle called the Pareto principle. Which states, “80% of our results come from 20% of our activity.” Try to identify those 20% activities that are generating your best results. These will be very high value uses of your time.
GUIDE TO GOALS
In this guide, you’ll receive step-by-step guidance on setting goals, as well as, receive tips and strategies that will help you succeed in consistently reaching your goals. Specifically, you’ll learn…
• The one step you must do BEFORE writing your goals so they will meet your hopes and expectations, express your highest priorities, and accomplish what’s important, not urgent.
• The threefold powerful formula of making goals “present tense, sensory loaded, and positively stated”
• The four most common mistakes you need to avoid so you don’t sabotage obtaining your goals
• The power and importance of having a ‘stretch goal’
Why 90-Day goals are critical
You probably desire changes in your life or you wouldn’t be reading this guide. Perhaps, you yearn to be a better spouse. May be you desire being healthier, weighing less, or having more energy. Perhaps, you hope to earn more, receive a promotion, or even change jobs. A goal is a clear picture of what your life would be like, if you succeeded in making those changes.
In essence goals are the finish line. They tell you—You’ve made it. You’ve done well. Great Job!
Without goals, you’re running a race with no finish line. Do you feel that way? Do you feel as if you are running about getting things done, but never accomplishing much?
With goals, you will discover that you possess greater energy and enthusiasm for life. You’ll possess more joy, and experience the deep satisfaction of valued accomplishment.
Good news. Today is the day you create clear compelling goals that produce meaningful change in your life. You will finally have finish lines. You’ll know where you’re going and how to get there.
Before you start working on this worksheet
We will specifically focus on setting 90 Day Personal Goals in this guide. Also, we have included the 90 Day Work Goals, Financial Goals, and Life Goals worksheets in this guide. You can use the same principles and steps to complete the other worksheets.
You must take two important steps prior to completing the goal’s worksheet (and this is where 90% of people go wrong before they even get started).
Step 1: Clearly identify your highest values.
Step 2: Clearly identify your life purpose.
DO NOT skip those sheets before writing your goals. Here’s why…
What matters most to you needs to be fully present in your mind, BEFORE you start drafting your goals.
Otherwise, you will create goals (and I know this from experience) driven by other people’s hopes and expectations, low priority influences, and what feels urgent. None of those may be in your best interest or bring a satisfying sense of accomplishment.
Goals set from your highest values though will be inherently…
· YOUR hopes and expectations
· High priority
· Important, not urgent
So, if you haven’t done the Prioritise and Purpose Worksheets, PLEASE do yourself a HUGE favour and complete those right now before moving forward
How to complete this worksheet
Step 1: Review Your Highest Priorities and Life Purpose, then Brainstorm.
What would you accomplish at work?
• How would your home life be?
• What experience would you like to have that you aren’t having now?
• How would your health and relationships be?
• What habits or routines would you have in place?
• Whose life would you touch and how?
You might also consider similar questions around the various roles that you have, such as, parent, volunteer with an organisation, member of a church or civic club, employee, employer, or manager.
Step 2: Write goals that are present tense, sensory loaded, and positively stated.
Goals that possess these three characteristics above are clear, compelling, and dynamically inspiring goals. The thing is…you don’t want to just create goals that make sense. You want goals you highly desire.
Here’s what these terms mean and why they are important:
A. Present tense
Do not state your goal as something you are going to achieve, but write it as if it’s already happened. For example, instead of “Lose 15 pounds” write, “I love being 15 pounds thinner.”
Strategically, a present tense goal gives you an extra edge for succeeding. It creates a tension that cries out to be resolved. Your brain is being told that your goal is achieved, but it knows better. To resolve this tension, you’ll instinctively take action steps consistent with what your brain has been told is already real.
B. Sensory loaded
If you put feeling words, or words that paint a picture, you will engage more of your brain. You’ll specifically engage the brain in a way that your goal is not just rationally a good idea, but is physically a desirable place to be. For example, let’s tweak our last goal so it is sensory loaded.
How about, “I love having more energy and stamina and looking better now that I am 15 pounds thinner.”
C. Positively stated
Don’t state a goal in terms of what you don’t want. Doing so is actually building neural pathways around the problem not the solution. You want to create as much surface area in our brain around the solution as you possibly can. Let’s adjust our goal one more time so that it is positively stated. “I love looking great and the energy, and stamina of being only 175 pounds.”
Can you see how much more compelling our goal is now?
Compare the first version of our goal with the last.
“Lose 15 pounds”
Can you imagine how different you would feel about losing weight if you said the latter statement every
day until you hit your goal weight? Which one do you want to program your mind with?
Step 3: Double-check your goals against your priorities and purpose Do your goals align with your personal values and purpose? If you achieved this goal, how would your life change? How much joy would it bring you? How proud would you be for accomplishing the goal?
Depending on how you answer those questions, do you still feel good about the goals you’ve written. Or, do you need to go back and rework your goals? This is really critical--if you set goals that do not align with your values and purpose, you will struggle to stay motivated and the goals will add little value to your life.
Take as much time as you need. It’s imperative for you to get your goals right. They can be tiny or grand. The scope of the goal does not matter, what matters is that the goal matters. In other words, the goal must be meaningful to you or it won’t positively transform your life.
For example, one of John Arnold’s personal goals last year was: “I have so much fun being a banjo player who can joyfully play lightning fast classic bluegrass pieces and soul soothing old school hymns.”
This goal is in alignment with 3 of his top 10 values: Creativity, Experiencing New Things, and Down time.
It also “Brings joy to other people” which is one aspect of his purpose in life. (Incidentally, 15 months after writing this goal, he played banjo on a music team for a weekend retreat. That’s the power of goals!)
Once you feel good about your goal, record it on the worksheet and set a deadline for when you will complete it.
Step 4: Define action steps
Action steps are the efforts that move you toward the finish line of your goal. As you work on your action steps, be specific. Consider micro-actions that will move you forward. For example, here are some action steps regarding our hypothetical weight loss goal
Walk briskly in my neighbourhood for thirty minutes three times a week.
• Drink eight glasses of water each day and stop drinking soda.
• Start eating a healthy and lean breakfast each morning.
Depending on what your goal is, you might be able to readily write down all of the action steps necessary to reach a goal. If not, it’s okay to just write the first three to five action steps for each goal.
Step 5: Schedule your action steps.
Each day when you plan, the first thing that you should place on your calendar, to-do list, or other planning tool, are your action steps toward your goals. Then decide what other activities to work on. I highly encourage you to use The Crafty Daily Planner if you’re not already, because the daily progress pages are designed to support you in doing this.
Lastly, schedule realistically and don’t over-commit. Life happens in unexpected ways. It’s far better for you to consistently achieve small action steps than to fail to achieve huge intentions.
Step 6: Review your progress regularly and record your outcomes
At the beginning of a quarter, read your goals aloud each day until you can recite them reflexively. Also, at least weekly, review your progress on each goal.
Record any outcomes along the right side of the worksheet. Consider secondary outcomes you never considered and celebrate those. For example, in losing weight you might discover that you now sleep better at night and have stopped snoring. Those are wins! Honour them by recording them. This will increase your confidence.
1. Not making goals specific enough.
For example, “lose weight” vs. “I weigh 175 pounds” or, “make more money” as opposed to “earn an additional £250 per month.”
2. Setting all the deadlines at the end of the 90 days.
Space out the accomplishment of your goals. Focus time and energy upon only a handful at a time. Otherwise, you’ll dabble at all your goals six to eight weeks and then scramble to pull them off in the last minute. (Usually, with poor results.) The success of achieving one or two goals in the first thirty days, gives you an amazing boost of confidence and energy to tackle the others.
3. Failing to have a ‘stretch’ goal.
Conventional goal-setting wisdom says, make all of your goals realistic or achievable. If you want to significantly grow, you must take risks. You need goals that challenge you to change who you are and how you work. We call these ‘stretch goals’. Include a stretch goal at least once per quarter.
4. Not making goals measurable.
How will you know you obtained your goal? Be sure you have clear benchmarks for measuring your progress and completion. For example, if you look back at John’s banjo goal, he was extremely specific in stating that he could play three classic banjo tunes and three hymns.
Frequently asked questions
How many goals should I have?
This is highly subjective and will vary for people. Having a dozen overarching goals for the year and only six to eight goals for any given quarter is not uncommon. This varies tremendously from person to person.
What if I realise my goal is unrealistic?
Beginning goal-setters are prone to over estimate what they can achieve on a short-term basis and underestimate what the can do for a long-term basis. Unobtainable goals demoralise you. Reviewing goals weekly will rapidly reveal goals that you aren’t strongly committed to or were not realistic. That’s fine.
Drop or adapt the goal immediately. Goals are always a work in progress.
How do I write a goal when I don’t have a quantifiable way to measure it?
Try to identify a qualitative metric. For example, you might be trying to create a more caring and positive work environment. Ask yourself what would you see happen if you succeed? Your goal might be, “I enjoy being in a caring, positive work environment where people regularly ask me what I need, affirm my ideas, and we laugh a lot as we do our work.”
What if I fail to meet my goals, especially my stretch goal?
Learn from it. Period. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re probably still miles ahead of where you had been and even if you aren’t, just evaluate what went wrong. If necessary, recast a more realistic goal and go at it again.
What's Your Purpose
Understanding your unique purpose is at the heart of not only greater productivity, but greater accomplishment and greater joy.
Why understanding your purpose is critical
Discovering or rediscovering your purpose should be a top priority for three reasons:
First, purpose gives meaning.
You will feel that you are making a difference in the world and that your life has meaning when you know your purpose. Without purpose you will cram your life full of activity, but never feel accomplished. Whereas, purposed-filled action results in a profound sense of satisfaction.
Many times we have seen people moved to tears when they finally articulate in writing their deepest heartfelt sense of purpose. They suddenly realise, “I matter, I make a difference.”
Second, purpose directs action.
Your purpose will help you select goals that resonate with what matters most to you. Your purpose also directs your choices by giving you a decision filter. Tough decisions can be confidently made often times by simply asking the question, “Will this choice fulfil my purpose or not?”
Third, purpose provides power.
Friedrich Nietzche once said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Your purpose is the ‘why’ behind what you do. Whenever you meet obstacles, become drained, or despairing, turn to your purpose and you will find renewed energy and strength.
The 3 elements of an actionable purpose statement
Three basic tenets about purpose:
Look closely at those statements and you’ll realise three core elements to purpose: a Recipient, a Role, and a Result. We’re going to examine each one of these now. As we do, take notes about questions we’ll be raising. John Arnold has interjected his answers, so that you can see how these elements might look in a person’s purpose statement.
1. Your Recipient.
The tenets above simply refer to purpose as what you do for others. Who or what concerns you deeply? What needs do you see in the world that tug at your heart? Is there a change you would love to see happen? If so, who would benefit from that change? Answers to questions like these point to the recipient of your purpose.
For me, I am concerned about people who are missing out on the beauty of life. People who are burdened by stress and directionless and perhaps not even realising it — people yearning for more out of life. I am also concerned for my family and want to equip and encourage them to become the best versions of themselves. Who are you concerned about?
Note: The focus of your purpose could also be something like the environment or a cause.
What’s important is that you identify the need you want to meet. Who are what is the object of that need? What is the problem you would love to solve and who or what will benefit. Therein lies your recipient.
2. Your Role.
You have unique gifts, talents, and passions that drive you. You live out your purpose through these attributes. They define the role you play in making a difference.
Author Fredrich Buechner says, “Vocation is where your deep glad meets the world’s deep need.”
What he calls vocation I would call purpose.
So what’s your deep glad? What do you love to do? What are you great at? How do you like to make a difference? What do people praise you for? What skills do you have?
For me, I love writing and creating. I love teaching. I love equipping people with very practical, tools, tips, and strategies. I like being a blessing with the blessings I have received.
What about you? Think in terms of verbs and actions as you consider your role.
3. Your Result.
If you met a deep need in the world, what would be the result? What impact do you want to make? What legacy do you want to leave? What is the ultimate hope for the difference you will make?
I often times refer to the result as the “so that…” portion of a purpose statement. For example, I do what I do, so that people live profoundly meaningful and epic lives and so that, they can see, feel, and experience the fullness of life’s beauty. That’s the result for which I strive.
A short purpose statement for me including the three core elements might look like this: “My purpose is to help people who are stressed out and yearning to have a better life, by equipping them with practical tips, tools, and strategies for time management, so that, they might become fully alive to the beauty of life.”
Do you see the recipient, role, and result in this statement? Your statement doesn’t have to be this tightly constructed. In fact, when you write yours, do not overthink it. Instead, write quickly and let the words flow from your heart.
When Allyson wrote her first purpose statement she did so in just seven minutes. Here it is. See if you can spot the core elements.
Allyson’s Purpose Statement
My purpose in life is GROWING. In life, I want to grow and change. I want to be different tomorrow than I am today. I want to grow as a wife – to be more in love with my husband, to hold hands more often, to enjoy long talks into the night, and to share our hopes and dreams. I want to grow as a mother—to watch my children mature into their own destinies. I want to grow as a spiritual person—to become kinder, wiser, more hopeful, and more understanding. I want to grow my skills as a financial adviser and help my clients grow their assets. I want to work at my job with joy and honesty and integrity. I want each day to be filled with fun and excitement and challenge. And, I want to help others bring about meaningful changes in their own lives by sharing my discoveries and ideas. My purpose in life is fulfilled by growing and through helping others grow.
How to complete this worksheet
Step 1: Connect
Connect with your deepest motivations before writing your statement. Ideally, you want to identify your top ten values using Life’s Prioritise Worksheet before writing your purpose statement. If you have already done so, take a moment and review your highest values. If not, download the prioritise worksheet here or continue on and complete it later.
Your values tremendously motivate and influence your life. Values also drive purpose. Once again, reflect on the three core elements above and review any notes you might have taken as you read.
Lastly, on the right side of the Discovering Your Purpose Worksheet you will see a place to write seven things that you love about life. This list may include foundational items, like your faith, your family, and your work. It may also include many of the simpler aspects of your life that you love, such as spending time with your kids, reading, hiking, gardening, golfing, coaching Little League, travelling, or volunteering. Because love is the foundation of purpose, having a list of what you love in front of you while you contemplate your purpose is very important.
Step 2: Write
Write as fast as you can to try to discover what is most important to you. If you have done the reflective work above, you don’t need to overthink this. Your pump is primed. Just let your words flow on to the page. When Allyson first wrote hers she did so in just 7 minutes. Yours may take longer. That’s fine, but don’t overthink the writing.
Once you finish writing, go back and read the powerful words you have written. Circle the words that stand out. As you read, you will likely see repeated themes and ideas. These are your PURPOSE words, which you will list on the right side of the page.
Finish the exercise, by completing the sentence at the bottom of the page:
“At the age of 85, I will know I have fulfilled my purpose when…”
Step 3 – Absorb
Your purpose will only shape your daily actions, if you strongly position it in your conscious mind. Post a copy of your purpose statement in a prominent place where you will see it regularly. Read it out loud daily for ten days. Review it when setting goals or when you struggle with difficult choices.
1. Missing a core element.
Many purpose statements lack one of the core elements. When a core element is missing your purpose statement becomes less actionable or less meaningful. For example, if you are unclear about who your recipients are, your efforts will lack direction and results will be limited.
2. Overthinking while in the writing process.
The time to think and reflect is BEFORE you write. Most people get this backwards, they spend little or no time connecting with their deepest motivations and then painstakingly struggle at wordsmithing their purpose statement. The result is often a pretty statement that is reflective of expectations and ‘shoulds’ that someone feels on a daily basis, rather than reflecting their heart’s longest desires.
Reflect for as long as it takes for you to feel grounded and connected with the things that matter most to you. You may feel great peace or excitement when you make that connection. When that happens writing is effortless. If that isn’t your experience, that’s okay. What is important is that you do whatever it takes to
write from your heart.
3. Never reassessing your purpose.
You should go through this process at least quarterly. As you acquire new skills, discover new passions, see new needs in the world, your sense of purpose will change. This is particularly true if you are consciously working hard at committing yourself to your highest values. With maturity comes clarity. If you have lost a sense of meaning in work that once was valuable to you, you may need to re-examine your purpose.
Get Your Priorities Straight
Why priorities are critical
The priorities eKit is absolutely the indisputable foundation for all good time management. I know that sounds like a huge claim, but it’s true. Here’s why—Until you care clear about your priorities, no matter how efficiently or effectively you get things done, you’ll be wasting your time because you’ll be working on the wrong tasks.
Without clear priorities, not only will you waste your time, but you’ll:
Fall prey to everyone else’s priorities
Resent never getting to do what matters most to you
Feel as if life is passing you by
Struggling with saying ‘no’ and then later feel trapped for having said ‘yes’
Lack joy (even if you accomplish tasks) because they won’t be ones that truly matter to you.
Well, if any of that sounds familiar, then you are in the right place.
We’ve helped thousands of people escape that pit and embrace a life
· Enjoy the activities that matter most to you
· End your day feeling accomplished
· Awake feeling excited
· Make a meaningful difference with your life
· Move towards your goals, rather than putting them on hold
· And much, much, more
How to know & live into your priorities
STEP 1: Identify Your Purpose
Complete the Prioritise Worksheet using the instructions provided on page 10 of this guide. If you have questions, just watch our ‘priorities instructional video. Once you have completed the worksheet, take time to consider how well you live out your top 10 values. DO your daily activities align with you stated priorities? If you have a to-do list, how many tasks on your to-do list represent your highest values?
STEP 2: Program yourself to win
Programming yourself to win is super important—you must posisiotn your highest values so that they are readily present in your mind, if they’re going to shape your actions. Here are two quick and easy methods to condition yourself to effortlessly make choices from your highest values.
First, post your priorities prominently and repeat them out loud daily. Do so until you can repeat them without hesitating even slightly. You want these strongly present in your mind, so they function as a filter for your choices.
Second, brainstorm five to seven items for each of your top 10 values. For example, if ‘learning’ is one of your highest values, you might list: listen to books on tape while driving to work, take an online class about a subject I love, ask a friend to show me how to do something I have always wanted to do, etc.
STEP 3: Plan and Track Your ‘Wins’
Review your day and record three ‘wins’ for the day each evening. A win can be any activity, large or small, that expresses your highest values. For example, one evening I wrote down the following wins. The words in parenthesis indicate the value associated with each activity.
This list is going to be needed for your next exercise. So if you haven’t brainstormed yet, do so now.
Wins for today
· Hanging out with my daughter after she got off of work and laughing hard with her about silly things we found on the internet (family)
· Making it back to hot yoga (health)
· Taking a twenty minute nap (health)
ALSO, LIST THREE ‘WINS’ YOU ANTICIPATE FOR THE NEXT DAY AND WRITE THOSE DOWN, FOR EXAMPLE
Wins I am looking forward to
· Visiting the park by my house for a short walk (nature & health)
· Reaching my sales goal for this week (success)
· Having dinner with Scott (friendship)
Be gracious to yourself when reviewing your day. If you didn’t experience the ‘wins’ you anticipated, just examine your day until you find three activities that fulfilled your highest values.
You also want to review your day graciously because this exercise isn’t about performance. Planning and tracking wins is all about bringing awareness to how you are or aren’t living into your values.
NOTE: For those of you who use The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner, if you’re
1. Failing to review your Prioritise Worksheet regularly.
When I first started using The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner it wasn’t unusual for me to complete the Prioritize page and complete the Purpose page only to never look at them again, until a new quarter began and I started a new planner. This was a huge mistake. If you don’t position your priorities squarely in your conscious mind, you’ll continually squander you time on low priority tasks. Practice the three simple steps shared above and you will avoid this trap.
2. Not leveraging micro-actions.
Micro-actions are very small action steps that can be done in a matter of moments or minutes. People often overlook microactions when considering ideas for daily wins. For example, if you value health, a micro-action might be choosing to drink a half liter glass of water first thing in the morning or choosing to take the stairs Instead of an elevator. Small steps lead to big change. For example, imagine the impact you could make on your family if everyday you intentionally spoke encouraging words.
Frequently asked questions
How often should I redo the Priorities worksheet?
The Prioritize Worksheet is one of several life evaluation tools we include in The 7 Minute
Life™ Daily Planner which is a quarterly planning tool. If you’re not using a daily planner, we
encourage you to complete the Prioritise Worksheet at least quarterly. Core values typically do
not shift radically. However, significant life changes, such as getting married, moving, or having
a health crisis will reshape your priorities.
What about values not listed on the sheet?
The Prioritize Worksheet is intended to facilitate you determining your highest values, but of
course, you are not limited to the seventy-five values listed on the worksheet. Add values to
this list or adapt some currently on the sheet as needed. What’s important is that you reflect
upon and record your ten highest values, so they can help you choose high value activities.
How do I decide in what order my priorities should be ranked?
Ranking your priorities is not an exact science. Don’t over think it. Go with your first
impressions. Most people tend to readily recognize two are three values that are undeniably
at the top. Also, they struggle with deciding the last two or three, because they are often times
choosing which values will make the cut. Again, don’t over think the ranking. What’s crucial is
recognizing what is most important for you so you can eliminate low value tasks and replace
them with much higher value activities.
Step 1: Read and prioritise
Scan the 75 Priorities listed on the worksheet and think about what each one means in
your life. After you read the list, check the values that are most important to you. Some will
stand out more than others. This first scan might include fifteen to twenty-five values. As
you read the list, consider how the words make you feel.
Step 2: Organise your priorities
Review the list a third time and narrow down your values by choosing the words that seem
most important. This list can only include your Top 10 Priorities.
Step 3: Simplify your priorities
Now, prioritise your top 10 priorities ranking them with numbers 1 through 10, with 1 being
your Top Priority.
Organise your thoughts, organise your life...
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