My Personal Weekly Template And Process

author
By Alexa Ward

What's On My Mind

Getting personal this week.

People really liked last week's article on creating a system around gratitude and optimism.

​If you missed it, check it out here.

​A long-time reader replied to that email...

"Awesome stuff as always. I’ve used Day One for a couple of years and I didn’t know it had templates, so I just made one!

Do you have your MIT planning template in the GrowBIG Binder or The Snowball System? I’d love to see the basics. After a while, they all blend together for me!"

-Lucas

Great idea, and thanks Lucas!

​Here's what I fill out each week by section.

​This takes 15 or 20 minutes most weeks.

Without a doubt, this is the most important time I spend each week.

Let's go!

Week XX: Write A Theme Here

Weekly Recap

  • I write quick bullet points
  • Documenting what happened that week
  • Big wins and setbacks but...
  • Focusing on incremental progress
  • Doing this forces me to remember the progress, not the to dos that didn't get done

I feel gratitude because...

I write whatever I think of first here.

I feel optimistic because...

I write whatever comes to mind first here. A small moment of optimism is fine, but sometimes, the craziest things come to mind. Those big moments of optimism always put me in a good mood.

Optimism abounds if we let ourselves think of it!

To Dos Accomplished

I copy finished to dos from my Things app here. Then I archive these in the app.

Skimming what I got done for 30 seconds makes me happy. It's amazing how quickly I forget what I've been able to finish.

I'm world-class at forgetting what I've accomplished...

Annual Goals

This section is the same all year, so there's nothing to write. I just have this embedded in the Day One template and quickly skim it. That ensures that I align my three weekly MITs (Most Important Things) with my annual goals.

I use the format I got from my good friend Shawn Blanc called The Focus Course to write my annual goals:

  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Relationships
  • Rest and Recreation
  • Vocation
  • Economics

​I have a few bulleted goals in each that I quickly review.

This 30 seconds of skimming and head nodding is powerful.

Weekly Reminders

I added this section a few years ago and really like it.

This section lists some things I want to remember under two subheads: Strategic and Tactical.

The Strategic list has behaviors I'm trying to change.

​For example, if I want to remember TO DO this or NOT TO DO that.

Many times they're about mindset.

A few examples in my current list:

  • Model candor with empathy.
  • Think NO first. Say yes to less.
  • Get outside more than I think I need to.

​The Tactical list has things I need to remember but aren't nearly as important as what's above.

​This is an interesting list because they don't fit anywhere elsethey're not time specific to dos but still things I want to remember.

Examples on the current list:

  • Remember we have Delta companion tickets.
  • Remember to do max push-ups once a day.
  • Remember to sell the TSLA calls when it feels right, probably early 2022 (remember they expire in June).

Leading Indicators

I don't put these in Day OneI have a Life Dashboard spreadsheet with leading indicators.

​I track hours worked per week in a few broad categories: Working on the business, IP development, BD, Marketing, and Delivery work. I also track weekend hours to minimize those and any time I spend coaching our teamthese two are special because they might overlap with the first five categories.

I also track # of MITs completed.

​Then lastly, workout data. The workout data is simple Yes/No on the three types of runs I try to do a week (long, tempo, interval) and if I lifted weights at least once. I also track how many times I do foam roll recovery and stretching. I run into trouble when I get overconfident and don't do that, so it's important to track!​

This sounds like a lot, but I've timed it. I can fill these out in 3 minutes. I make estimates and force myself to make this easy and fast. Nearly all the value is tracking it at ~80% accuracy in rough hours and numbers.

​I pull up my Outlook calendar, remind myself of the week and do this as quickly as possible.

This 3 minute period is one of the most important things in this process.

​It's impossible to convey how much insight I get from tracking leading indicators.

I get insights each week but take a deeper dive into the data once a quarter or whenever I feel like it.

MITs

Back to the Day One template.

I write my three MITs (Most Important Things) for the upcoming week. I remind myself to block off time on my calendar, especially if one or more are going to take some deep work time.​

Photos

Last stop!

I attach fun family photos from the week. Examples from the last few weeks:

  • Josie's newly adopted kitten. Hi Baloo!
  • Gabby getting her driver's license in North Carolina after 7 hours at the DMV. No joke, 7 hours!
  • Becky and I playing the board game like Above and Below. She usually wins.
  • My mom and dad and I talking about life.

I like doing this last.

Looking at these photos is a simple way to close out my week, reminding me of my progress and why I'm full of gratitude.

​I've found photos give me the strongest feelings. Words are powerful, but the photos really bring it back.

It is important to end the week on a positive note.

What To Do To Start

You know our mantra: Think BIG, Start Small, Scale Up.

​Don't feel like you have to start with the above.

Here's 80% of the value.

Write down 3 MITs a week on a post it note.

Do it in a minute.

Once a week.

​MITs should always be BIG:

  • Big impact
  • In your control
  • Growth oriented

Then, scale up the process from time to time.

Then add ONE thing from the format above.

Maybe it's photos.

Maybe the Gratitude and Optimism prompts.​

Maybe it's the switch from paper to Day One.

The idea: add a little more value as you get faster. You keep the overall time the same but do more.

​My first week it was hard to pick MITs. It took a lot of thinking and at least fifteen minutes the first time.

Now my brain has them selected before my fingers hit the keyboard.

My subconscious has everything prepopulated.

​Habits make things fast!

What's Worth Revisiting

I wrote a lot about how Annual, Quarterly, Weekly and Daily goals align for growth in the Conclusion of The Snowball System.

​But there's more.

​So you have it handy, HERE'S the download that comes with the book on this topic.

It's a cool poster on how to align everything for optimal success.

What's Worth Lingering On

The entire process I laid out about above only takes me 15 or 20 minutes a week.

I like Day One for journaling because it syncs across my devices, letting me type on my laptop or use my phone if I'm on the go. It has easy access to my photos. It also gets better the more you use it; now that I have 100s of entries, I can review things by date, location, annually/quarterly/weekly tags and more.

​Day One's template feature lets me set up the template above and start a new entry with one click.

​Before I started this weekly ritual:​

  • I'd drift, not tying weekly action to longer-term goals.
  • I'd end the week focusing on what didn't get done, feeling grumpy.
  • I'd let that feeling creep into my weekend.

After doing this for 312 weeks in a row:

  • My weekly MITs tie to my longer-term goals. I can track my weekly progress and close the book on one week knowing what I want to do the next.
  • I end the week focusing on incremental progress, not perfection. I've forced a feeling of gratitude and optimism too.
  • I can declare victory for the week IF I get my MITs done.

The outcomes are even better.

The Snowball System and its focus was born out of this process.

​Our business is doubling in size this year because of it.

​Most importantly, while I still get grumpy sometimes, I'm a heck of a lot happier.

I can't think of a better way to spend 20 minutes.

​Here's why.

I think our brains are wired for fear.

Fear we're not doing the right things.

​Fear we're not moving fast enough.

Fear we're not enough.

We need mechanisms to fight against fears.

​Annual planning is great for setting strategic themes or getting the big picture.

​Quarterly revisits are great to check alignment with those themes and to choose what we'll focus on next.

Weekly is where the magic happens.

Our brains think in terms of weeks.

​We know what a Sunday feels like.

​A Monday morning.

​A Friday afternoon.

It's easy to tap into that.

Weekly planning is the most important thing I do.

It helps me celebrate incremental progress and plan the next week's sprint.

​But...

​You know what's the craziest thing?

The busier I am, the more I need it.

Mo