Dave Lee

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Introducing the Week Chart

Update: Thanks Lifehacker for picking up this post.

(This is Part 3 in a series about My Productivity System.)

In this post I’d like to share with you the Week Chart.  It’s part of my recipe to keep focused and release incredible amounts of creativity throughout the week.

Here’s what the Week Chart looks like this:

The Week Chart’s main purpose is to show all your Desired Outcomes and Daily Focus Areas in one persistent view.  It’s a roadmap showing you what you instinctively already know is important and allows you to keep focused throughout the week.

So, let’s get started.  Here’s how you can use the Week Chart to supercharge your productivity.

1.  Download and print the Week Chart:  Download Link (pdf)

Pretty simple first step… but seriously you really need to print it.  Take 30 seconds to do that right now.  (Note: this is version 0.1.)

2.  Decide your Daily Focus Areas.

The Daily Focus Area (DFA) is not a Desired Outcome, rather it’s an area of your work/business that you are going to focus on for that day.  For example, it could be Product Features, Marketing, Client Meetings, Metrics, etc.  You can have the same Daily Focus Area for more than one day of the week.  It’s best if your Daily Focus Areas are the same every week.  (If you’re having difficult choosing your DFAs, just leave a comment and I’ll try to help.)

3.  Write your 3 Desired Outcomes for the WEEK.

Do this at the beginning of the week.  Spend 10-20 minutes deciding on what the three most important outcomes of your week are and write them as past tense.  For example, “Design for new camera app finished” or “New marketing campaign launched.”

4.  Write your 3 Desired Outcomes for the DAY.

It’s best to do this at the beginning of each day.  Spend 10-20 minutes going over all the notes related to your Daily Focus Area for that day, and choose the 3 most important outcomes you want.  Again, write this in the past tense.  Also, don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Make the desired outcomes for your day realistic and specific.

5.  Post the Week Chart on a wall near your desk throughout the entire week.

The Week Chart must be persistent, meaning that it needs to be “always on”, and it must be visible multiple times a day.  This is why putting it on paper is much better than keeping it on your computer.  Writing your week chart on paper and hanging it close to you means that your Desired Outcomes are always there.  You can’t shut them off. 

6.  Reflect.

At the end of the week spend 5-10 minutes reflecting on whether your Desired Outcomes became a reality or not and why.

Lastly, here are some tips to make implementing the Week Chart more effective.

1.  Don’t change your day’s Desired Outcomes.

Once you decide on your day’s Desired Outcomes in the morning, then resist the temptation to change them during the day.  It’s naturally to feel discouraged mid-day but don’t allow that to affect your goals.  You were in the clear state of mind in the morning, so keep with the day’s Desired Outcomes.

2.  Focus on finishing the day’s Desired Outcomes first.

Push off replying to emails, checking your favorite news sites, facebook, etc.  Focus first on finished your three Desired Outcomes for the day.  That’s your mission for the day.  Once that’s done, you’re free to work on all the other things that are vying for your attention.

3.  Brainstorm and manage tasks that help you achieve your day’s Desired Outcomes.

No need to keep a million tasks in a task management app.  Just jot down on a notepad the granular tasks you need to do to achieve your three Desired Outcomes for the day.  After your done, throw out the list.

4.  Let’s make this better.

Leave a comment and let’s start talking about how to make the Week Chart even better.

(Read more about My Productivity System.  Check out my other series too.)

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